How to Protect Your Member Data and Reduce Risk for Your Association


We all hear a lot about data security these days — from state, federal, and international data privacy and protection laws to consumer demands for privacy. As your association grows and collects personal information about your members, you simply can’t afford not to protect your member data.

At the same time, as you collect more data and use more technology systems, performance becomes more important than ever.

But, how do you ensure that your data is secure and that your association management software (AMS) system continues to grow with you?

Importance of data security for associations

In an age when data is a form of digital currency, security is an essential component of your business strategy. Safeguarding your member’s data is a critical step in showing that your association is reputable. Protecting your data security is important for the following reasons:

  • It protects your members’ privacy 
  • It preserves your reputation and creates a strong character.
  • It establishes your association as one with a strong code of ethics.
  • It helps stop data breaches before they can start and minimizes the chance of future ones.

Without sufficient data security protocols in place, your organization risks accruing costs and fines associated with breached data — plus legal fees and reparations to rectify the harm done to your association members. A severe data breach could cost your organization its reputation, facilitate countless fees and fines and potentially even cause job losses. 

How to protect and secure member data

Safeguarding member data requires a solid data security plan that keeps up with the ever-evolving nature of cybersecurity threats. Your AMS system should be able to provide you with the information and insight necessary to grow your data security approach and provide a series of sophisticated authentication processes and data recovery options — plus constant reliability. An AMS should strictly adhere to the guidelines set out by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations and provide users with options regarding their user data.

Since new data security threats are constantly being created and exploited, it’s essential to choose an AMS system that updates frequently. Your AMS program should update regularly to combat new security threats and upgrade automatically so none of your systems are left behind. 

To help you decide whether your AMS system has enough precautions to secure your member data, we’ve developed a list of association data security best practices. Here are seven things to look for in an AMS system to protect your member data, reduce risk and ensure system performance you can count on:

#1 Transparency

What to look for

Your AMS system should provide you with insight, information and documentation into its system performance and security to promote your trust and confidence in its service.

What to know

Nimble AMS is built on the Salesforce platform, and Salesforce has created the site trust.salesforce.com to provide live status details on its service availability, performance, security, privacy and compliance. The site includes updates on any recent phishing, malware, or intrusion attempts, so you can easily learn the state of your data at any time.

#2 Best practices for data security

What to look for

To prevent unauthorized access, your AMS system should support data security best practices, including two-factor authentication, login IP ranges, adjustable session timeout thresholds, custom domains, and the latest authentication and encryption protocol Transport Layer Security (TLS) for browser encryption.

What to know

The Salesforce platform supports all of these best practices and more. They also offer educational content and security advisories to help ensure you are up-to-date on the latest in security best practices. Nimble AMS routinely goes through Salesforce’s rigorous App Security Review to ensure it meets Salesforce’s high standards for data security.

What do association professionals need to know about Salesforce?

Download the guide to find out.

#3 Comprehensive user permissions

What to look for

Your system should allow only your organization to access its data, and allow your administrator to restrict access so that your employees can view and edit only the data they should be able to access in the system, depending on their role with your organization.

What to know

The Salesforce platform uses unique identifiers assigned with each new session, so your data is available only to those who are authorized to access it. By virtue of the Salesforce platform, Nimble AMS allows your administrator to set up at the organization, department and individual levels and configure what they can see and do. Permissions can be set for application, tab, page, object, field and more.

The Salesforce platform supports all of these best practices and more. They also offer educational content and security advisories to help ensure you are up-to-date on the latest in security best practices.

#4 Data recovery

What to look for

To safeguard your data, your AMS system should protect your data from simple data storage errors, catastrophic failures and everything in between. Also, your AMS system should not hold your data hostage.

What to know

With Nimble AMS, your data is protected because Salesforce backs up client data on a rotating schedule of incremental and full backups that lets them restore service more efficiently should the need arise. Their disaster recovery mechanisms use real-time replication to disk at each data center, and near real-time data replication between the production data center and the disaster recovery center. And, you can export your organization’s data when you need it, without restriction.

#5 Compliance

What to look for

The most secure AMS systems maintain compliance certifications and attestations to validate their security.

What to know

Nimble AMS sustains security certifications via Salesforce, which maintains comprehensive international certifications, including ISO/IEC, SOC, PCI DSS and HIPAA. Their compliance certifications and attestations are listed at: trust.salesforce.com/en/compliance/

#6 Stability and reliability

What to look for

As your association grows and collects more data, your AMS system should be able to handle spikes in traffic to your online community and member portal, remaining available when you and your members need it.

What to know

Nimble AMS customers can rely on Salesforce’s long-term track record of 99.9+ percent uptime. Salesforce has thousands of computers with redundant data centers all over the world, advanced protection for its facilities, and a complete data recovery plan. Plus, with the Salesforce platform, you get access to sandboxes so you can test configurations and integrations without compromising your production environments.

The most secure AMS systems maintain compliance certifications and attestations to validate their security.

#7 Seamless upgrade and continuous delivery

What to look for

Your AMS system should provide you with a continuous stream of upgrades and innovation so you’re always using the latest in technology advances, without hassle and without extra costs.

What to know

Nimble AMS provides you with six free upgrades per year (three via the Salesforce platform, and three via Nimble AMS) to ensure you’re always using the latest and greatest technology. And, because Nimble AMS and the Salesforce platform are true cloud-based systems, you receive these upgrades quickly and painlessly.

Safeguard your member data with Nimble AMS

Nimble AMS’s innovative data security solutions are constantly evolving to protect your member data from tomorrow’s security threats. As a Salesforce platform, we use their excellent security tools and adhere to the security suggestions put forward by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations. To better adhere to these regulations, Nimble AMS has created several features to help your members feel more secure. We’ve also enabled anonymizing their data. Our security features allow you to anonymize individuals, set consent preferences, and view data export requests. 

At Nimble, we’re committed to providing you with the best security practices available. Our software is consistently in line with updated security standards and strives to go above and beyond with regulation compliance. As a company that is always improving upon our product, we issue three stress-free updates that automatically install every four months. Nimble AMS’s frequent upgrades allow you to always have updated software, and they are automatically installed. 

We are proud to call ourselves the most trusted AMS built on Salesforce. To see how Nimble AMS can safeguard your member data today, request a demo or a pricing estimate online. 

Access the full guide about these critical data security and performance aspects of an AMS system.

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