Umbrella: A free, simple security app for NGOs
NGOs face new threats on all fronts, digital and physical. If you’re having to defend your reputation, legal status, and funding, you’re not alone. And the security implications are serious. In a hostile climate, a range of actors are empowered to undermine your work—and they have resources. You don’t. You can’t afford to maintain a really robust, comprehensive security policy, let alone enforce it. But you can’t afford not to, either.
We’re security trainers, and we can help. We’ve trained hundreds of journalists, aid workers, and activists, and we saw a way to save NGOs from hunting around or overpaying for information that’s already out there. Best practice is just that — the current standard. It should be easy to access, whatever your budget.
We made one comprehensive guide to operational security. We turned our respected 35-module curriculum and other essential resources into Umbrella, a free, simple, open-source Android, iOS and web app. It’s a living document of digital and physical security advice that’s constantly updated from a range of trusted sources.
But the right information is only the start. You need people to read it and act on it, preferably yesterday. But hard copies are instantly out of date, and emailing an update is risky. Connections fail. Staff might skip it. Hackers might compromise it. In other words, you need a better system.
That’s why Umbrella is a new approach to security management. We’ve already added checklists you can customise, live security alerts from ReliefWeb, the US state department, and other sources, and a travel security form that you can share with colleagues. More is on the way. We’re building an infrastructure that will fully equip your staff to assess risk, get prepared, and respond in a crisis.
Help us make it work. We tested early versions of Umbrella with colleagues from NGOs around the world. We always love feedback that helps us refine our new features. Share Umbrella with your organisation, and tell us what works, what we can improve, and where you’d like us to take it from here.
Want your own security app?
WHAT IS UMBRELLA?
- In English, Spanish, Chinese (traditional), Arabic, Farsi, Russian and French.
- Secure and transparent.
- Always absolutely free.
An essential security toolkit for NGOs. - Lessons on relevant topics for any experience level. - Step-by-step guides to digital security tools. - Up-to-date security alerts for any location. Select from trusted sources or add your own.
A better way to manage security. - Shareable checklists help prove staff are prepared for legal and insurance purposes. - Forms streamline the paperwork you need to assess risk and debrief staff. - Data is encrypted and password-protected.
WHO IS SECURITY FIRST?
We know security, we’re developers, and we’re a social enterprise. - Security is our design principle. Every feature in Umbrella was created to be resilient to attack and protect your privacy. Umbrella code has been audited, and it’s open source. - We don’t sell your data or make money from Umbrella in any way. It’s funded by grants and our for-profit training and consulting. So we don’t have to choose between our profits and your privacy—keeping you safe is our business model.