Charities and voluntary sector businesses must operate at optimum and ensure they get the best value for money. Technology has become increasingly important, and if the systems don’t operate properly, this can affect time-critical service delivery and projects.
If your charity or organisation has not moved across yet, there are some key considerations to make.
What is the business case for the move? Which partner is best suited to help with the transition? Where is the planning, and how will this eventually be rolled out? How will staff be suitable, upskilled, and supported?
Over the past two years, many not-for-profit organisations have adopted new digital technologies to enable remote and hybrid work. This may have been the implementation of Microsoft Teams and Zoom to communicate during lockdown to help enable NFPs to deliver essential services. These technologies are the first step in moving to the cloud. Further adoption of technologies can fundamentally change how NFP organisations work, allowing them to provide even better services to those relying on them. In this article, we will discuss what cloud computing means, the benefits of moving to the cloud for not-for-profit organisations, and how these organisations can continue their journey to the cloud. Microsoft and Google offer discounted software suites that can help keep running costs down.
What is the Cloud?
The cloud refers to servers accessed over the internet and the software and databases running on those servers. The technical aspects of cloud computing can be very complex, and the cloud is used in many ways. However, three key cloud models are important for a not-for-profit organisation: SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.
Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, are applications hosted on cloud services that users access over the internet. An example of SaaS applications includes office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) within a Microsoft 365 subscription.
Platform-as-a-Service, or PaaS, is a model whereby businesses do not pay for hosted applications; rather, they pay for the elements necessary to build their own applications. This includes the infrastructure, development tools and operating system. These are delivered online through a public cloud provider like Microsoft Azure.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service, or IaaS, is a service that offers the compute, storage, and networking resources, similar to renting a server. This is the most complex model; however, it offers the most flexibility.
Benefits of SaaS for NFPs
Many SaaS offerings are designed to increase productivity within a workforce. The Microsoft 365 suite of applications is a perfect solution for NFPs looking to increase productivity. With a Microsoft 365 subscription, users have access to office applications, including Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, cloud storage with OneDrive, and the ability to use Teams for communication and collaboration. As this is a cloud offering, all these applications are designed to work together, to increase productivity and make collaboration within an organisation, or externally easier than ever.
NFP organisations are constantly at risk of a cyberattack. Cybercriminals have targeted many charities and NFPs in recent years, as they typically have less security, making them an attractive target. With a SaaS solution like Microsoft 365, many built-in security features keep businesses safe from attacks. Furthermore, businesses can use multi-factor authentication within Microsoft 365 to stop 99.9% of account compromise attacks.
Many not-for-profit organisations want to adopt a hybrid work model in the coming months. Such a model has many benefits for employees and businesses alike; however, without the right technology, it is difficult for employees to work effectively. Cloud solutions are perfectly designed for hybrid work. For example, with the Microsoft 365 suite of products, as long as employees have internet access, they can work from anywhere, on any device.
Benefits of IaaS and PaaS for NFPs
With cloud services, businesses can increase or decrease the required resources. For traditional on-premises infrastructure, if an NFP needs to increase storage space on their server or the load will increase due to a short period of temporary workers, the entire server would need to be upgraded. With a cloud server, NFPs can temporarily increase the amount of resources to accommodate these changes and decrease it when necessary. This is especially beneficial to NFP organisations that are looking to grow quickly.
If an NFP has servers, they are responsible for ensuring they are secure in the initial configuration and updating the operating system and applications. This is a complex process and requires costly security expertise. If the system has poor security, it can result in a data breach that can be difficult for a not-for-profit organisation to recover.
Cloud solutions allow for advanced security configuration, and the Azure public cloud is monitored 24/7 by a large team of security professionals. Cloud services must be regularly updated to remain secure, but this can be outsourced to a trusted IT provider.
Traditional on-premises infrastructure requires a significant capital investment; over time, the infrastructure will need to be upgraded or replaced. Many NFPs cannot afford this initial investment, which can lead to sub-par performance and a poor user experience. With a cloud solution, businesses only pay for the resources they use, which significantly reduces the capital investment and provides better value over time.
How to Move to the Cloud
Regardless of whether your NFP organisation is looking to move to the cloud with a SaaS, PaaS or IaaS solution, there are many benefits for businesses and users. Implementing a new technology can catalyse immense growth and provide a better experience for those who rely on your essential services. Although moving to the cloud may seem daunting, we are here to help make the process as efficient and effective as possible.
Contact us today to learn how your not-for-profit organisation could benefit from cloud technologies.
We have plenty of testimonials from charities we have worked with.
Please call 01444 871200 or email email@example.com