How can non-for-profit organisations innovate while cutting costs?

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If you want to drive your charity or non-profit organisation forward, then it is important to ensure that you are exploring the digital tools available to achieve your objectives. If you aim to provide the best care possible from wherever you are in the community or if you want to bring more people to services that can have a positive effect on their lives, technology can help you drive a bigger impact.

Charities differ from other businesses and corporations in many ways as their core purpose is helping a specific cause. However, when it comes to back-end operations like IT, charities must function like any other business and provide teams with the tools they need drive donations and raise awareness. Often charities need to be even more savvy with both finances and time compared to a typical “for-profit” business. Any hint of overspending on administration can lead to harsh, if often unwarranted, criticisms. So, is cloud the answer for charities? and if so, in what ways can it best be used?

 Manage and Reduce Costs with the OpEx model

Controlling costs is important for charities. But what’s important is also how the total cost is distributed. The cash flow at charities often makes it difficult for IT directors to get sign-off for big-ticket IT investments. However, Cloud OpEx models and monthly subscription-style billing means infrastructure becomes more easily accessible without huge, upfront investments that might detract from the charitable work that still needs to happen. Charities, as well as businesses, are finding OpEx models make it easier to manage IT costs and build them into their regular cash flow. However, this only works in practice when you have predictable cloud billing to plan around.

Stay focused on the cause

Every sector is increasingly looking for ways to spend less time managing their backend resources and more time focusing on their core business. Charities are no exception. Removing tasks around areas such as licensing, security and patching means more time is available for running campaigns, raising funds and raising awareness.

Scale on demand

Many non-for-profit organisations operate on campaign cycles for activities such as fundraising. This can be difficult to manage from an IT perspective, especially on owned hardware, but this isn’t the case with the cloud. Public cloud allows for quickly scalable infrastructures that can meet these spikes in demand. Website traffic, in-store payments and overall donations online can generate both significant peaks and troughs, and the IT team needs to be flexible enough to deal with both. The scalability of the cloud, combined with a pay-as-you-go model on an ad-hoc basis means that charities do not have to invest in hundreds of physical servers that are underutilised most of the year, thereby alleviating unnecessary costs.

Step up your security

Alert Logic’s Cloud Security report highlights that there is absolutely no indication that Public Cloud is any less secure, in fact, there is an increasing body of evidence to the contrary. They have observed that across the industry, security incident rates in public cloud environments are lower than they are on-premises (!!!). The variations in threat activity are not as important as the infrastructure location. Anything that can be possibly accessed from outside, whether enterprise or cloud, has equal chances of being attacked, because attacks are opportunistic in nature. Systems built without the same rigor around security won’t be as secure, whether they are cloud or on premises. If anything, using on-premises systems could put you more at risk now than you will be when you move to cloud. These benefits may be all well and good, but in this hybrid and multi-cloud world, charities often don’t have the skills in-house to manage their infrastructures, nor is it cost-effective to employ specialists to manage just one specific part or application within your collective environment. But help is at hand.

As the UK’s #1 Cloud Service Provider, ANS is experienced in helping organisations migrate and build their next generation of digital business applications in Azure and AWS. Our Managed Cloud service allows you to get the most out of your Public Cloud investment. We provide UK advisory services around the clock, access to technical expertise, management and reporting to increase operational value, while our financial insights can save you money over the life of your service.

In the meantime, why not check out our latest Public Cloud Lightboard Series, hosted by ANS’ CTO, Andy Barrow to find out why Public Cloud is becoming ever more popular and how ANS is helping organisations to design and manage a cost-effective solution to access a wealth of new services.