Five reasons non-profits should move to the cloud

cloud storage, cloud based computing

Your IT staff or contract help-desk professionals can offer dozens of reasons to use cloud storage and cloud-based computing. Here are five good ones, explained.

It’s estimated that, by the end of this year, 94 per cent of the internet workload will be processed in the cloud and about 85 per cent of businesses will use it to store their information. Globally, about 37 per cent of IT budgets will be directed toward cloud computing costs.

Not surprisingly, with tighter budgets and fewer staff, uptake in the non-profit world is generally a bit behind the for-profit sector. But this sector is rapidly adopting cloud-based storage as well.

Wait, what?

Cloud storage is the actual keeping of your information in a central source accessed via the internet. Cloud-computing is when the computing happens in a large datacenter outside your organization as opposed to on your desktop or laptop.

Whatever your organization needs—storage, applications, or a combination of the two—there is a variety of applications available from different providers. Given the large not-for-profit discounts Microsoft offers, a popular option is Azure—a cloud platform that can host databases and allows you to build and manage a multitude of applications.

Regardless of which vendor is best for you, there are advantages to life in the cloud

1. Cost savings

  • Cloud computing eliminates the need to instantly pay for large amounts of disk and storage space and also reduces the need to buy, install and upgrade expensive software. Because it can host the software, the need to replace hardware is often eliminated
  • Pay-per-use options are often available, and reduce or eliminate the need of maintaining more-costly in-house servers
  • Scalability and flexibility based on need: if you don’t use it, you can reduce it. If you need it, you can add it.
  • Energy-cost savings: replacing physical storage servers with cloud-based alternatives reduces your electricity bill

2. Accessibility & ease of use

  • If you’re connected to the internet, you’re no longer shackled to your computer; you can access your online files from any device, anywhere
  • The cloud also offers virtually unlimited storage capacity and if you need more storage, it’s often just a matter of paying a slightly larger fee per month
  • Most cloud services come with an easy-to-use interface allowing you to drag-and-drop information
  • Multiple users can work on the same project/file

3. Security & disaster recovery

  • Cloud storage saves your information on multiple, redundant servers. If one center is taken out of service, your information is protected—safe and supervised at other data centers
  • Cloud-based services provide quick data recovery from almost any kind of emergency scenario, including natural disasters and power outages
  • Storage on multiple cloud servers minimizes downtime and speeds up recovery
  • Many platforms, such as Azure, come with compliance certifications suitable for high-risk industries such as health care and government
  • Additional services such as multi-factor authentication and sophisticated disaster recovery abilities are possible
  • Cloud hosts monitor security continuously as a top priority. Organizations storing information in-house have to spread their efforts between multiple IT concerns, with security being only one of them

4. Freeing up limited IT staff time and resources

  • A big factor for non-profits who often have limited or no full-time IT staffing, cloud storage requires less in-house expertise and less staff time. Most platform and storage management is handled by the vendor
  • By implementing software in the cloud and avoiding the purchase of IT equipment such as additional servers, you help free IT staff from time-consuming software implementation and upgrades
  • Maintenance tasks can be more efficiently conducted with a cloud solution
  • Cloud applications can be deployed more quickly than on-site solutions because IT requirements and complexities are minimized

5. Intuition & enlightenment

  • Cloud-based storage centralizes your data, allowing you to harness analytics and sort through it more easily
  • Organizations can then implement tracking functions and build custom-tailored reports to analyze information organization wide, leading to increased efficiencies, better stakeholder and donor reporting, and other new ways to meet organizational goals

Learn more about cloud-based computing and storage today: Contact us

Photo by Philipp Birmes from Pexels

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