3 ways open-source software helps nonprofits keep up with data protection demands

As the driving force behind the future of data sovereignty, open-source software is the natural fit for nonprofits seeking to adopt modern digital solutions.

NGOs and nonprofits face many of the same threats to their data and digital assets as large enterprises. The fundamental difference is that they rarely have the budgets to implement the latest enterprise-grade data-protection measures and hire top expertise in the space. In fact, according to the CyberPeace Institute, 86% of NGOs lack cybersecurity plans.

As a result, many philanthropic ventures are highly vulnerable to threats like cyberattacks and data leaks, with half of NGOs reporting being targeted in recent years. At the same time, they face the same pressures from industry regulators as the business world to protect personally identifiable data.

Perhaps the most sobering fact about cyberthreats facing nonprofits is how philanthropic work itself makes them a target. Many cybercriminals make a point of exploiting peoples’ goodwill by launching targeted social engineering scams with a view to stealing donations away from good causes. For example, charities in the UK lost £8.6 million to fraud between April 2020 and March 2021. Naturally, when this happens, donors start losing confidence, with potentially crippling impacts on legitimate nonprofits and their beneficiaries.

Of course, data protection isn’t just about protecting against malicious threats, but also about protecting data from threats like accidental leaks or compliance failures. In a sector that relies immensely on trust, reputation, and accountability, these challenges must be tackled together as one. At the same time, however, NGOs and nonprofits must address the challenges in a way that doesn’t end up interfering with their long-term policy goals.

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Which privacy and security features does your CRM need to be compliant?

CRM systems store a trove of sensitive customer information, hence the need for compliance, security, and privacy to be incorporated by design.

Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms hold a wealth of sensitive and valuable customer information. Should that information end up in the wrong hands due to a data breach or leak, it could spell disaster for the organization, not to mention hefty fines in cases involving compliance failures.

In today’s digital world, every organization needs to take a proactive stance when it comes to privacy, security, and compliance. These factors should be hard-baked into any software your business uses, particularly mission-critical solutions like CRM. With regulations like Europe’s GDPR and California’s CCPA now in force, it’s more important than ever to ensure that the correct information governance routines are in place to safeguard customer data.

Thankfully, implementing the right CRM software can help you on your compliance journey by introducing security and privacy by design and default. An enterprise-grade CRM platform will provide the technical controls needed to satisfy the requirements of laws like GDPR and CCPA and, in doing so, simplify and, to a large extent, automate compliance routines. A fully modular, low-code, and open-source solution goes even further by giving you unprecedented freedom over how you govern your data.

In this blog, we’ll look at some of the functions and features a CRM should have to make that possible:

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What is data federation, and why is it important to your organization?

Data federation is the process of using virtualization to have multiple databases function as a unified system to reduce costs and support agility.

One of the biggest technical challenges facing enterprises today is that they have to deal with a constantly growing multitude of applications and data sources. Further complicating matters is the fact that all of these sources have their own data models, constraints, dependencies, and other requirements.

This challenge has resulted in the increasing complexity of data integration workflows. As a result, many enterprises find themselves struggling to overcome operational siloes born of the fact that different departments use different systems that don’t work well together. In the end, sharing information becomes such a burden that each department operates in a bubble.

The rapid migration from on-premises legacy systems to cloud architectures has resulted in yet further complexity. With many businesses having adopted a multi-cloud approach to keep costs low and efficiency high, the sheer disparity of data sources has increased too. Evidently, it’s time to get things back under control.

Managing this complexity requires enterprise technology leaders to rethink the way they work with their data. To become data-driven, they need to consolidate and integrate their various data sources and govern their entire digital infrastructure as a single unit – even if their data remains physically isolated in different systems.

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How to manage risk with open-source software

Open-source software might be free to use, but that doesn’t mean it’s free of obligations. With threats becoming more complex, security must be a top priority.

As the adoption of open-source software continues to grow rapidly, software development teams must go to ever greater lengths to manage risk. Low-code development platforms (LCDPs) have further added to that risk surface by bringing development outside the IT department, potentially resulting in a rise of shadow IT.

