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    cyber hack

    Your data is under attack: Are you ready?

    On July 16, 2020, Blackbaud, a U.S. cloud software company and one of the world’s largest providers of financial and fundraising technology for nonprofit organizations and education institutions, notified its customers of a ransomware attack that occurred in May 2020 related to personal data stored on its servers. Numerous universities, colleges, health care organizations, foundations and nonprofit organizations were affected.

    This cyberattack serves as a reminder for organizations to review their cybersecurity practices and vendor agreements for obligations and compliance with security, risk and privacy programs. Here are some questions to ask yourself when reviewing these practices and agreements:

    • Do you know who is responsible for appropriate and timely notice for the data compromised?
    • Do you know what to do when your organization receives such a notice?
    • Do you know what laws, regulations and standards apply?
      • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
      • Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
      • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
      • Each state and accrediting body has unique cybersecurity breach notice requirements for personal information, insurance and employee data, etc.

    Risk assessments are also vital for due diligence and security practices of organizations and their vendor management programs.   

    • Are your vendor agreements up-to-date with current laws and regulations, including a Business Associate Agreement, if applicable?
    • Are you testing data security measures with your vendors, and do you know what happens following a security incident for notification/reporting and indemnification?
    • Are you actually conducting proper and regular assessments?

    Ultimately, it is your responsibility (and liability) to protect your organization’s information and data, even if it’s stored elsewhere.


    Bricker & Eckler’s attorneys have significant experience helping universities, colleges, health care organizations and other entities understand their obligations in responding to ransomware attacks and other data breaches, including reporting requirements, insurance notifications and breach of contract actions. If you have questions or would like more information regarding how Blackbaud’s data breach may impact your organization, please contact Beth Bolyard.  

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