Cloud computing utilizes shared network hardware to mitigate against security risks and data loss. It lowers costs, improves access and speed, and is often considered the go-to option for many organizations. Let’s explore the reasons why moving to cloud computing can benefit your organization.
Cyber threats have increased exponentially in recent times. Only 26% of nonprofits actively monitor their network environments, a critical step to protect against threats. And more than 70% of nonprofits have not run any cyber threat assessments. Criminals know that nonprofits have neither the bandwidth nor the resources to defend against an attack, thus making them an even more appealing target.
Large cloud computing providers can afford to put into place rigid security protocols to protect donor and fundraising data. They can enact two-factor authentication, secure data transfers, and other steps to secure your data.
When selecting a cloud computing provider, look for one that has attained a Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) certification, as designated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Such cloud hosts have undergone a rigorous audit of their systems, including privacy controls, and are less vulnerable to attack.
Private cloud (instead of public cloud) servers may offer greater security. Public cloud has suffered in recent times from data breaches caused by misconfigured servers. If privacy is of deep concern to your organization, consider opting for private instead of public cloud services.
Many nonprofits faced the sudden shift to remote work when the pandemic arrived. Cloud computing facilitates remote work by providing uninterrupted access to data and servers 24/7. Anywhere you have an internet connection, authorized personnel can log into the system. This enables easier telecommuting and meaningful work while traveling.
Regular backups safeguard data as well as systems. Increasing data limits does not affect cloud storage, as more storage space can be added easily and quickly. Redundant systems ensure that, no matter what happens or where it occurs, the systems continue to run smoothly.
Cloud computing also offers nonprofits a more affordable entrée into enhanced computing power. Cloud systems hosted on shared or private cloud servers are maintained by the hosting company’s staff. IT staff can be deployed to solve onsite problems, provide daily IT services, and provide support for routine IT needs. There is no need for a nonprofit to invest in hardware, additional staff, or the space and equipment needed for staff.
Important Questions to Ask When Moving to the Cloud
If you’re convinced that moving to a cloud-hosted fund accounting program or another cloud-based software system is right for your nonprofit, there are several key questions to ask about the software under consideration.
- What is the process to migrate to the cloud? How challenging will it be? What is our organization’s participation in the process? Understand the time and money it will take to make the move to the cloud.
- How do the features of this system compare to what I have now? What is better, different, or will change? What remains the same?
- Who owns the data? Some contracts have the hosting company owning your data. Read the fine print.
- How difficult or easy is this software for our team to learn? When checking references with other software users, ask them this question to obtain direct feedback from other customers.
- Will there be any system downtime?
- What if we wish to stop using this system or move to a different one? What is the process?
- How frequently are backups made and how can we access them if necessary?
Cloud computing makes good sense for many nonprofits. It offers numerous advantages and few disadvantages. If you feel it is the next step for your organization, contact Welter Consulting for assistance.
Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.