Getting Started in Cloud for Non-Profits

 In Cloud, IT Planning

For non-profits, keeping focused on the mission is the most important thing. Information technology struggles take away from that focus, so anything that alleviates those challenges is a great advantage. That’s why cloud technology is so beneficial for non-profit organizations.

Benefits of Cloud for Non-Profits

There are many benefits of using cloud technology. Two of the top pluses for non-profits are the low cost and low support requirements. Cloud can cost considerably less than in-house IT, as there are no large capital expenditures required; you pay for what you use as you use it. There are also operational cost savings, as much of your IT support becomes the cloud provider’s responsibility. Since non-profits can’t match the high salaries IT professionals earn from for-profit entities, using cloud often means receiving better as well as cheaper support.

In addition to the financial benefits, cloud can help non-profit organizations accomplish their charitable goals. Cloud makes IT services accessible from anywhere, meaning your team can use mobile devices to access applications from the field. Because cloud is scalable, non-profits can easily grow their systems to support increased demand during a crisis and then shrink back to the smaller, cheaper level that supports their routine requirements. Cloud can also make it easier for non-profits to protect the privacy of their clients’ and donors’ information.

Getting Started With Cloud for Non-Profits

Cloud is a major change in how IT services are delivered, so it’s wise to go slow and make easy, safe changes first.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is the easiest form of cloud to adopt. With SaaS, you don’t need to support either hardware or software; you use cloud-based applications that run on the software vendor’s infrastructure. The software vendor automatically updates the application as needed and keeps data securely stored.

It’s likely that the most common software you use is available via SaaS. If you use Microsoft Office, Office 365 provides standard office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, along with collaboration tools like Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype.

CRM is also available through the SaaS model, with many vendors offering their applications in the cloud. Project management software is also widely available through SaaS. General purposes databases are also available as services, such as the managed SQL Server offering in Microsoft Azure.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are the other two available cloud models. Where SaaS limits you to software developed by a third party, with either PaaS or IaaS you have access to the resources to develop your own applications. IaaS provides only the virtual machine and operating system, leaving you to select your own tools. PaaS offers complete development platforms, with libraries and APIs that support general purpose and specialized applications.

Get Started With Cloud

There are many applications used by typical non-profits that work well in the cloud, ranging from very general functions such as online file storage and email to very specific functions such as donor or grant management. Get help deciding how to start incorporating cloud into your information technology with IT consulting services from Prescient Solutions. Our team of certified experts offers comprehensive support in all the technologies that support your non-profit mission. Contact us to learn more about how to integrate cloud into your non-profit organization.

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