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Thoughts on the NY Nonprofit Tech Conference

Thoughts on the NY Nonprofit Tech Conference

I attended NY Nonprofit Media’s Tech Conference #NYNTechCon yesterday.  A good use of a day because it let me catch up and learn about things that aren’t part of my regular work.  A few things that stood out:

  • Ransomware may finally force folks to take backup and recovery seriously.
    The vast majority of mid-size companies (and certainly mid-size non-profits) don’t ever test their backups. Backups are something that IT does.  They generally don’t restore those backups. And no user is ever forced to test that restored data.  We won’t even talk about a detailed disaster recovery plan.
    Now, with ransomware, people are scared.   And the only real answer is making sure that you have backups of your data in places that are not immediately connected to your network. And that regularly test the validity and accessibility of that data..
  • If you can’t protect it, don’t collect it.
    HT to @HaddassahDamien for the great quote which I intend to use. People know data security is important. No one wants to be hacked.  But knowing it and making your data secure are two different things.  Like knowing that French fries aren’t health food and making yourself eat carrot sticks instead.   It’s not just social security numbers, credit cards and HIPAA regulations.  It’s names and addresses and anything else that can identify a person or a key procedure.  Would your donors be happy if you let their grandson’s name and address leak to the internet?
  • The cloud is the default choice for certain parts of IT.
    Software as a Service isn’t the solution to all the world’s problems. Believe me, I spend a lot of my time getting data out of those systems and it’s not always as easy as it should be. At the same time, you shouldn’t be running your own email.  And you should seriously consider not running your own file shares.
  • The cloud creates another version of the cap-ex op-ex problem.
    As someone who believes in the power of the cash flow statement, I’m generally not concerned with fine distinctions between capital expense and operating expenses–even if I often have to invoice my customers this way.   In the non-profit world, however, some grants only cover capital expense when the cloud means that IT spend is increasing becoming a matter of operating expense.  So, doing the right think technically can cause financial problems. Argh.
  • I’m looking forward to going to NYC 501 Tech Club.
    Conferences are great for learning miscellaneous stuff. It’s a meet up for non-profit tech folks which I want to check out. I’ve been searching for groups and events that might be useful and this never came up.  Which is perhaps a lesson that search doesn’t solve everything and that clever names aren’t as useful as straightforward ones.
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