Cloud Computing – Part 1: What is it and why should NFPs care?

There has been a lot of buzz lately on cloud computing and in particular, of the ways that it can help nonprofits gain certain efficiencies. I will be presenting this blog post in two parts. This first part will primarily discuss ‘What is Cloud Computing’ and the second part will focus on ‘Security in the Cloud’.

One of the more popular aspects of cloud computing is known as ‘Software as Service’.

Software as a Service – What is it?
– Very functional business systems that run on your behalf on the internet
– Access your software over the internet
– Availability of support
– Guarantees of the system being up an running

What is cloud computing and why should a nonprofit consider it?

I am not a technical IT expert so I won’t even attempt in my own words to describe the breadth of cloud computing. However, there are many good resources out in the ‘cloud’ and I have included them below.


Some Benefits for Nonprofits

  • Saving money and ability to focus on mission
  • Anytime/anywhere access
  • Most nonprofits have limited IT resources
  • Better security and operations than you can otherwise afford
              – Possible because costs are spread across thousands of organizations
  • Helps improve transparency, efficiency and effectiveness
             – Gain real time organizational visibility
  • Free up IT expertise for strategic projects
  • Avoid mistakes and wasted time with disconnect systems
            – Integrate seamlessly the different technologies (increased efficiencies and effectiveness)


Look out for Part 2 of this blog post – coming out soon – that will discuss security concerns and recommended controls related to cloud computing.


2 Responses to “Cloud Computing – Part 1: What is it and why should NFPs care?”

  1. February 17, 2011 at 2:06 am

    I have a not-for-profit client and they recently changed from using an in-house database program to manage their membership to a SaaS application by Avectra and they absolutely love it! Not only is it easier to use but has amazing functionality. And as an added bonus they project to save around $12,000 per year – forever. If you know if any not-for-profit that is using a conventional PC based database you need to get them to explore the SaaS alternatives.

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