2017 Association Cyber Security Best Practices

by Jordan
on March 21, 2017

Whether we like it or not, passwords are a part of our daily lives and the number of nefarious characters trying to get your data in 2017 will grow and threaten association cyber security. 

Cybersecurity is a part of our daily lives, with most people creating passwords using their birthday or their pet’s name. When Google or Facebook asks you to change your password, they have good reason. While most people simply create passwords based around their birthday or a pet’s name, this is not good enough. 

You may be asking yourself, why would anyone want my, or my association’s, data?

How likely is it that someone would target me?

Although you may feel like it is unlikely that someone would target you, anyone who performs tasks as simple as checking their email, using a smartphone to access social media, or buys something online is at risk of being targeted by hackers.

According to Symantec, 75% of all websites have at least one security vulnerability. The good news is that there are steps you can take to keep data safe, for your association and for yourself. Using a modern AMS like SilkStart and following the tips laid out in this article, your online data will become less vulnerable to a breach.


Awareness is the first step to keeping your data secure.

When was the last time someone on your team brought up Association Cyber Security?

Paying attention to your online interactions can be the difference between someone gaining access to your information or remaining protected.

Sometimes nefarious individuals will send emails under the guise of a legitimate company or corporation in order to gain access to your personal information. Always check that the email address that is contacting you is from a legitimate sender, avoid clicking links inside of emails unless you are 100% sure they are legitimate, and beware of urgent language used like “account suspended” or “unauthorized login attempt”.

Certain internet connections, especially those in public, are not secure, meaning it is much easier for a hacker to gain access to your computer, or your computer’s information. The best thing to do when using an unsecure internet connection is not to leave accounts logged in, or leave your computer idle in public.

Remember, most hackers aren’t looking to personally attack certain individuals, they are just looking for the easiest way to get access to your information. Being aware of the tactics they may use makes it much easier to keep your data safe.


usb lock

Here’s the deal.

One of the easiest but most overlooked cybersecurity measures is a strong password. Sounds simple right?

The top 2 most used passwords of the last year were “123456” and “password”. You don’t need me to tell you that these are very weak passwords. There are a few rules that you can follow to ensure your password is strong.

At the absolute minimum, your password should be 8 characters in length

Use at least 1 capital letter, 1 lowercase letter, and 1 number

Use at least 1 symbol like !, #, $, or etc.

Random strings of letters, numbers and symbols make very strong passwords, like “d4G!fId$”. If your passwords do contain words that would be found in the dictionary, try to misspell at least one word. for example if your password is “thispasswordisgreat”, change that to something like “Th1spaSSw0rd!sGreat”.


In order to keep your associations data safe and secure, you not only have to change your own behaviours, but also those of your coworkers as well. Although following security guidelines and policies may be a nuisance, creating a security protocol document can thwart attempts at stealing your data.

A security document may include things like:

  • frequency of password changes
  • password rules
  • acceptable internet browsers

You and your staff should be taking association cyber security seriously. A breach of data can have a significant impact on not only the trust of your members, but revenue, investor relations, and staff retention too. Make a group effort of updating your passwords, learning about common email scams, and keeping your devices secure.

By making security a priority and using a modern AMS, your association’s data will be safe behind the best cyber security protocols available. 


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As a designer, Jordan makes beautiful SilkStart websites and writes about web best practices.

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