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Cybersecurity Best Practices for Ombuds

by Colin Rule, Clare Fowler

March 2022


One of the fastest growing areas of dispute resolution is Ombuds.  Ombuds offices are being steadily established at every level of government, in academia, by non-profits, and throughout our traditional and sharing economies. This growth has been supported by new International Ombuds Association (IOA) data and security standards and by the development of a new online platform built specifically for the operation of Ombuds offices.

Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc., (RIS) has long taken the lead in the development of online Ombuds technology first with the development of and now with the new RIS secure platform available at  

Why should Ombuds worry about cybersecurity?

As we move more of our lives online, especially in the wake of the global pandemic, cybersecurity is
growing in importance throughout the Internet. The measures we have taken in the past to protect the privacy of our visitors are often no longer adequate. Every email, text message, and video chat can generate sensitive information, and it is our responsibility to ensure that all this information that is shared with your Ombuds office is appropriately managed and protected.

If your office is a victim of unauthorized access, it may cause harm to your constituencies, inflict reputational
damage to your program, and potentially trigger regulatory sanctions. What's more, cyberattacks are
growing in frequency and complexity.  Your cybersecurity practices likely need to be updated to avoid attacks both today and into the future.

In order to help you mitigate the risk to your Ombuds office of cyber breaches, we have prepared this list of best
that detail simple steps you can take to protect your Ombuds staff and constituencies. 

Get your copy of's Cybersecurity Best Practices Guide HERE.

Also see our video on "Online Data Security" for Ombuds Offices:

Finally, see our updated article, "Caseload Manager Helps Ombuds Offices Meet Best Practice Standards."

Colin Rule is CEO of Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc. ("RIS"), home of,,, and a number of additional leading online dispute resolution initiatives.  From 2017 to 2020, Colin was Vice President for Online Dispute Resolution at Tyler Technologies. Tyler acquired, an ODR provider that Colin co-founded, in 2017.  Previously, from 2003 to 2011, Colin was Director of Online Dispute Resolution for eBay and PayPal.  Further, Colin co-founded Online Resolution in 1999, one of the first online dispute resolution (ODR) providers, and served as its CEO and President.  Colin also worked for several years with the National Institute for Dispute Resolution in Washington, D.C. and the Consensus Building Institute in Cambridge, MA.

Colin is the author of Online Dispute Resolution for Business, published by Jossey-Bass in September 2002, and co-author of The New Handshake: Online Dispute Resolution and the Future of Consumer Protection, published by the ABA in 2017. Colin received the first Frank Sander Award for Innovation in ADR from the American Bar Association in 2020, and the Mary Parker Follett Award from the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) in 2013. Colin holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in conflict resolution and technology, a graduate certificate in dispute resolution from UMass-Boston, a B.A. from Haverford College, and Colin served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Eritrea from 1995-1997.  You can read many of Colin's articles and see some of his talks at


Clare Fowler is Executive Vice-President and Managing Editor at  Clare received her Master's of Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law and her Doctorate in Organizational Leadership, focused on reducing workplace conflicts, from Pepperdine University School of Education. Clare also coordinated the career development program for The Straus Institute dispute resolution students. In addition to her editorial duties at, Clare coordinates online case management for ADR programs, agencies and courts.

The views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc., or of reviewing editors.