Despite this, the use of open-source libraries can deliver tremendous benefits to businesses by delivering specific functionalities without developers having to build them from scratch. Open source is also a natural fit for low code, especially at a time when at least 82% of firms consider custom app development outside IT important for driving growth. Moreover, Gartner predicts that two thirds of all business apps will be created using low-code platforms by 2024.

These developments are among the defining characteristics of modern digital transformation strategies. This is also why open source accounts for as much as 90% of all code in today’s web and cloud apps, with the average software application relying on at least 500 open-source dependencies. As such, the sheer size and proliferation of open source has made it a key target for threat actors, with inevitable vulnerabilities leading to a significant increase in open-source risk. The grouping of open source and low code can, potentially, further expand that risk surface by letting it grow far beyond the auspices of the IT department.

Of course, that’s not to say businesses should scale back their adoption of open-source and low-code – not at all. Together, these innovations are vital for helping businesses adapt and scale rapidly in an era of constant change. But as is always the case with any innovation, new risks arise that need to be managed from the outset. Thus any digital transformation must be secure by design as such that security becomes a driver of innovation rather than a barrier. Here’s what that means for open-source low-code software development:

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How the combination of open-source and low-code enable total data portability

With a combination of open source software and low code development, organizations can be freed from vendor lock-in and maintain full control over their data.

With the low code revolution now well underway, business leaders are starting to consider its impact on regulatory compliance, privacy, and security. However, vendor lock-in and a general lack of control over where their data resides remain key concerns, especially given that most low code development platforms (LCDPs) are either partially or fully closed source.

Addressing these challenges is a top priority as organizations store ever-greater quantities of sensitive data in the cloud in increasingly disparate environments. That’s why there must be a standardized and universal way for organizations to locate, access, and control their data, without being beholden to their technology vendors.

On the other hand, low code presents the promise of reduced costs and faster development cycles. At the same time, in a closed source environment, the vendor has the final say in how your data is stored, accessed, and transmitted, making it impossible to achieve true digital sovereignty.

This conundrum is exactly what makes low code development a natural fit for the open-source model. Organizations can enjoy the benefits of low code while preserving digital sovereignty and, in doing so, maintain complete control over its availability and the application of universal privacy, security, and compliance policies.

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4 reasons why your business need an open-source support contract

The benefits of having a support contract for open-source software go beyond fixing issues. It also provides strategic support for your digital transformation.

Nine out of ten the world’s businesses now use open-source software. However, when people think about the open-source licensing model, the first thing that typically comes to mind is that it means free software. In reality, the benefits of open-source go far beyond that. These include a complete lack of vendor lock-in, community-driven support and maintenance, and end users having a stake in the direction of the software’s continued development.

When combined with the low-code approach to software development, open-source becomes the foundation of data democratization and technological innovation. The ultimate goal is for everyone in an organization to have equitable and timely access to the data they need to carry out their day-to-day roles, while giving business leaders the means to control and govern their digital assets in full.

It would be naïve and wholly misleading to claim that all these benefits can be realized without spending a single cent. While reduced costs are an undisputable benefit of the open-source model, getting the most out of it requires a certain degree of expertise and people power. After all, all software needs maintenance, and every solution must be tailored to the unique needs of individual businesses. That includes low-code development platforms (LCDPs).

Taking out a support contract for open-source software might not be necessary for everyone, but in this article, we’ll explore some compelling use cases to help you make a more informed decision.

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3 ways standardization enhances low-code and open-source security

In simplifying software development, low code can also help reduce cybersecurity complexity, thanks to enhanced standardization and integration.

Over the past couple of decades, the technical footprint of many enterprises has become very complex and difficult to maintain. As business leaders struggle to keep up with the constantly evolving customer demands and all the ancillary challenges that come with it, that complexity is only likely to increase. This has also made it harder to maintain accountability for managing risk. In other words, enterprises are becoming too technically complex to secure.

