Cloud computing is growing at an astronomical rate, becoming the go-to storage system for large organizations, startups, nonprofits, and individuals. In a 2017 report, IDC said that the cloud is growing 7 times faster than the rest of the IT industry – and this is not slowing down anytime soon.
Businesses are moving to the cloud, so are large corporations and individuals, and this is the time to consider cloud computing for your nonprofit.
But before we dive deeper into planning your cloud journey as a nonprofit, let’s understand what cloud computing is all about.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing involves using a network of internet servers to store, manage, retrieve, and process data, as well as host applications. It is the direct opposite of using your organization’s own computer server to store and manage data.
This means that as a nonprofit with a digital presence, you’re probably already using cloud computing in some way – hosting your website or storing data. We could only use the offline version of Microsoft Office Suit some years back. Now, it has its cloud version through Microsoft 365, allowing us to access our documents wherever we are. This is same with services such as Google Drive services or that of DropBox. Cloud computing has progress over the years, and so there are many providers that you can use as a nonprofit. Some of the most popular ones include IBM Cloud, Oracle, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Service (AWS), and Salesforce among others.
Cloud Computing for Nonprofits: Why should your nonprofit migrate to the cloud?
Resilient and reliable services
Using physical hardware servers for your nonprofit data comes with many inconveniences. For starters, you will need a lot of technology tools and employees with different expertise to manage the entire system. Added to the extra cost of maintenance, and you have a lot on your plate for just your IT department as a nonprofit. Not only is this costly, it also leads to delays when something goes down.
With a cloud service, you don’t need to keep staff and everything is running seamless. This ensures that your volunteers and donors can visit your digital services anytime even when your employees are not in their posts. These cloud services providers also have multiple backups, and once a problem is discovered somewhere, they could still operate while working on any issues.
With in-house physical data storage and management resources, you need to keep your own security protocols, defining who has access and who doesn’t. this also means keeping specialists all the time. As a nonprofit, this could be demanding and costly. Cloud service providers have their own security and are always ready to protect your data with a network of security specialists. They also provide the needed security updates to make sure that your system stays up to date to prevent any breaches.
Flexible and highly scalable
Unlike physical servers where new equipment have to be acquired to upgrade, cloud service upgrades are seamless. As a nonprofit, you don’t have to buy new equipment when your data needs increase. All you have to do is to upgrade your subscription to your cloud services and you will not only have increased storage capabilities, but your nonprofit will also get an upgrade in security and more functionalities on data management. This makes cloud computing a flexible alternative and one that is always ready to adapt to the changing needs of your nonprofit organization.
Cost less and easy to maintain
Running your own servers means that as a nonprofit, you’re buying your own equipment and keep your own staff working on this. Maintenance also becomes an issue as your organization constantly has to upgrade your equipment or add more specialist staff.
With cloud computing, maintenance and anything that needs an upgrade falls on your cloud provider, who have the right expertise standing by to work on your data anytime. When it comes to cost, because you don’t have to buy new equipment and hire new talent, cloud is usually cheaper. What’s more, many cloud service providers have less costly or even sometimes free plans for nonprofits and charities, which your organization can leverage.
Why your nonprofit may decide not to move to the cloud
While cloud computing is great for your nonprofit, there may be one or two things informing you not to migrate, at least for now. This could include:
The nature of your current systems
If you’re a nonprofit who has put great work in building an in-house data storage and management system, which of course is working well, you may not have to migrate to the cloud.
The security over where data is store
If you’re a nonprofit with strict requirements about where your data is stored, then you may decide not to move to cloud. While cloud service providers have great data protection systems, your nonprofit may still find it not safe trusting a third party with your data – and that’s fine.
Cloud Computing for Nonprofits: Steps to Migrate your Nonprofit to the Cloud
Migrating your nonprofit data storage and management to the cloud won’t happen overnight. Apart from the careful planning, your organization needs to execute the process well and take into consideration many factors. Here’s how to migrate responsibly:
This is where you sit down with your organization and come up with why you’re migrating, what the costs will be, whether you need a new cloud migrating team or your IT department can handle it, and any other issue that you may have.
Define your goals and objectives
There are definitely reasons why you want to migrate to the cloud. Here, you look at those reasons and draw out the final objectives that you want to achieve with this migration. Are you looking at high security? Are you migrating because your team is working remotely and you want to synchronize collaboration? Or you don’t have the budget to keep an in-house team to handle data storage and management? Whatever the case may be, clearly define your goals and objectives, which should be your guiding principles in choosing cloud service providers.
Define your budget
Resources are scarce, and for a nonprofit, there are a lot of projects to undertake. Defining your budget helps you identify your financial strength. This will help inform the type of cloud service provider you go for, the plan to choose, and the type of objective to prioritize for the first migration.
Run your first test
As a nonprofit, you shouldn’t move all your data to the cloud at once. Your first steps should be to move part of your resources. Give it some time while testing the robustness of the system, the security, how you’re able to access your data and collaborate, and more. When everything is running smoothly, then you can do a comprehensive migration. This level also informs you of the shortcomings of the platform you go for, and how to fine-tune your cloud management plan to make best use of the system.
What next for cloud computing for nonprofits and that of your organization?
IndieTech Solutions has years of expertise in IT management and web development, as well as cloud computing for nonprofits, and ever ready to help your organization scale. If your nonprofit is looking for ways to make sense of the cloud computing world or migrate your entire data and operations to the cloud, we are just an email away.