In the beginning, the cloud was a scary, uncharted territory. Nonprofits had concerns about how safe information was in the cloud or whether cloud systems were reliable. Faced with changing their IT financial model to operational expenses instead of their typical capital outlays and their concerns about employee adoption and training, many nonprofits opted to stay out of the cloud.
In recent years, IT has grown less from an on-the-ground, in-house function to a more flexible, scalable model. Cloud has become less of a buzz word and more of a standard practice, shifting software and equipment from the ground to the sky (not literally, of course). Cloud giants like Microsoft are leading the charge with stringent security measures and the kind of flexible features that today’s workforce expects, and both businesses and nonprofits stand to reap the rewards.
For nonprofits in particular, the cloud can provide the tools and resources they need to serve more of their constituent population, retain top talent, eliminate workforce redundancy and help an increasingly mobile staff manage more projects more effectively.
Enhanced Security and compliance
While security is often cited as a reason that nonprofits avoid the cloud, we find the opposite to be true. For most of the organizations we’ve worked with, cloud solutions offer more innate security than an organization has time or resources to implement for on-site IT solutions. The same is true for compliance. Data being stored on-premise may not be compliant with any government regulations that you are required to adhere to (i.e. PCI or HIPAA). Cloud environments like Microsoft SharePoint or Blackbaud, have built-in compliance and security measures to help manage these requirements.
More done in less time
With more happening in the cloud, you’ll encounter fewer challenges with processing speed and storage space requirements that can weigh down computer use times. As long as you are using an up-to-date internet service and work with your IT provider to ensure that you have the right bandwidth for your specific needs, shifting to the cloud can give an overall boost to productivity and the speed at which you get stuff done.
When servers, hubs, cooling fans and other accompanying physical hardware are removed, more space becomes available. This newfound space is reallocated to other important functions. Reducing physical infrastructure also improves the environmental impact from less electricity use.
The cloud reduces the amount of capital you need for IT purchases by shifting some of the expense to operating expenses. A cloud environment can also help you reduce the amount of infrastructure needed and scale costs more effectively, so you only pay for what you use, when you use it.
Some of the biggest cloud solution providers offer sizeable discounts to nonprofits, especially when compared to their small- and medium-sized business counterparts. Integris has helped dozens of nonprofits navigate all available discounts (regardless of profitability to us), to maximize the value of the technology available within your budget.
Knowing when to move to cloud
Unless your organization can successfully provide services on an isolated island that is locked in time, consider that the world is moving to cloud. Common applications like Microsoft Office, Razor’s Edge, Blackbaud CRM and Adobe Creative Suite moved to cloud several generations ago and are only innovating in the cloud now. Physical software packages are increasingly hard to come by and are not compatible with vendors you do business with, like direct mail agencies.
The transition to cloud is happening. The best approach is to work with a Managed IT provider like Integris to make a plan that ensures an easy and cost-effective transition.
Are you ready to take the first step for cloud migration? Let Integris’s expert IT team evaluate your nonprofit’s network environment and provide a cloud migration timeline. Contact us by phone at 404-551-5492 or online.