Defending Your Digital Presence

Chances are you, or someone you know, has had their online information stolen. Turn on the television and it won’t be long before you hear about the latest cybercrime. In today’s electronically connected world, computer hackers and viruses make the personal information of church employees, members, and visitors vulnerable to cyber-attacks. It’s an ever-growing problem that you can lessen with a little forethought.

Here are eight ideas you can implement to protect your church’s online presence.

  • Strengthen the weak spots. Patch your operating system by installing free software updates to close holes hackers could climb through.
  • Have a back-up plan. Back up your business information on a monthly bases, and store your backups in a secure, off-site location.
  • Put up a wall. Install firewalls to help prevent unauthorized access to your network.
  • Secure your wireless connection. Having an unsecured network means anyone with a wireless laptop can access your ministry’s computers. Take steps to lockout unwanted visitors.
  • Keep up with what you’ve got. Virus and spyware protection needs regular updates. Check security programs monthly to make sure they’re still providing updates. If not, you may need a subscription renewal.
  • Ask an expert. Find an upstanding computer support company in your area to assess the status of your network security.
  • Take action. If your website is hacked, contact law enforcement immediately.
  • Consider coverage. Review your church’s insurance policy and consider adding cyber liability coverage to help protect you in the event of a cyber-breach.

Take time to educate yourself about cyber security, and work to limit unauthorized use of data. These are the best actions you can take to protect the personal information of church members and those who participate in your ministry activities.

November 10, 2022
Evaluate Your Ministry's Fire Safety Plan
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With the holiday season right around the corner, it’s wise for ministries to evaluate their fire safety plan. Whether your ministry is hosting a holiday party, prepping treats for charity, or running a community kitchen, make sure you’re well-prepared with these tips.

Tags: protect, ministry, volunteer safety, fire safety, emergency
September 9, 2022
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As school is back in session, it’s important to make sure your school is equipped with the correct safety procedures. Thinking about your school’s physical security as a series of layers can help you find gaps in your plan. Transportation and volunteers are just two important aspects of your school safety plan to think about.

Tags: protect, ministry, liability, christian schools, back to school, volunteer safety, child safety, transportation
July 15, 2022
Shepherding Ministries in a Time of Change
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Anyone who turns on the news, flips through a magazine, or browses the web can see that American society and culture are experiencing rapid transitions. Some ministries have valid concerns that issues surrounding societal shifts may expose them to negative publicity, governmental scrutiny, or litigation.

The questions become: when and how can ministries operate within their deeply held religious beliefs when they may conflict with others’ rights?

Tags: protect, ministry, religious freedom, liability
May 19, 2022
Five Common Tricks of Cyber Scammers
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Cyber security is increasingly crucial in our technologically advanced world. Scammers use many schemes when attempting to steal your data, but you can outsmart them by understanding their methods.

Tags: ministry, cyber security, technology, data, protection
July 22, 2021
Thousands in Relief Funding Available to Ministries Through the Employee Retention Credit
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Most ministry leaders don’t realize there is funding available to non-profit employers including churches, schools, colleges, and camps. This post includes some highlights about the credit and guidance on where to start to see if your ministry is eligible.

Tags: ERC, payroll, tax credit
March 2, 2016
Prepare for Severe Spring Storms Now
Prepare for Severe Spring Storms Now

When severe storms strike, they can produce high winds and tornadoes. Damaging winds can wreak havoc on your ministry’s property and to buildings. A high wind event can crash debris through your windows, strip your siding, down trees on your parking lot, peel shingles off your roof, and fling back the flashing.

Tags: weather emergency, lightning, storms, safety, protect
February 25, 2021
Catalytic Converter Theft on the Rise: Protect Ministry Vehicles
Catalytic Converter Theft on the Rise: Protect Ministry Vehicles

Thieves are taking advantage of soaring precious metal prices. Take steps to protect your ministry’s vehicles and property.

Tags: protect, theft, vehicle
February 5, 2021
Avoid Frozen Pipes as Temperatures Plummet
Avoid Frozen Pipes as Temperatures Plummet

As temperatures plummet, the risk of freezing pipes soars. Frozen pipes can cause costly messes that could also put your ministry on hold while you clean up.

Tags: frozen, building, pipes, prevent damage
January 12, 2021
Potential Vulnerabilities in School's Safety Plan
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On behalf of our agency, I recently participated in one such training which focused on strategies and tactics for responding as a single officer to an active safety threat in a school building.

Tags: cyber security, digital, protect, risk
January 5, 2021
Church Safety Trends for 2021
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If you’re anything like me (and maybe the rest of the world for that matter), you’re grateful to put the craziness of the past year behind us.

Tags: cyber security, digital, protect, risk
November 23, 2020
COVID-19 and the Christmas Season
COVID-19 and the Christmas Season

Preparing for this Christmas season may require additional creativity, due to the uncertainty of what COVID-19 may bring in our local community.

Tags: COVID-19, health, health safety, protect, coronavirus, Christmas, risk management
October 28, 2020
Guidance for Ministries About Boy Scouts' Bankruptcy
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A mid-November deadline in the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) bankruptcy proceedings may have you wondering what the organization’s bankruptcy filing means for your ministry if you ever hosted or chartered Boy Scout Troops.

Tags: coverage, protect, liability, damages, youth
October 1, 2020
Applying for PPP Loan Forgiveness
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Organizations that obtained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding through the CARES Act can have their loans forgiven, turning them into grants. To qualify, each borrower must file a forgiveness application with its PPP lender, proving that it followed the rules. If your church, school, college, or camp meets all the criteria, 100% of its loan can be forgiven.

April 13, 2020
Beware of COVID-19 Cyber Scams
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Ministries are creatively scrambling to continue their operations and safely engage their congregations with an array of online technologies during the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, hackers are ready to take advantage of the confusion with scams designed to steal valuable data or siphon funds from your ministry.

Tags: cyber security, digital, protect, risk
March 30, 2020
CARES Act: Churches Need to Apply Now
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Learn about the CARES Act and two loans for which ministries may be eligible, since Congress authorized additional funding April 23. 

March 6, 2020
Coronavirus and Your Ministry: Tips for Prevention
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As concern over the dangers associated with the spread of a new coronavirus, COVID-19, spreads, our agency and Brotherhood Mutual want to keep you informed and provide best practices for managing the spread of this and similar illnesses at your ministry.

January 29, 2020
Hosting a Game Day Bash? Brush Up on Copyright Basics
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The first Sunday in February is a big day for sports fans. In fact, many Americans view Super Bowl Sunday as a national holiday. Friends and families will gather this year to watch the big game, enjoy delicious snacks, and of course, critique the commercials that go along with game day.

Are You Covered If You're Injured Overseas?
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Recently, we learned about two major overseas incidents involving pastors on mission trips. The first incident involved a pastor being hit by a motorcycle while running. The second was a bus accident involving two pastors. The runner and one of the two bus passengers sustained extensive injuries.

Tags: missions, insurance
October 16, 2019
Stolen Church Trailer Leads to New Life in Christ
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IRS Announces More Church Audits Regarding ACA Compliance
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Last month, the IRS announced that its initiating hundreds of church exams to test compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While many provisions only apply to churches with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), even smaller churches could potentially violate provisions applicable to health benefit plans with as few as 2 plan participants.

Tags: ACA, IRS