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cloudIt seems like everyone is talking about “The Cloud” these days, but if you don’t really know what that means, you shouldn’t feel too bad. Even IT professionals find they have a hard time really nailing just what it is. The good news is that you don’t have to fully understand it in order to use it for your nonprofit’s benefit.

Quick Overview

A simple description of The Cloud is that it provides far more robust computing options than the typical business or nonprofit organization is capable of purchasing or maintaining on its own. Basically, these smaller organizations are able to utilize the processing power of larger businesses that have the appropriate infrastructure. For a fee, you are able to use their heavy-duty servers and computers to do far more than your office desktops can.

The Cloud can be used for all kinds of purposes, with any number of services being offered. For example, individuals may not want to use up their hard drive space storing photo or music files. Instead, they pay for a company to store the files for them. Businesses may want to offer services that they can’t realistically support on their own, and they are able to do so by running programs or applications that access data that is stored remotely.

Cloud-Based Backup Services

Despite the importance of performing regular computer backups, many nonprofit organizations overlook the task. In many cases, it just seems too cumbersome or expensive. The Cloud offers a realistic alternative for nonprofits. Several companies provide exactly this service, with some of the popular choices right now being Carbonite, Mozy, and iBackup. Their approaches may vary a bit, but they typically have you specify what information should be backed up and how often. Via an application or other software, the backups will then be done automatically.

There is a fee for this service, but it can be substantially less expensive than doing backups in-house. Additionally, it’s worthwhile to spend a little time looking at the fine print on the company’s web site, as many of them provide special pricing for nonprofit organizations.

Last modified on Sunday, 19 May 2013
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