Cybersecurity Assessment Tool

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Ford Foundation

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we live and work. During this uncertain time, we are all finding new ways to survive and continue our work. This includes using technology more than ever before, raising the already important issue of cybersecurity within civil society organizations. However, finding where to begin and understanding the best way to tackle this topic can feel daunting for even the best-resourced organizations. That’s why we have created this tool.

The Ford Foundation’s Cybersecurity Assessment Tool (CAT) is designed to measure the maturity, resiliency, and strength of an organization’s cybersecurity efforts. We have created this questionnaire with busy nontechnical grant makers, grantee partners, civil society organizations, and nonprofits in mind, and we hope it helps shine some light on a recommended path forward for any organization undertaking a cybersecurity journey. The tool is designed to be taken as a survey in one 30-minute sitting. However, it may require information from several members of your staff, including operations staff or decision makers. We initially created the questionnaire to help BUILD’s grantee partners, and we’re now making a beta version available for public use.

Use the tool

Who built this tool

Martijn Grooten wearing a black t-shirt with white stripes against a white background with some framed images.

Martijn Grooten worked as an academic mathematician before finding himself with a job at a security company almost 14 years ago. He has a broad interest in security and was the editor of Virus Bulletin for almost six years. He is a regular public speaker and writer and currently works as a security consultant with a particular focus on helping vulnerable groups and people. He is a fellow of the Civilsphere Project and a special advisor to the Coalition Against Stalkerware.

Matt Hansen wearing a blue & white stripped button down shirt with a blue v-neck sweater over it against a light background.

Matt Hansen’s work has appeared in the Los Angeles TimesThe WeekChicago TribuneBaltimore Sun, the San Francisco Chronicle, and KQED-FM. He has also written for organizations including the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Robin Hood Foundation, Smart Design, the Museum of the Moving Image, and Spaceship Media. Matt assists with digital and physical safety training for news and nonprofit clients with GJS, a training provider for high-risk environments.

Matt Mitchell wearing a black shirt, orange and blue tie and blue blazer against a maroon background,

Matt Mitchell is a tech fellow working with the BUILD and Technology and Society teams to develop cybersecurity training, technical assistance, and safety and security measures for the foundation’s grantee partners. Matt is a hacker and expert on counter surveillance and cybersecurity.

Trinh Nygen is wearing an embroidered dark green v-neck blouse against a dark background.

Trinh Nguyen is a holistic security and movement building trainer, currently serving as the head of operations for team community at ARTICLE 19. Trinh has over 15 years of training experience, previously working on campaigns for reproductive justice, anti-oppression, Internet freedom, and pro-democracy efforts in Vietnam. As a movement building trainer, she incorporates capacity building and cybersecurity tactics to help diverse grassroots pro-democracy and human rights movements achieve digital resiliency and organizational security.

Runa Sandvik wearing a dark blouse with a blurred location background.

Runa Sandvik works on digital security for journalists and other high-risk people. Her work builds upon experience from her time at The New York Times, Freedom of the Press Foundation, and The Tor Project. She is a board member of the Norwegian Online News Association and tweets as @runasand.

Laura Tich wearing a white blouse against a light gray background

Laura Tich is an information security analyst and cybersecurity trainer with expertise in network security and open source intelligence.

She is an advocate for Internet freedom and has worked on various projects around digital security for journalists and civil society organizations across Africa.

She is a founder of SheHacks_KE, a community of women cybersecurity professionals and enthusiasts in Kenya. The community empowers women in cybersecurity by facilitating free training workshops and providing mentorship.

How it works

This questionnaire is designed to help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your cybersecurity approach, as well as provide resources for improvement. After you complete the assessment, you’ll receive a personalized response and recommendations.

The assessment will cover four key areas:

  • Operational Security
  • Device Security
  • Account Security
  • Associated Risks

This assessment will take approximately 30 to 40 minutes of your organization’s time. You may need to ask other staff members or third-party contractors for answers to some of these questions, depending on how your organization is structured.

The Ford Foundation does not store your data when you use this tool. The data are stored in an encrypted database at FormStack, a leading online provider. We do receive anonymous results about the questionnaire’s general performance to help us understand our grantees’ needs.