Posted: 4 Min Read Corporate Responsibility

A Safe and Secure Shelter

Symantec’s Endpoint Protection helps nonprofit CASPA keep domestic violence victims’ information confidential

Product donation is Symantec’s largest mechanism to support the nonprofit community and help nonprofits fulfill their missions. In partnership with TechSoup, each year we provide cyber security solutions to more than 25,000 organizations across 55 countries worldwide, allowing them to secure their most important data wherever it lives. Since launching the software donation program in 2002, Symantec has helped more than 93,000 nonprofits solve today’s biggest security challenges and protect against the ever-evolving threat landscape.

Founded in 1976, Citizens Against Physical and Sexual Abuse (CAPSA), works to provide safe, caring, and confidential shelter, advocacy, and support for victims of physical and emotional domestic violence and sexual assault; and to reduce incidents of abuse through prevention education. Serving a small community in Northern Utah, the organization is up against significant odds—nationally one in four women, and one in seven men, will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

CAPSA is an organization that continually has more needs than resources in trying to help those suffering from abuse. Even with limited resources and funding, the nonprofit is able to provide advocacy, counseling, safety planning, and both temporary and long-term shelter for almost 1,000 people each year. The group also educates thousands of youth a year, channeling tens of thousands of volunteer hours towards this cause.

Above: CAPSA owned housing, built by volunteers and clients, which help keep clients safe as they begin the process of rebuilding their lives.
Above: CAPSA owned housing, built by volunteers and clients, which help keep clients safe as they begin the process of rebuilding their lives.

Data security is critical for CASPA

With this type of work, CAPSA has some demanding computer, network, and information system challenges and needs. According to James Boyd, CAPSA’s Development Director, “The feeling of safety and security is something we’re trying to provide our clients. We’re dealing with people who sometimes come in afraid for their lives, afraid someone will find out their location. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention put out a study that indicates when someone leaves an abusive relationship, the chances of being killed increases significantly. We have a safe and secure shelter, we teach people safety planning, and as an organization, we need to know our data is secure. Maintaining the security and safety of our confidential and sensitive data is a big part of what we need, and a big part of what we need to be able to provide our clients.”

James went on to describe how a data security breach would affect the grants that sustain the organization financially. “If our data was breached, I’m confident that most, if not all, of our grants would pull out. That would mean immediately losing services for clients—thousands of people each year wouldn’t get support or services they need,” he said.

CAPSA began using Symantec's Endpoint Protection (SEP) for small businesses a couple of years ago after experiencing considerable downtime as workstations became compromised. Due to limited funds, in the past they used free or trial versions of anti-virus software, and were continually hit with malware attacks. Their email accounts were hacked, sending out private information and spam emails, negatively affecting their reputation, and more importantly, putting lives in danger.

Their part-time information systems manager David Sullivan spent multiple days after each attack reinstalling a clean version of the operating system and software. This tedious and time-consuming process also left employees without their computers for several days. David then started looking for a solution that would protect their confidential information, keep the organization running smoothly, and could be both deployed and maintained easily.

David chose SEP, through Symantec’s software donation partnership with TechSoup. “Symantec’s Endpoint Protection has done a superb job of keeping our sensitive and confidential information safe, preventing malware and other issues that cause down time in our computers and systems. The ease in which I was able to deploy SEP, and the way it can be centrally managed through an online portal has been wonderful. It has helped our staff stay focused on the individuals and families they support, and has helped me focus on providing the information systems improvements that help them best do their jobs.”

Saving lives one-by-one

James also estimates that through SEP, each year the organization saves $1,000—which directly equals sheltering one more individual per year. That one person is someone like the young mother who walked through the snow and slush barefooted with her two children last winter to escape abuse. “Luckily she ran into a stranger who knew about us and was able to get her to CAPSA. We helped her work to overcome barriers that often times cause people to go back to violent situations. We helped her get a job, helped her get housing, and gave her and her older child therapy. She’s now living in a CAPSA-owned house and she’s doing well. To see that whole cycle is amazing,” says James.

Domestic violence happens more than we realize: according to CAPSA half of all homicides in the U.S. are domestic violence related. In Utah, CAPSA relies on Symantec to keep their systems and their clients’ information secure, while the organization and its volunteers work tirelessly on their mission of providing safe, caring, and confidential shelter for victims of abuse, ultimately saving people’s lives.

Learn more about some of the many nonprofits utilizing Symantec products through Symantec’s partnership with TechSoup:

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