As enterprises grapple with a rapidly expanding data footprint, with data coming from myriad different sources, the need for standardization and simplified management becomes clearer. Add the unprecedented rise of remote work and the internet of things (IoT) into the mix, and that need is even greater. Organizations are now using an average of software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps, presenting a 14-fold increase over just six years.

Naturally, achieving a sufficient degree of information security becomes exponentially harder the larger and more diverse the software stack and data footprint. While many cloud vendors are now embracing open-source standardization to reduce complexity, problems like vendor lock-in and a general lack of digital sovereignty persist. This results in reduced control which, in turn, can lead to compromised security and a lack of compliance with industry standards.

For established enterprises, the challenge is even greater. Even if they have a robust digital transformation strategy in place, most are still grappling with legacy technology which, in turn, means data sources that are difficult to adapt for modern, cloud-based apps and architectures. This often results in enterprises not knowing exactly where all their data physically resides or which controls are in place to protect it. After all, you can’t protect what you don’t know about.

By embracing a combination of low-code software development and open-source licensing, enterprises can democratize development and achieve greater control over their data assets. Low-code simplifies and standardizes the creation of business apps, while the open-source model helps maintain digital sovereignty and control. With the right strategy and support, this powerful combination can greatly enhance an enterprise’s security posture. In this article, we’ll find out exactly how.

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How to choose a rapid application development platform

A rapid application development (RAD) platform should support visual software development, easy maintenance, and facilitate seamless team collaboration.

There are two main factors that drive any successful digital transformation: adaptability and speed. Most organizations need custom software to tackle the need for adaptability since off-the-shelf software is rarely likely to address the unique needs of individual enterprises. At the same time, software development is, traditionally, a slow and cumbersome process, where projects can take months or even years to complete, hence the need for a faster solution.

The need for speed goes hand-in-hand with the need for adaptability in an era of rapid change, where technology is constantly evolving and the demands of employees and customers are evolving with them. These factors combine to make rapid application development, or RAD a necessity in today’s enterprises. In this article, we will explain what RAD is (and what it isn’t) and how to choose the right platform for your organization’s needs.

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How iPaaS bridges the gap between low-code and professional development

How integration platform as a service (iPaaS) offers a comprehensive and standardized way to develop and integrate business-critical applications.

Every business technology system consists of multiple subsystems working together to form a cohesive environment that can handle mission-critical operations and workflows at the speed and agility demanded by today’s market. Running a business also demands the collaboration of people and systems from across a wide range of operations, such as sales, marketing, and customer support. Each of these departments uses different apps and systems, which all need to work together to achieve smooth operations. If they do not, each department will operate in a silo, to the detriment of customer and employee experience alike.

Among the most pervasive challenges facing today’s enterprises is the need to integrate new apps and functions into increasingly complex and disparate technology environments. Further adding to this overarching challenge is the fact that developing and integrating new software is often a lengthy process fraught with myriad difficulties of its own. These include addressing the demands of information governance, security, privacy, and availability, to name a few. This is why organizations need integration platforms to build more efficient and scalable technology systems that can easily adapt to ever-changing business needs.

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Why low-code is the perfect learning tool for software developers

While low-code development is known for its drag-and-drop simplicity, the ability to view and edit the underlying code also makes it the perfect learning tool.

Most professional software developers agree that it takes several months just to get familiar with the basics of coding, and that assumes having a high level of general technical knowledge to begin with. Given the rapid pace of advancement in the software development space, skills in problem-solving, attention to detail, coding concepts, and the ability to adapt to constantly evolving technologies are also vital. These factors partly explain why there is a growing skills gap in software development.

Fortunately, low-code software development presents something of a shortcut, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a valuable learning tool in its own right. What low-code does do is remove many of the more repetitive elements of software development by allowing professional and citizen developers alike to leverage the full potential of reusable components. Moreover, since low-code removes the need to code in such cases, it allows non-developers to quickly deploy standard business logic, regardless of their level of programming expertise.

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