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The cloud provides an alternative way for charities to manage IT services and many organisations are already aware of its benefits, including increased flexibility and reduced cost.

Cloud services give you all the benefits of using a server-based IT solution to run your business, but without the overhead of purchasing and maintaining your own equipment in-house.

However, in the “Top Risks Survey” conducted by the 2018 Institute of Risk Management’s Charities SIG, cyber risk when using the cloud shot up from outside the top 10 risks in 2017 to the number one risk for 2018. Additionally, with the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), cyber risk and cloud computing have become a key focus for charities.

Data protection is a very serious issue, so it’s important to consider the pros and cons of the cloud and to find a technology supplier who can advise whether cloud services are the right solution for your nonprofit. It’s important to understand the benefits and the risks and if and how cloud computing will co-exist with other IT services in your organisation.

There are also other choices you need to think through with expert advice; for example, a private cloud service is used by a single organisation, while a community cloud service can provide better value for a specific community of organisations which have shared concerns and compliance requirements.

Here are some of the benefits of switching to the cloud:

Cloud Pros

1. Security

 It is a myth that cloud computing is inherently less secure than traditional approaches. The fear is due largely to the fact that the approach itself feels insecure, with your data stored on servers and systems you don't own or control. However, control does not mean security. This is the case for both cloud-based systems and traditional enterprise computing. Moreover, those who build cloud-based platforms for enterprises spend enormous sums on security and governance, far more than any organisation could on their own.

2. Reduced cost

Because you won’t need to invest in expensive server hardware and software or hire costly IT technical staff to maintain them, start-ups and companies in need of an IT upgrade can save a great deal of money. No major initial investment is required to take advantage of the same enterprise-level technologies used by even the largest corporations. All you need is a computer and an Internet connection to begin taking advantage of the cloud.

3. Reclaim your office

Free up office-space, cut down on power bills and eliminate the disruptive noise generated by housing your entire IT infrastructure in your own office.

4. Flexibility

You can tailor your subscription to exactly what you need and pay as you go. As your staffing needs change over time you can add or remove users and services and only pay for what you are currently using.

5. Improved reliability, availability and speed

The higher grade equipment at the data center means you will have improved reliability, availability and speed.

6. Work seamlessly from different locations and devices

You can work from the office, home or on the move with your PC, laptop, or tablet. You can leave programmes running, disconnect and then when you reconnect, everything will be exactly where you left off, even if you connect from a different device.

7. Reporting templates for charities

With cloud software you can benefit from customizable prefilled reports to help you better categorise sections of your accounts. For charities, customised templates for the SORP allow you to edit or add codes, making it specific to your charity’s objectives and requirements.

In summary:

Think about your needs as an organisation

Take expert advice on whether the cloud is right for you and what sort of cloud service/provider will be best before you make a decision

Gallery Partnership has provided software and professional IT support services to charities and non profits for over 20 years. It offers tailored solutions including case management software, cloud-based services and information management, grant management software, and network and IT support services. Gallery’s knowledgeable and friendly staff are dedicated to delivering innovative and effective IT solutions to suit the needs of clients, on time and in budget.

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