Friday, October 18, 2013

The Cloud for Nonprofits

VisionLink attended the Annual Colorado Nonprofit Association Conference last week to meet many of Colorado's wonderful nonprofiteers as well as the companies who support them. As always, we attended a few sessions to learn what was going on in the nonprofit world and to hear about the hottest topics in nonprofit technology. One session we attended was hosted by SolveIT and discussed nonprofits and 'the cloud.' Being a nonprofit technology company, this was one we did not want to miss! We decided to share a few key points from the session:

What is the cloud?
It is a network of servers that allows you to access applications, files, data etc. through an internet connection--anytime, anywhere, from any device.   

What are some examples of services on the cloud? 
  • Photo storage & sharing sites like Dropbox.com
  • E-mail sites like Gmail, Yahoo mail, or hotmail
  • Video Conferencing providers
  • Website hosting sites
  • Social Media

How can the cloud simplify IT?
  • Reduces the need for expensive investments in technology infrastructure 
  • Reduces the need for maintenance
  • Reduces the need for support...if something goes wrong, they can deal with it, not you
  • Eliminates the need for annual software updates
  • Creates a monthly budgetable server cost, as opposed to one large cost at the beginning
  • Promotes business continuity, especially in time of disaster
  • You don't even have to have an office, because everything can be shared virtually
  • All you need is an internet connection

What nonprofits can benefit from the cloud?
  • Smaller nonprofits because there is no need for IT staff
  • Organizations without an office or with offices in multiple locations
  • Larger nonprofits, only if the cloud is cheaper than paying for their own servers and IT staff

When would the cloud not be a good fit for a nonprofit?
  • If you don't have an internet connection
  • When you need to be in complete control of the servers
  • If you have special security/privacy requirements

What was the coolest thing that we learned about the cloud?
Microsoft office 365, a premier business cloud service package, is available to qualifying nonprofits...for FREE! This cloud service gives organizations email services, file sharing, contact and calendar sharing, SharePoint, website hosting, and more. You can click here to learn more about this awesome free service from Microsoft.

VisionLink
www.visionlink.org