For association leaders, ensuring the security of your organization’s data — and that of your members — is more crucial than ever before. Today’s digital landscape is a battleground where constantly evolving cyber threats abound. A breach in your systems that compromises financial or personal data could be devastating, eroding trust and jeopardizing your association’s entire reputation. Advanced Solutions International (ASI) wants to make sure that doesn’t happen and is taking steps to ensure your data is safe and secure at all turns.

How at Risk Associations Really Are for a Cyberattack

A successful cyberattack against an association can have far-reaching consequences. Member and employee personal data that’s breached can be sold on the dark web and used for identity theft. Equally as troubling, financial records can be used to steal money directly from the association, its members, and its donors.

Other forms of hacking can lock down an association’s systems and disrupt its ability to carry out the business of the organization.

No matter what form it takes, any cyberattack damages an association’s reputation and the trust of current and potential members and donors.

But it’s often wondered just how much risk there really is of associations experiencing a cyberattack. The answer is: a lot. For hackers looking for easy, profitable targets, associations and nonprofits top the list for several reasons:

  • They collect and store large amounts of member data. Many associations have tens of thousands, or even millions, of members. And all that personal data can be up for grabs if it isn’t strongly protected.
  • They process high volumes of money, in the form of membership dues, conference fees, and donations. Nonprofits raise $30 billion each year, and financial records detailing those donations can be priceless to a bad actor.
  • They often don’t have the budget to invest in the latest security measures — or even proper training for staff. The vast majority (80%) don’t have a cybersecurity plan, and 90% don’t regularly train their employees on cybersecurity best practices.

No matter how large or small an association is, the risk of a cyberattack is great. In the last couple of years alone, the associations that have been successfully hacked include:

  • In January 2022, the International Red Cross discovered that some of its servers had been breached, exposing personal data for more than 515,000 people around the world.
  • A March 2023 attack on the American Bar Association’s systems resulted in the theft of personal data of 1.4 million members, as well as financial information, spreadsheets, and W-2 forms.
  • The Royal Dutch Football Association paid ransom to a hacker group that stole 305 GB of personal data of more than 1.2 million members and employees in April 2023.
  • Another ransomware gang stole 2.8 GB of data from the American Dental Association, which has more than 160,000 members, in April 2022.
  • In early January 2024, it was reported that the National Automobile Dealers Association experienced a breach of databases that included more than 1 million lines of customer data, including phone numbers, payments, invoices, emails, and customer cards.

ASI has been deeply concerned about the security of associations’ data and systems for many years and has been working on how best to address the issue of security. Following extensive research and exploration, and a significant investment of time and effort, ASI partnered with Microsoft Azure to bring associations the level of security that’s needed to keep their data as safe and secure as possible.

Why ASI Partnered with Microsoft Azure

ASI had several goals for its latest version of iMIS: to bring greater consistency and performance stability and resiliency to its hosting operations, to provide better data protection capabilities, and to offer greater flexibility in the provision of services and cost options for clients. To accomplish those goals, ASI developed cloud-based iMIS Engagement Management System (EMS) and, after spending months diligently researching and exploring the options, partnered with Microsoft Azure for hosting.

Every year, Microsoft invests over $1 billion into security, including the security of Azure. The company uses state-of-the-art security at the physical data centers that house user data. They utilize security controls that are integrated into firmware and hardware to protect the network infrastructure. And they continuously test the Azure ecosystem’s security and monitor traffic to detect suspicious activity in its earliest appearances. Microsoft employs more than 3,500 cybersecurity experts who test and monitor the platform 24/7/365.

While all cloud platforms provide many benefits that aren’t possible with on-prem systems, Azure’s extensive security measures and global presence extend those benefits even further.

  • Since iMIS EMS is in the cloud, it’s 100% browser based. No software or data is installed or stored on employees’ laptops or on-prem servers, eliminating physical security risks such as theft or damage to devices or equipment. And Azure protects your data, both in transit and at rest, with state-of-the-art encryption methods, protocols, and algorithms.
  • Many remote and hybrid workers do their jobs at home or in other environments that don’t have a firewall or only have weak firewall protection. Azure ensures that only those who should have access to your data can gain access to it, through multiple encryption, identity, and authorization protocols.
  • The iMIS EMS system and your data are 100% backed up. Always. Azure is worldwide, with redundant backup around the world. If there’s a problem, such as a data center being affected by a natural disaster, your system can be restored within seconds from another location, whether it’s in the next state or across the globe.
  • Global Payments, which doesn’t work with on-prem systems, provides greater security for credit card processing, especially for donor pages, which are a frequent target of hackers.
  • It’s easier for threats to come in through servers that are outdated and systems that have been patched multiple times. Azure continually updates their physical equipment, keeping that threat at bay.

All these factors make iMIS EMS, hosted in the Azure ecosystem, more flexible, more reliable, and more secure than any on-prem system, and the best choice for associations.

Other Ways ASI Is Protecting Clients’ Systems

ASI invests more than $2 million every year into data protection alone. The company also invests in obtaining certifications like ISO/IEC 27001:2013 (and soon ISO/IEC 27001:2022), as well as compliance with Azure. 

Nearly 10 years ago, ASI developed its first Data Protection Plan with the goal of ensuring that the iMIS software and ASI’s hosting and cloud services remain as secure as possible to protect the computing environments and data in all supported deployment configurations for all types of customers. The plan is updated at least annually, keeping pace with changes in the security environment.

ASI’s Data Security and Privacy Initiative team meets every month to monitor regulatory developments and perform other oversight activities, and all ASI employees and contractors attend mandatory security and privacy awareness training. ASI is taking these steps and more to ensure the safety and security of associations’ data.


ASI is dedicated to helping associations fulfill their missions and reach their goals. And that is why ASI invests the time, energy, and funds into developing and providing the best association software options and operating environments. iMIS EMS offers the best of both worlds, so associations can both serve their members and keep their data as secure as possible in today’s climate.

Has your association experienced a cyberattack? What are you doing today to protect your association’s data? We’d love to hear your thoughts on security for associations. Leave your comments below.