Cloud computing is gaining traction from non-profit organizations (NGOs) according to TechSoup Global 2012 Global Cloud Computing Survey, indicating that 90% out of 10,500 correspondents from 88 countries are using at least one cloud computing application.
More NGOs are planning to move to the cloud according to the same survey. However, there is one great barrier why some of them are having second thoughts: the lack of knowledge on how to use it.
There are numerous ways on how NGOs can utilize these cloud-based services, although the technology is still on its infancy, such as:
Unlimited Access and Sharing of Files
One of the benefits of cloud-based services is that it allows the NGO staff to access the necessary files remotely. Whether they use a laptop, smartphone or tablet, they can log in to cloud-based storage apps and share files.
To secure file transfers and uploads, NGOs must find a reputable cloud service provider that supports formidable encryption feature to avoid security breaches.
Data Management and Organization
Generally, cloud services require software and hardware administration, and the good thing is that its acquisition provides easy data management and organization regardless of the type of cloud to avail.
The benefit of cloud-based solution allows the staff to collect and store data of members, donors and all the important connections, filing them in a database for archiving and record keeping.
The same survey indicates that 79% of correspondents see that the greatest advantage of cloud computing is the ease of software and hardware administration.
Rapid Advancement of Causes Globally
It will be easier for NGOs to collaborate with their staff operating worldwide. Charity institutions that have teams and missionaries spread across the continents can easily access files, get information and receive payments and updates when the cloud powers the central system.
Since cloud services support web hosting and app hosting, it will be an advantage for them if they build websites and custom apps to spread their cause worldwide.
The survey says 53% of the correspondents plan to move a significant portion of the IT infrastructure to cloud within three years.
On a more detailed note, NGOs in Egypt, India, Mexico and South Africa have accelerated timetables for moving their system to the cloud.
Maximize Cloud Tools and Features
Instead of installing software in PCs and laptops, cloud-based services provide online applications where the staff can create, edit, view and share files. Google Drive is one of the widely used public clouds for content creation and file storage, whereas Google apps are utilized for emailing, scheduling and other collaborative work.
Other tools for project management include Basecamp, Zoho and Huddle. When it comes to CRM, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and SugarCRM are some of the examples.
These are all public cloud tools and services. However, NGOs will discover more of cloud benefits if they use a private cloud for total control of both software and hardware.
[Suggested reading: How to Select The Best Free Online Storage Service]
POWER TIP: Conduct an intensive planning and brainstorming before moving to the cloud. Security is one of the issues that cannot be overlooked because the technology includes file transfer, money transfer and collection of personal information.
Choose carefully what information should be stored in the cloud. The last thing you would do is to compromise the data of your stakeholders, donors, staff and private files.
[Image credit: ponsuwan, FreeDigitalPhotos.net]