Hopefully, by now, you’ve seen the term “cloud computing” and have a basic understanding of what it means for your nonprofit. There are many benefits that come with cloud computing, such as: no special hardware to purchase, no support staff needed, and an increase in accessibility to your systems, including your online nonprofit fundraising. The term “cloud computing” is easy to define, but what is the difference between using a private cloud or a public cloud?
The Private Cloud: Your Personal Network
A private cloud makes you feel like you are on your own special protected island away from everyone amidst the clouds. Essentially, private clouds are the same in that they have a protected network with a good firewall system to keep your software running smoothly and undisturbed by anyone else.
Private clouds have also been referred to, or known as, internal clouds. These private clouds are normally owned by a company and maintained by that same company for their own personal use. The cloud stays on the company’s intranet, or data center, and is then protected by a firewall to keep out any external users, in order to protect all your company’s data.
Some companies swear by the private cloud, because they like to maintain their own sensitive and confidential data. The private cloud allows them to feel secure in knowing that the likelihood of the data being accessed by unauthorized users is highly reduced. Even though this sounds great, there are also drawbacks to using a private cloud. The biggest drawback is the private cloud would need to be maintained by the owners for the sake of keeping the data private.
A great example of the private cloud versus the public cloud would be of a public park versus your own private yard. The public park is required to maintain and upkeep the grass, plants, flowers, and walkways for everyone in the community to enjoy, whereas you are responsible for your own yard, including mowing the grass, trimming the plants and flowers, and keeping sidewalks clear. Because you control the access on your private property, you are in charge of keeping it maintained. The same goes for the private cloud. If you host the cloud on your own data center or intranet, you are then responsible for the maintenance, upkeep, and security on the private cloud.
Over time, your nonprofit’s servers and online nonprofit fundraising systems need to be upgraded or replaced. The security of your systems needs to be updated periodically for your nonprofit’s best interest. These updates require technical support staff, whether they are in-house or independent contractors, and time spent on the monitoring and maintenance of your nonprofit’s accounting software and online nonprofit fundraising software.
The Public Cloud: “Sharing is Caring”
A public cloud is like the public park in our analogy from earlier. The public cloud shares the cost to third party vendors, just like the people in the community of the public park need to share the costs of the maintenance and upkeep of the park by paying in taxes or homeowners associations. Everyone pays a little so that everyone can enjoy the park in its entirety.
This is very similar to the public cloud, as they are data centers that are stored on the host’s servers. You are not responsible for the security, maintenance, or upkeep of the servers hosting your data. Because you are not in charge, you pay a fee, just like taxes, to rent space or software. This fee goes to pay the host for the electricity, servers, etc.
The cost of using the public cloud is significantly lower and the best part is that software upgrades come with the cost. These software upgrades are faster than if you were on your own private cloud purchasing site licenses and then running the license by yourself.
Security is the biggest concern for companies to wrap their heads around. Rest assured that your own data is kept completely separated from other companies that are sharing the same public cloud. Just because you do not have control over the security on the public cloud, does not mean they are not safe. They have actually proven themselves to be highly secure.
Online Nonprofit Fundraising that Runs on the Cloud
Most software that you use in your personal and professional life is running on the public cloud. Social media is the perfect example. Everything on social media is on cloud software. Google Docs and Gmail are extremely common cloud-based applications that are used on a daily basis for personal and business reasons. Cloud-based software is extremely common in this day and age.
Cloud software allows many small to mid-sized companies the opportunity to have access to and afford online nonprofit fundraising that were previously out of reach. By sharing space on the public cloud, it is giving businesses the opportunity to improve their productivity, increase fundraising, and build more profitable distribution models using data that is derived from the cloud.
If you are realizing you do need an online fundraising solution for your nonprofit, RBP Methods is here to help. We offer three powerful solutions: Accufund CRM, Abila Fundraising 50™, and Abila Fundraising Online™. We also offer many other packages that can make it much easier for you to manage your online nonprofit fundraising, accounting, finances, and communications. Contact us at 503-648-9051 to learn more.