Updated March 16, 2021
Since originally posting this blog post at the end of 2018, the need for a safe and secure church directory program has not decreased. If anything, the need to have a program you can trust has never been more important. It seems that increasingly our world is getting less safe. The last thing you need to worry about is the safety and security of your church members’ information in a directory program that you’ve placed your trust in. In addition to the sound advice you’ll read below, you can also find more information in our help library — specifically, you can peruse articles on how we take your church members’ security seriously and what additional steps we take to keep your church members’ data secure.
Not only do we take security of your data seriously, we want to keep you apprised when we hear from our customers about malicious activity they’ve encountered on the internet. Taking simple steps such as not publishing direct contact email addresses of your staff on your church’s website will help alleviate potential email hacks. But we feel a real responsibility to pass along information to protect yourself and your church when we hear of a known scam that anyone could fall victim to. Read the blog to learn more about this activity and take steps to safeguard yourself.
Online directory programs are a great tool for your church. They make connecting with members easy. But because member information is online, the security of the directory may create a concern for some of your members. In fact, one of the most common worries among members is security of your directory and data — and, with the ease of obtaining personal information online, safeguarding information is a valid concern. We agree that your member’s personal information should stay personal and your directory’s security should be a chief concern of any online directory program.
We have put together a few of the most commonly asked questions about directory security and data protection. The answers provided are how we at Instant Church Directory address your concerns.
How is directory data stored?
Directory data is stored using a private cloud environment in a private data center (meaning it does not operate in a “shared environment” with others). We use industry best practices for securing and backing up our servers and data, including proactive 24-7 monitoring of our services for possible intrusions.
Is member information sold to a third party?
We also safeguard your information by backing it up every five minutes. That means if your electricity goes out while you are building your directory, you will only lose the most recent 5 minutes of data entry.
Who can access the directory data?
The only individuals who can access your church’s information are members to whom you (as the administrator) have granted access. There are three ways to view the directory: via mobile apps, online members’ website access and through PDFs (that can be linked to your church’s website, or physically distributed). Each of these options are password-protected.
For anyone to gain access to the online website and mobile apps, members must first be listed as active members within the directory. The access to be entered into the directory comes through the administrator. Members must have a valid email address listed in the family section of the directory so that they can create and verify a password to gain online viewing access. The PDF access has one password for the entire congregation.
What about members who leave the church?
We understand that you wish only active members to have access to view the directory. Simply mark those members as inactive in the directory. Once they are marked inactive, they will lose access the mobile apps and online access. As for the PDF, simply change the password and re-generate the PDF and the old password will no longer open the PDF.
What about members who don’t want their personal information in an online directory?
With today’s environment, no one wants their personal information violated. Our directory program does not ask for any information that is not already easily accessible online. However, some members will still be hesitant to have their family listed in an online directory. We understand that completely and recommend that you first print a few copies of the directory for these members, then mark them as inactive. Once they are marked inactive, these members will not be able to access the online directory or mobile apps. Their information will not be visible online to others as well.
Still have questions about security?
We understand. Internet security is a broad and ever-changing issue. Remember that Instant Church Directory is with you every step of the way as you build your directory. Helping your members feel good and safe about participating in the directory is part of the process. Feel free to reach out to one of our team members with any other questions. Contact Us using the link in the footer or send us an email at service@InstantChurchDirectory.com with any questions you have. We’ll be happy to help!