Skip to content

7 Tech Risks Your Church Shouldn’t Take

person experiencing a tech risk

You can’t read the New Testament without realizing that Jesus called his church to take risks to share the good news. When he commissioned his early church to go throughout the world sharing the gospel and discipling new believers, it was a dangerous mission. 

Twenty centuries later and God still calls the church to take risks as it serves its community and shares the gospel worldwide. 

But there’s at least one area of your church’s ministry where risk is a problem. Your church likely takes regular unnecessary technology risks. The key word is unnecessary. These are ways your church is risking the resources and reputation of your congregants without a good reason.

Check out these five big risks your church might be taking.  

1) Inadequate Data Security

Your church collects and stores important information about your congregants and your community. More than likely, everything from credit card information to sensitive information about children, go in and out of your network on a weekly basis.

Insufficient data security jeopardizes this information, potentially exposing it to individuals with malicious intent. The consequences of that are far-reaching, including financial losses for your church and your congregants and a loss of your church’s reputation in the community.   

You can’t afford those risks. No church can. 

Clear access controls for your data, encryption, and regular security audits are a good start to mitigate these problems. But you’re going to need help to truly safeguard your data

2) Lack of Regular Software Updates

It’s admirable that you want to steward your resources (both time and money) and avoid unnecessary software updates. But recognize the risks involved. First, it’ll leave your technology less secure. Most software updates focus on patching vulnerabilities in the software. Technology changes rapidly and those who are trying to exploit it are often at the front of the line. By updating, you can protect your devices from potential intruders exploiting outdated software.

But outdated software also leads to less effective and efficient tech use. You sink a healthy amount of resources into your technology. You can’t risk getting less out of that investment because you’re not using your software to its full potential because it’s not up-to-date. Put regular backups on your calendar—and don’t miss the appointment!

3) Insufficient Backup Systems

Technology isn’t failure proof. Every church will have moments when devices go down at the worst possible times. If you’re not keeping stable backups of your most important information, you’re putting your church’s work at risk. Hardware failures, accidental deletions, and cyber-attacks can all leave you scrambling unless you’re prepared. 

Every church needs secure off-site backups or cloud services to make sure they don’t lose vital ministry data. 

4) Overlooking Compliance with Privacy Laws

In the last decade, a number of key privacy laws have hit the books that require churches to pay attention to how it cares for data. The most extensive (General Data Protection Regulation) deals with data of European Union citizens. But before you write it off as something for churches an ocean away, it’s important to recognize that it applies to any organization that stores data on EU citizens. You don’t need to actually be in Europe to face its consequences.

California followed suit a bit later with the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) and several other states joined them with their acts. Others are sure to follow. 

Not knowing about these regulations isn’t a defense for not obeying them. Ignoring them risks everything from fines to operational disruption to loss of trust. Plus, it’s not a great example for your congregants when they’re challenged to obey laws. 

5) Dependence on Outdated Technology

You may save a few bucks when you don’t get updated tech hardware, but there’s certainly a cost for not upgrading your devices. First, old devices are less secure, so you’re putting IT infrastructure in danger when you’re depending upon outdated tech.

But those old devices also risk failure every time you use them beyond their appropriate use cycle. You risk having them crash at the most problematic times. 

Even if your outdated tech doesn’t completely crash, it most likely doesn’t run efficiently. That means it’s costing your church money in work—and ministry—left undone. 

6) Neglecting Cybersecurity Training 

Training often gets forgotten in many church staffing contexts, not just in cybersecurity. We tend to see it as a luxury, rather than a necessity.

But as more and more of our ministry goes online, cybersecurity may move to the top of the list. Untrained staff and volunteers can easily compromise security without knowing it. Because many churches deputize so many volunteers to help with data entry and other similar tasks, we have a responsibility to ensure they’re handling data responsibly. To not do so, you’re not only endangering church resources but the well-being of anyone who trusts you with their data.

7) Unsecured Wi-Fi networks

Not securing your Wi-Fi network is like putting a welcome mat in front of your church’s tech systems for anyone who might wish you and your congregants ill will. According to Forbes, 40% of people have had sensitive information compromised on public Wi-Fi networks.

If you’re not securing your church’s Wi-Fi, another set of eyes may be on the data when a congregant accesses their bank account or sends a personal text message through that network.

Risks are a part of life. Anyone with a little life experience realizes you can never totally take risk out of any area of their lives. 

But unnecessary, careless risks are another issue altogether. It’s always a bad decision to take risks you don’t need to take. 

Most often, churches take these seven risks above because they simply don’t know to do better. They are mistakes you make along the way while you’re focusing your energy on serving your neighbor. 

That’s why you need a tech partner you can trust. A managed tech solution like Higher Ground can walk with you as you make important tech decisions and help you make the right ones for the future of your organization.

ACS Technologies

ACS Technologies sets a new standard in church technology, offering a holistic suite of solutions that streamline administrative tasks and empower your staff to excel in their roles and your church to excel in your community.

In the ever-evolving landscape of church engagement and management, ACS Technologies rises above the rest. Our comprehensive church solutions, bespoke digital offerings, streamlined communication tools, comprehensive ministry consulting, and training make us the trusted choice for over fifty thousand churches. Experience the ACS Technologies advantage and elevate your church’s online presence, connectivity, and generosity today. Join us in redefining church technology for the digital age, where your ministry’s success becomes our shared mission.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *