Cloud computing has been around for a while now, however that it is still not the easiest technology solution to understand. For Dummies shares their Cloud Computing Cheat Sheet, in addition to some benefits of cloud computing from Tech Impact's own Executive Director, Patrick Callihan.
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
This is a common cloud model, where the service provider hosts the software for your organization. After the initial purchase or account setup, your nonprofit can connect to the application through a browser or application portal.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
This solution provides a virtual development resource for software. This is typically used by IT departments to create software and applications.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
An entire virtual network for your nonprofit that is housed on the vendor's servers. This includes virtual desktops, database, and cloud based applications and software.
What the cloud can offer nonprofits:
No server crashes
Some nonprofits have their own on-site servers to manage their email, databases, and information records. Cloud hosts such as Microsoft networks of servers, so clients never have to worry about server crashes.
Low, per-user costs
The cloud can save your nonprofit money on technology maintenance by eliminating on-site servers and virtualizing staff members' desktops. Even better, the cost of service is per-user, so you will always know what you are paying.
Security experts come with the cloud
No need to hire an Information Security Officer. Cloud service providers deal with clients who need to store a variety of confidential and sensitive information. Many cloud services also offer encryption services and Virtual Private Networks (VPN).
More time devoted to your cause or mission
Isn't that the ultimate goal? Technology should enable staff members to spend more time connecting with donors and making a difference, rather than dealing with temperamental servers and worn out hardware.