7 Myths About Cloud Fundraising
Nowadays, it seems as though cloud computing is taking over the world, and it's become an attractive option for fundraising departments as well. However, there are some myths and trepidation out there when it comes to cloud computing.
In a recent Fast15 I recorded, "Get Your Head in the Cloud," I discussed cloud computing, cloud fundraising options, as well as myths and benefits of utilizing the cloud.
Here are seven myths about cloud fundraising courtesy of Robin Fisk, global fundraising product manager at Advanced Solutions International, that are laid out in the Fast15.
Myth 1: Cloud applications are better
It really depends on what you mean by "better," Fisk says. Cloud computing makes it easier to use and share data and has fewer configuration options and fewer opportunities to go wrong. So in that sense, cloud fundraising is "better."
However, cloud applications may not have the same advanced features and functionality as internal donor management systems. But HTML5 is changing that, and the cloud makes it easier to integrate offline data online to the cloud.
Myth 2: Data is not secure in the cloud
Nothing is fool-proof against hacking, Fisk says, but cloud security is most likely more secure than anything on your PC or server, unless you work in a very high-security facility. According to Fisk, the firewalls and security measures employed by data centers are beyond the means of even the largest charities, so the security risks are no greater than housing data on your own servers, and oftentimes the risk is much less.
Myth 3: The cloud is green
According to a 2010 study by Jonathan Koomey, a consulting professor at Stanford University, data centers accounted for about 1.3 percent of all global electricity use and about 2 percent of all electricity use in the U.S. So the cloud isn't necessarily green, but one big virtual server is more efficient than the equivalent number of physical servers, Fisk says.
Myth 4: The cloud costs more in the long run
This really depends on how you utilize the cloud vs. how you currently or used to manage your data. The greatest benefit of the cloud, according to Fisk, is that it allows you to focus your resources and energies on your mission, not on IT. Factoring in the costs of buying and maintaining servers, upgrades, power consumption, etc., the cloud can cost much less over time if utilized efficiently, Fisk says.
Myth 5: It's on the Internet, so it will be slow
Internet connections are faster and more reliable while the servers in the data centers are more powerful and able to crunch the numbers more quickly, Fisk says. You can also "borrow" power on demand in the cloud. As long as it's a true cloud application, performance should not be a problem.
Myth 6: Beware the cloud wash
Not all "cloud" solutions are truly cloud solutions — they just move data to a different server. Cloud usually involves virtualized servers, transparent infrastructure, multi-tenanted applications and contractually managed solutions, Fisk says.
Myth 7: It's just a passing fad
We all know how rapidly technology evolves, so perhaps cloud computing won't be around forever, Fisk says. But cloud computing is the next step in database management, and it has become a staple because it's generally a better investment than the old practice of managing your database on internal servers.
The tide is turning toward cloud-based solutions, and it can make a difference for fundraisers. True cloud solutions can provide technology, economic and business benefits over the traditional on-premise solutions, says Fisk. Here are four major benefits for fundraisers, according to Fisk.
To learn more about clouding fundraising, listen to this free Fast15 here.