How open-source software can help nonprofits achieve their data equity goals

By making software development more accessible, open source and low code platforms help nonprofits achieve true data equity to further their causes.

The world’s four biggest technology companies – Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon – are all headquartered in the US and have a combined value exceeding $7 trillion. That’s far in excess of the entire GDP of Japan, the world’s third largest economy.

With the world in the midst of a digital revolution, and the future heavily orientated around data, the immense and wholly disproportionate economic gains of the largest technology companies highlight the growing global problem of data inequity.

We live in a time where, largely regardless of where we live in the world, our personal data is ultimately under the control of US technology giants and, by extension, US jurisdiction. Their business models have become strongly reliant on collecting personal data from people all over the world and exploiting it for targeted advertising. To make matters worse, and in spite of new regulations like GDPR and CCPA, they’ve often done so without informed consent as well. At the same time, the sheer volume of data these companies have has brought not only massive profit gains, but also heralded in a new era of surveillance capitalism.

For NGOs and nonprofits, data equity is emerging as an essential consideration. After all, they face constant pressure to adopt more transparent practices to earn the continued support of their volunteers and donors and to better serve their beneficiaries. To do that, they must not only practice what they preach, but also understand the implications of data inequity in an increasingly technology-focused world.

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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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Why NGOs And Non-Profits Are Turning To Open-Source Low-Code Platforms To Build Their Solutions

Open-source software is defined as a solution that enables end-users to freely access, modify and redistribute modified source code. Open-source software can be extremely useful for helping businesses develop high-quality software in a much more cost-effective manner than ever before. A recent study has shown that approximately 82% of businesses currently utilize open-source platforms to drive innovation in their organization.

Low-code is a visual approach to software development that requires little to no manual coding to create powerful enterprise applications and business processes. Low-code platforms can enable users to take advantage of visual interfaces, drag-and-drop tools and instant mobility. As digital technology continues to develop at an exponential rate, open-source, low-code platforms are becoming more and more popular for all types of organizations, including NGOs and nonprofit organizations.

NGOs and nonprofits can leverage open-source low-code platforms to build solutions that can support fundraising campaigns, accelerate productivity, improve internal and external communication and much more. These advancements can enable NGOs and nonprofit organizations to develop practical solutions and data-driven strategies that can optimize and streamline various operations as well as facilitate more informed decision-making processes.

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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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Why Is Open-Source The Right Choice For Software Vendors?

Open-source software is defined as any computer software that enables individual end-users to freely utilize, modify and redistribute its source code. As open-source technology continues to evolve rapidly, many businesses are beginning to adopt the use of open-source platforms in day-to-day business functions. According to Red Hat, 75% of IT leaders stated that open-source software is extremely important.

Open-source software can help software vendors create high-quality, secure software by providing them with a secure and tested code base. Many people collaborate on open-source projects, and that makes the discovery of bugs and errors more efficient. Hence, in most cases, open-source is more secure and reliable than closed-source code.

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Why Do People Contribute to Open-Source Projects?

An open-source project is software that anyone is free to use, modify, study, and distribute. The copyright owner of an open-source project grants the public free, all-purpose access to the source code.

Open-source project development is the future. For the users, open-source is a blessing since it is free to use, safer and time-effective. However, one can wonder why developers who write open-source code contribute it to projects for free.

The answer is in community and experience. Let’s explore a few reasons why companies and developers open-source their projects.

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What Is An Open-Source Hardening Project?

With the evolution and increasing integration of digital technology, the use of open-source technology has also increased exponentially. Open-source software is defined as any computer software that allows and enables users as well as the general public to utilize, modify and redistribute its source code freely. A recent study conducted by Red Hat concluded that 75% of IT leaders felt that enterprise open-source software was extremely important.

Although many users may question the reliability of open-source software, the open-source industry has and will continue to prioritize the security and reliability of open-source technology.

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