Cybersecurity for the world’s most vulnerable

As part of Okta’s social impact work, we have the privilege of working with some of the world’s largest nonprofit and humanitarian organisations. These groups are the first to jump to action when people around the world need support. 

Many of us intuitively understand the need for these organisations to focus on the physical safety of those they serve in the aftermath of a disaster or conflict. But, cyberattacks are also a major challenge, with bad actors looking to take advantage of vulnerable people, putting the organisations, and the lives of those they support, at even greater risk.

In fact, according to new research just released by Nethope in its 2023 State of Humanitarian and Development Cybersecurity Report: 59% of large humanitarian organisations believe that their cybersecurity and information security practice is underfunded, and 65% believe it is inadequately managed. At the same time, most believe the risk has grown significantly or substantially to their organisation in the last 12 months.

This widening gap is one that we believe Okta, as the leading identity provider, has a responsibility and an opportunity to help close. But we can’t do it alone - that’s why we partner with governments, nonprofits, and other organisations around the world to increase cybersecurity awareness, adoption, expertise, and support.

Our action to close the nonprofit cybersecurity gap

Over the last year, Okta for Good has committed more than $1M to support better cybersecurity for the social sector through our Nonprofit Cybersecurity Portfolio. Today, to further this work, we’re announcing an additional $100,000 grant to the UC Berkeley Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity (CLTC), which will support the organisation's Cybersecurity Futures 2030 project. This work will help identify emerging cybersecurity trends and risks for government, industry and civil society and enable better collaboration in approaching these future challenges. 

Ann Cleaveland, Executive Director for the CLTC shared: "We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Okta for Good, whose ongoing support enables us to drive cross-sector dialogue, collaboration and action towards better cybersecurity for all. The landscape of digital security is constantly changing — and by 2030, it will once again be radically transformed. Navigating this complex world will require strategic foresight, and we are thankful for partners like Okta who understand the importance of investing now to help people anticipate and address tomorrow's cybersecurity opportunities and risks."

We’re also approaching the 1-year anniversary of the launch of NetHope’s humanitarian Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) -- a collaboration between Nethope, Okta USAID and the Cyberpeace Institute. This first-of-its-kind partnership enables coordinated, cross-sector support for the information security needs of nonprofit agencies and the world’s most vulnerable communities. 

Since its launch we’ve learned firsthand what the humanitarian sector needs, and, together, we’re starting to put these learnings into action. For example, as part of NetHope’s response to the Turkey and Syria earthquake, responding nonprofits received the basic tools to understand their cyber risks, and support to take actionable steps to improve. Organisations received briefings on the threat analysis, techniques of attackers, likely risk factors, and recommended actionable safety measures. Thanks to funding from Okta and Cisco, they could also meet with a virtual CISO to gain threat intel, guidance, training, independent assessment, surge response, and assurance throughout their response to this disaster.

Protecting all of us takes all of us

These ongoing commitments ensure that Okta’s vision of enabling everyone to safely use any technology truly means everyone. This includes the civil organisations doing society’s most important work and — most importantly — the people they serve. 

With an ever expanding threat landscape and the additional struggle to hire technical talent, we need collaboration and commitment from every sector to bridge these gaps. We invite all of Okta’s customers, partners and our own employees to join this movement of digital protection for our most vulnerable. Here’s how: 

Today, at Okta’s customer event in Washington D.C., we’re sharing more about this work and how we’re partnering with the nonprofit, private, and public sectors to deliver a more safely connected world for all of us. You can register to tune in virtually here, or check out the recordings here. 

We would love to hear from you. Visit the Okta for Good page or reach out to us with ideas or feedback.