Technology is just as important to a non-profit organization as it is for a business, but often the focus of the non-profit’s mission takes precedence over technology maintenance and planning (as it should)! This is why cloud computing is such a great opportunity for a non-profit.
The majority of the infrastructure is outsourced to “the cloud” – super computers hosted in remote datacenters that are managed 24/7/365 by professional technicians. As a result, there is no need to purchase, maintain or host internal servers or staff “maintenance IT” professionals. If you have IT staff, their efforts can be put towards more strategic initiatives that can provide much greater value to the organization.
Cloud computing is accessible anywhere and secure. Many non-profits have staff and volunteers that are not always on site, but want to access and/or share information. With a cloud-based infrastructure, getting to your organization’s content and information is as easy as signing in from any internet-enabled computer or device. Security protocols are dictated by your organization, so the balance of accessibility and security remains completely under control. In addition, compliance regulations like HIPPA are maintained by the cloud service providers like Microsoft who are 100% HIPPA compliant, and conform to all U.S. and EU regulations.
Cloud computing costs are predictable and affordable! Most cloud providers charge a monthly “per user” fee. Capital expenditures in server hardware or major software upgrades are, in effect, spread out over these monthly fees. Additionally, the risk of critical failures that require a “contingency fund” are in many cases eliminated. Many cloud providers, including Microsoft, also offer significant discounts on their solutions for non-profit organizations which makes moving to the cloud an even brighter prospect.
No Need to buy new software, you are always up to date! Your organization will always have access to the latest and greatest updates and improvements for the software and services. No need to budget for the new version of the software – you will always have access to the most recent patches and rollouts with your monthly subscription. For example, even providers like Microsoft offers their familiar and predictable productivity software including Word, Excel and PowerPoint that people have been using for decades delivered via the cloud with their Office 365 solution.