The cloud comes with many benefits such as ease and convenience for organizations with little-to-no IT staff, cost efficiency, and the reduction in CapEx due to the eliminated need to purchase hardware. Nonprofit companies can realize many of these benefits by moving their infrastructure and computing from on-site to off-site, eliminating a lot of the responsibility, hassle, and cost from managing in-house hardware.
According to Nonprofit Technology Network1’s survey, over 90% of respondents use some kind of cloud-based software, and 80% use more than one cloud solution for non-critical applications. But the benefits of cloud computing technology can expand beyond that.
Why the cloud?
So how can cloud computing address the issues and obstacles that organizations have to deal with? There are multiple ways.
Cloud computing leads to improved efficiency, which is useful for any type of organization. Additionally, moving to the cloud can reduce costs by eliminating the refresh cycle of hardware as well as management and monitoring. The cloud can help increase visibility, and allows organizations to benefit from the latest advancements in technology, especially when it comes to security, compliance and data privacy.
Cloud computing has already been proven as a valuable resource for organizations, but of course, it takes some preliminary research to get the best solution. Choosing a great provider is key, as is defining organizational strengths and weaknesses. Cloud computing can address the specific needs of a nonprofit, due to its wide range of benefits and customizable nature. What’s better than fixing your exact problems while saving money and re-focusing your team?
Now, let’s delve deeper into the benefits of cloud computing.
The cloud allows organizations to benefit from flexibility and accessibility, but this is especially beneficial for nonprofits. These organizations have people working everywhere – there are constant off-site projects happening, remote writers or participants, and board members who are constantly on the road. With cloud computing, it’s easy to access data from any location, at any time, using any computing device. That means 24x7x365 access to necessary information. Better yet, it’s easy to collaborate and share data with users, regardless of location. These organizations have to be flexible, and with the cloud, they can be. This will improve efficiency and allow for real-time communication, action and insight.
With cloud computing, nonprofit organizations can eliminate hardware, software and IT costs, lowering their Total Cost of Ownership and moving their focus to more important things. Things like older hardware that may be closer to replacement time can have it’s life extended since the cloud operates independently from the physical hardware. The cloud provider handles the equipment, installation, maintenance, upgrades and time commitment of the necessary computing resources. The nonprofit, on the other hand, simply pays to use these resources via a pay-as-you-go plan. This means a nonprofit organization can use the resources it needs, when it needs them, while scaling back whenever necessary.
In a TechSoup survey of nonprofits, 45% of respondents cited data security as a major concern about cloud computing. Just like any other organization, nonprofits need to make sure they’re secure! Nonprofits face increased compliance and privacy requirements, so security is top of mind. With the cloud, organizations have availability to enterprise-level hardware and security without the expense of purchasing it all. By consuming their “piece of the pie” an orgnaization is able to experience high-level security within some of the best data centers in the country. Thanks to the cloud, organizations of all sizes and all backgrounds can experience the benefits of top notch security, backups and disaster recovery, regardless of budget.
Nonprofit organizations don’t always have availability to resources when it comes to IT and data security. Cloud providers can become that resource. They invest a lot in computing and security expertise and resources, allowing nonprofits to benefit from higher levels of security than they ever could have previously been able to access.
Rather than using a few resources, or picking and choosing what’s absolutely essential, nonprofits can have it all. They can access everything they need for at budget-friendly prices. The cloud vendor simply helps incorporate the latest standards and controls.
Thanks to the scalability, reduced costs, security and mobility that the cloud provides, nonprofit organizations have a chance to re-focus and strengthen their efforts. With cloud computing, nonprofits can better manage outreach and fundraising and focus both their attention and resources on their causes, advocacy and extremely important work.
According to Blackbaud, the majority of nonprofits are already using the cloud for common tasks like file storage and email, but only about 15% are using it as a greater resource than that. Few nonprofits currently use the cloud for accounting, fundraising database resources or mission-critical applications. And it’s time to change that! The cloud model allows nonprofits, along with other organizations, to take advantage of the greatest IT services and resources without needing sophisticated technology knowledge or huge budgets. Instead, nonprofits are able to focus on their mission, while the provider handles the rest.