Nonprofits have a lot of questions about technology advancements. A recurring topic is cloud computing. Connecting Up lists the 5 main questions nonprofits need to ask themselves when choosing a cloud service.
What's our Internet connectivity like
Cloud computing does not change your Internet speed, however it is a great solution for old, slow database hardware. As long as your nonprofit has an Internet connection, the information saved to the cloud can be accesses from anywhere. That means staff members in the field can also connect to your organization's data with a web-enabled phone.
How sensitive is our data?
Data security is a hot topic when it comes to cloud computing, and many nonprofit executives are skeptical about the protection and data back up methods of cloud vendors. However, large cloud providers, such as Microsoft have farms of servers, encrypted storage options, encrypted transmission options, and create daily backups.
If one server fails, the information is still available on another. Assess your nonprofit's data--are their privacy regulations, employee or donor data, or financial information that is highly sensitive? Categorize your nonprofit's information and decide what level of security each needs.
Where will our data be stored?
The highlight of using the cloud is that your organization does not have to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on IT support and hardware maintenance. The part nonprofits worry about is losing ownership of their data. While the data may be located off-site, nonprofits and organizations do not ever lose ownership of their data.
Is there a cloud solution for our needs?
The most important part of any tech upgrade is assessing your organization's need in relation to the service, software, or tech. Before buying, consult with an expert to figure out if the technology is scalable to your nonprofit's growth.
What's the true cost of cloud computing?
Cloud computing consistently saves nonprofits money on technology and is typically offered to nonprofits at a fraction of the cost, and at times for no cost at all, which is the case with Microsoft Office 365.