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By Mary Beth Westmoreland,
Blackbaud’s vice president of product development
In very basic terms,
the cloud is the Internet. The Goodwill Community
has a nice, simple overview of what the cloud is. There’s a very high
likelihood you do something in the cloud on a daily basis, whether you realize
it or not.
And, yes, we’ve been
talking about the cloud for a few years – and with good reason. Cloud provides
a secure, highly available, managed, cheaper and less cumbersome environment
for organizations. Nonprofits will continue to move to the cloud in 2014 as
they acknowledge that they are not in the IT infrastructure business. There
will be less need to maintain hardware, applications, and data in-house when
it’s far more cost effective, accessible and a higher quality of service via
The move to the cloud
becomes even more critical when we consider the pervasive nature of mobile
devices. The two environments were made for each other to share vast amounts of
data and information from any place, any time in a simple way.
Cloud computing is also creating powerful change by leveling
the playing field in terms of the technology services nonprofits have access to
today. In the past, cost kept many
nonprofits from being able to invest in the hardware and software they needed
to get their work done.
But, today, many IT services can be “run in the cloud” for
pennies on the dollar (think email, storage, power to process large chunks of
data, etc.). This means that nonprofits
can pay a smaller fee for a service that maintains their data in a secure
environment that they can access via the web, from wherever they want. This
frees nonprofits up from making a more significant investment of upfront money
on hardware and tech expertise.
that understand and fully and truly embrace cloud will be best positioned to
succeed for the foreseeable future.
Mary Beth Westmoreland is vice president of Product Development at
Blackbaud. She is responsible for Blackbaud’s global product engineering,
quality assurance engineering, user experience and user education teams.