Transitioning to the cloud can be a great move for your not-for-profit organisation.
You will have more control over your usage and costs, and the flexibility to scale as required. The cloud also enables more effective collaboration between your team, brings efficiencies to your processes, and can reduce the time your IT department spends on maintenance.
With so many organisations adopting the cloud, it may no longer seem a question of if, but when you will follow suit. However, depending on the work you do, sticking with your traditional infrastructure might be the best solution.
Here we’ll share 10 important points to consider to ensure a successful cloud transition for your not-for-profit.
1. Responsive and Flexible Workloads
In the cloud, your IT needs can be scaled up or down as required to meet resource demands easily. This is a big plus if your not-for-profit organisation handles project-based work, where more IT resources are needed at certain times. You can quickly and easily scale up or down as needed, allowing you to operate and manage your costs more effectively.
2. Mobility and Collaboration for Your Team
When your employees can access data and programs using an internet connection from anywhere, it provides your team with greater flexibility in their role. With the cloud, your team can collaborate in new ways, and from different places. This can boost productivity levels and increase staff satisfaction.
3. Increased Efficiencies for IT
Leveraging cloud computing for your backup and disaster recovery needs changes the way your IT department operates. With uptime now the responsibility of your cloud provider, your IT team will spend less time on manual maintenance, and more time on strategy and solutions.
4. Change IT to an Operational Expense
Cloud services are offered on a per usage (server, virtual machine or storage). While this can bring significant cost savings in some cases, it can also be more expensive in certain situations. Always consider the total cost of ownership of the cloud model compared to traditional hardware when making your decision.
5. Understand the Real Costs
Often, the cloud is touted as a cheap way to run IT in a cost-effective, monthly subscription – however, without effective management and monitoring, costs can quickly escalate. Subscription style billing does avoid upfront capital expenses, however, what is the actual amount the virtual server is going to cost every month? Consider the uptime, workload, storage and memory needed. There are “free” options out there, but you will get what you pay for. Utilise the calculators available from most providers or IT professionals to get an understanding of the actual cost of your solution.
6. Check Your Data Security
Be sure to partner with a trusted provider, and check where their data is stored. Some cloud providers do not have servers located in Australia, and this must be considered if there are risks or compliance requirements for data to remain in Australia. Sensitive data such as customer and financial information is important to secure and legally hold to be compliant. Carefully consider where your data will be stored and how it can be accessed in a cloud environment.
7. Manage Your Sensitive Data
When you’re using cloud services, your staff can access business data remotely, so consider how you can make this connection secure. Is it via a secure VPN connection or hosted desktop? To be safe, you may choose to make general information and employee emails accessible via the cloud, while keeping your sensitive data, such as case notes and patient data, on premise.
8. Getting Your Data Back
It’s important to ask any potential cloud providers what costs are involved in getting your data back on premise. Some providers have prohibitive costs for migrating away from their cloud services or replicating back on premise in a disaster recovery scenario. Be upfront, because you don’t want to be caught out if things change.
9. Adequate Internet Connection
Moving to the cloud and working from it on a daily basis relies on a business grade internet connection; ADSL generally does not cut it. You will also need to consider the type of data you use each day. Is it mostly Word documents and small spreadsheets? Or is it generally large PDFs and complex spreadsheet data? The larger the regular file sizes, the more internet bandwidth is needed.
10. Does the Cloud Suit Your Needs?
The cloud opens up many possibilities for not-for-profits, but only when it’s a good fit. To discover if it’s the right option, identify what you want to get out of moving to the cloud and be sure you fully understand how to keep your costs in check and your data safe. When you take this approach, your move to the cloud will be a success.
If you’d like to find out if moving to the cloud is the right option for your not-for-profit, get in touch with our team for expert advice.
If you enjoyed this article, you’ll also love our FREE not for profit IT guide – download it today.