Security Lessons from Nehemiah (Part 1)

What digital security lessons can we learn from the book of Nehemiah? Many think that the Old Testament cannot be applied to today's problems. They consider its lessons old and dated. This article walks through the first few parts of the story. Drawing out security lessons for your web team.

Use Connections

Nehemiah used his connections. He met with the king to start the project of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. What connections do you have and how can you use them? It is doubtful that you have a security expert on your web team. Maybe that person exists within your congregation. Perhaps someone can recommend a company that handled a security breach with poise. Put the word out through personal and professional connections. Also, contact other churches to see what they have to offer. Remember that we are not in competition with them. A collaborative effort to secure each other's servers will have a great kingdom impact.

Ask For Resources

Nehemiah was bold in asking King Artaxerxes for timber to rebuild the walls. You should also be bold. Ask leadership for resources to implement preventative measures now. This is because security is most expensive after damage is done. A compromise can cost you time, money, and reputation. Restoring a website, even from a recent backup, can be tedious. Spending hours cleaning up malicious code means regular project schedules slip. Breaches in cloud-based services and social media platforms can have massive public and private implications. Backups are lost and reputations trashed. Educate your senior leadership that rebuilding efforts are tremendous, and far outweigh preventative measures.

Inspect Your Walls

Before work on the wall began, Nehemiah inspected them. He quietly formulated plans before he committed resources. I know that everything matters when it comes to securing your digital properties. Yet you need to know where to start first. Audit permissions and configurations on your servers. Check the password strength of all your digital platforms. Closely monitor all third party resources your church uses. This includes cloud storage, and social media outlets. Examine what security software you have. Are servers protected by adequate firewalls? Do you receive notifications of administrator logins? Do you check social media accounts to know when unauthorized posts are made? Get a firm grip on what capabilities and vulnerabilities your digital platforms have. Some of this may seem quite technical. If so, get reading, or get finding someone that better understands computer security.

Action Item

It would seem that early actions in the story of Nehemiah can tell us a lot. Yet I would encourage you to start how he did. Start with prayer. God may not divinely grant you knowledge of computer network security. But perhaps your quest for using connections and asking for resources are more fruitful. After you inspect your walls, put together a presentation for your leadership. This way you can detail all expenditures as well as your risk avoidance measures. Lastly, you may want to read through the first few parts of Nehemiah again. See what his posture for security was, and see where you can mimic it. Most importantly, examine his heart for God and his people.

Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.