How can nonprofit Organizations Afford Technology and proper cyber-security protection?
Times have changed and technology has evolved. Cloud, backup and Disaster recovery and cyber security has become mainstream and very affordable. Any organization should deploy a services to protect the organization in keeping a healthy IT environment. Once these solutions are implemented, these tools will proactively monitor your environment and address issues before they start effecting your productivity. Your focus is running your business and not dealing with IT issues.
Nonprofit organizations always think that technology is expensive, only large businesses could afford it and it is beyond their reach. Nonprofits need to be empowered to use technology to better serve its community. The tools and programs that are available today, can provide for this to happen.
Here are few of the common projects that non profits should look into, mostly free or at a low-cost, to improve productivity and achieve a better environment:
First Class email service
Microsoft and Google provide a low-cost and even free emails for all non profits. It is time to use a valid email with your organization's domain name. no more @yahoo or @gmail emails. By providing your 501(c3) info, you can enjoy these benefits. you will know that your are serviced and protected like all the other companies.
Cloud and Remote Access
Everything is in the cloud these days. Emails are in the cloud and they can be accessed from anywhere for free. File/document space is free and can be accessed from anywhere. Your nonprofit team can collaborate and share documents that are available from anywhere. For nonprofits, Google and Microsoft provides, free of charge, cloud space for every existing email account.
In today's world and the need to be able to work remotely, non profits have the capability of empowering their employees to access data and work remotely from anywhere. Data can be accessible from the cloud, can login into Your PC at work or can run an application through a Virtual Private Network(VPN).
Managed IT and Help-desk Support
Keeping your non profit humming requires proactive monitoring of the health of your network, servers and desktops. Applying the right anti-virus software or applying recent security patches are crucial for a clean operation. Additionally, you need local and a very capable IT team to help you support the day-to-day issues you face.
Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR)
A major must have. With ransomware and crypto viruses and malware, companies including nonprofits, think they are safe from disasters hitting their environments. companies close down because they couldn't recover from a data loss. Backups are there as an insurance policy to be used when it is really needed. Ransomware attack can lock every single file until you pay the ransom. Users accidentally delete important documents and the only way to get them is to retrieve them from a backup copy. BDRs are these days smart and can be configured to backup documents every 30 minutes.
Network Security and Protection
A protected network is the best a company can ask for. Users are sometimes careless and their actions can lead in inviting viruses via email or browsing on the internet. Initiating a request that seemed legit, can end up inviting a malicious download of a virus. Software, like openDNS from Cisco, can protect your network by catching the intent of the request you initiated. Again, a very low cost solution that protects your organization and your team.
Hardware and Software purchases
Hardware and software are VERY expensive. Non profits have an advantage in purchasing software (and some hardware) at very low cost. Software from Microsoft, Intuit and others are available at "Tech Soup". Tech Soup is an organization that provides low-cost software and hardware for all non profits. In most cases you pay an admin fee for the purchase.
Software/hardware can finally be reachable and affordable for nonprofits. Similarly, Hardware such as major switches, desktops and others can be purchased at a much lower cost.
Good and reliable communications is very important. You phone system has to be capable to handle your needs plus more. Consider a VOIP phone system where you can have unlimited calls to the US as well as add extensions more easily.
With technology changing every day, it is imperative that non profits move at the same pace as others. Given the limited grants and resources available, non profits have to make sure they achieve their goals and spend the money to best help the people they serve.
Nonprofits need to be empowered to use technology to better serve its community. Computer consulting firms that focus on supporting nonprofits can utilize their managed services expertise and in cyber-security in order to extend their services in a cost effective way to nonprofits. Ransomware attacks are so prevalent that all layers of protection is absolutely crucial with a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution being the last line of defense and unfortunately nonprofits that have access to affluent and sometimes very important donors are at great risk. We all have a responsibility to protect nonprofit organizations.