Okta Gives Back With Launch Of Nonprofit Cybersecurity Portfolio

Published on: 24 June 2022
by KnowESG
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Okta is well-known for its identity services, which enable companies to provide simple and secure access to platforms and technologies. What is less well known is that Okta also runs the Okta for Good Fund, which helps give back and create improved security for everyone through programmes like the Nonprofit Cybersecurity Portfolio, which was unveiled recently.

Okta has committed to investing $10 million from the Okta for Good Fund over three years. As part of this initiative, the Nonprofit Cybersecurity Portfolio will provide over $1 million in grants to enhance better security across the social sector.

Cybercriminals are not known for their sense of honour or morality. Rather than avoiding cyberattacks on schools, hospitals, and charitable organisations, these organisations have experienced an increase in cyberattacks in recent years, placing millions of already vulnerable people in danger.

Even though few NGOs have the means or skills required for effective cybersecurity, more than half report being targeted by cyberattacks.

Lance Pierce, CEO of NetHope, said: "Much of the increase in hacking-related activity is being driven by nation-states. This is a fact that focuses attention on a lot of our work. According to some of the leading threat analysts in the world, the nonprofit sector is the third most targeted for hacking by nation-states in the world.

“If you're a large and influential organisation, they’re after your donors. If you're an organisation that deals with politically vulnerable populations—refugees and others—they want your beneficiary data or your programme participant data, because knowing who those people are may be of interest to that particular country."

It has become a matter not just of cybersecurity, but of human rights. The reason that nation-states and other threat actors target nonprofits and want this information is for overtly political—and sometimes harmful—purposes. It is crucial to protect access to the data itself rather than focusing only on prevention and perimeter defence.

“Civil society is under attack, and unfortunately, it's a problem that's not going away,” noted Pierce.

Okta is working to address this issue by offering much-needed cybersecurity assistance to organisations. Okta's Nonprofit Cybersecurity Portfolio, which is part of Okta's Nonprofit Technology Initiative, will help organisations improve their security by funding six grants for initiatives ranging from training to incident response support.

Okta's Nonprofit Technology Initiative debuted in 2020 to influence how NGOs are supported and empowered to make the digital transformation.

It focuses on three essential areas: speeding NGOs' cloud migration, enabling nonprofits to reach their stakeholders digitally at scale, and safeguarding nonprofits and their critical data.

Erin Baudo Felter, VP of Social Impact and Sustainability at Okta, said: "I think the ‘Why?’ for us is pretty ingrained into who we are as a company and the vision that our founders had and have—not only the experience they want our employees to have but also the mark that we want to make on the world. We're still a founder-led company, and from the early days, Todd McKinnon, our CEO, and Frederic Kerrest, our COO, felt that the company they were building couldn't be taken apart from the communities around it and that it was really important that in building and scaling the company that we give back to the communities around us.”

She added, “Frankly, that helps make Okta a successful company, so there's a kind of pay it forward mentality in the company that comes straight from the founders and goes all the way through to the employee base.”

Felter stressed that Okta wants to hire people that have great ideas, have a global mindset, and want to contribute on a level that isn't only about Okta's products or their "day job," but about something broader. She stated that such are the types of people Okta wants to hire and that volunteer programmes, opportunities, and investments that demonstrate Okta's values are critical to attracting and retaining the right personnel.

Source: Forbes

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