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News Release: What nonprofits need to know about their IT

Edmonton, AB – This year marks the 25thanniversary of the Vitalize conference, and with it, the energy and enthusiasm of new ideas and fresh approaches to training and development in nonprofit organizations. 

“Organizations that operate on a not-for-profit basis are a vital part of the Alberta economy,” notes Shant Chakmakian, President and Founder of SC Systems, an Edmonton IT company focused on non-profit organizations, and presenter at this year’s conference. 

“These organizations have the unique challenge of operating like a business but with fewer resources,” he explains.  “For that reason, finding efficiencies and reducing risk is key. Nonprofit organizations lose far too much time and money due to IT problems; given the tight allocation of resources…this affects staff morale and the delivery of their mandates.” 

Shant conducted a presentation focused towards helping non-profit organizations manage technology risk and increase productivity. 

“SC Systems’ mission is to help not-for-profit organizations better serve their mandates by alleviating technical shortfalls and maximizing budgets. This is how we give back to the community, by helping nonprofits remove obstacles and better serve their mandates.” 

Shant also points out that many privacy and compliance problems faced today are putting nonprofits and their stakeholders at increased risk. “Privacy compliance is a real issue. Where your data is stored is a serious problem that can affect the rights of your stakeholders. Just look at what’s going on with the PRISM surveillance program in the US…this is a real problem moving into the cloud for nonprofits and most of them don’t know it.” says Chakmakian. 

The PRISM program is a national surveillance program by the NSA leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden on June 6. Since then it has been uncovered that the PRISM program is part of a larger data collection effort by the US government known as US-984XN. 

“If you store personal information in Gmail, Dropbox etc. you are most likely in clear violation of privacy laws. It is also very possible that this information could be collected secretly without you even knowing…because the data is stored outside of Canadian soil our laws don’t apply and neither does their protection.” 

“We are advising all organizations, nonprofit or not to take a good look at their information storage policies and ensure it complies with FOIP and PIPA” warns Chakmakian.


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