Why Should Nonprofits Care About Cloud Computing?

By: BigTech
Thu, 22/09/2011 - 12:57

Clouds are no longer just about the weather; the term has taken over the Internet, as well. The Indian cloud computing market is expected to reach $16 billion by 2020. Are you a part of this growth story? Have you used cloud computing for your work processes? There's a good chance you've already used some form of cloud computing. If you have an e-mail account with a Web-based e-mail service like Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail, then you've had some experience with cloud computing!

What Are the Benefits of Working in the Cloud?

  • Little to no upfront costs, but watch out for recurring operating costs.
    From Wikipedia: "Cloud computing users can avoid capital expenditure (CapEx) on hardware, software, and services when they pay a provider only for what they use. Consumption is usually billed on a utility (for example, resources consumed, like electricity) or subscription (for example an annual subscription to a newspaper) basis with little or no upfront cost."
  • No IT staff required: Ok, this might be an oversimplification, but many applications available in the cloud require much less in-house IT support because the hosting provider takes care of installs, upgrades, backups and standard maintenance for you.
  • No servers need to be researched, purchased, maintained, or recycled.
  • Rapid deployment: Often, accounts can be set up in minutes. More complicated pieces of software (CRM, accounting packages, donor management software) still require more set up and probably training of your staff.
  • Convenience: Staff and volunteers can access your applications from almost any Internet connection with their login information. No more setting up VPNs or systems to allow remote access to your servers.

Green Benefits

  • Fewer servers are built and running, meaning fewer toxic materials and water need to be used, fewer toxic materials are dumped, and less energy is consumed in the running of the servers.
  • Client computers do not need to be as powerful since all the processing is performed on the hosted server(s). This means that you can keep your older computers longer and reduces demand for new computers, again saving on toxics and water.