3 Best Practices For Your Nonprofit
Despite operating in many of the same ways as conventional businesses, nonprofits face a number of challenges unique to their line of work. When your goal isn’t to achieve the best possible profit margin, it can be difficult to get the funding you need to support your efforts, compensate staff, and maintain the services your business relies on.
This is especially true when it comes to IT.
Nonprofits usually have higher priorities than maintaining their IT, and so, they cut corners. Outdated hardware continues to get used. Security vulnerabilities remain unpatched. User experience suffers.
The Problem With Nonprofit IT
Nonprofits, like all businesses, run best when they have people heading each department that are experts in their fields.
That’s not easy to come by when you are dependent on volunteer labor and have a small budget. More than that, you have a lot of places you need your money – and personnel – to go.
Unfortunately, technology and IT employees are sometimes the last things to be considered in the budget.
That means that non-profits like yours often run into the same challenges:
- Finance: Every dollar you spend on IT is a dollar you can’t devote towards your purpose as a nonprofit. That means every dollar (no matter how few) has to count.
- People: It can be difficult to hire expert team members when other industries offer larger salaries, better hours, and more benefits.
- Mobile: Staying mobile means investing in new technology, and refreshing it every few years – that takes time (and, again, money).
The reality is that nonprofits need technology to function optimally. Unfortunately, you are often stuck limping along with outdated systems that just don’t meet your needs. When they go down altogether, it can be incredibly frustrating as it is one more thing added to your to-do list that you just don’t have the time or the expertise to handle.
That’s why you need to focus whatever resources you have on only the most important IT priorities…
3 Best Practices For Nonprofit IT
If nothing else, your IT resources should be devoted to the following:
1. Protect Your Nonprofit
Security is one of the most important aspects of technology. While technology evolves and data expands, the number of ways your IT network can be compromised increases.But to make sure your offsite server is secure, it must be continuously monitored and assessed. You need to make sure you have the right security services, expert advice on the credentials of vendors, and regular risk assessments conducted to identify network vulnerabilities.
Perhaps more than any other IT service that you could have managed, security is likely the most valuable. Unlike printers or communications, security requires ongoing monitoring and maintenance, all of which can best be delivered as a managed function.
Managed Security Services are network security services that get outsourced to a service provider. The “defense-in-depth” functions include 24/7 monitoring and management of firewalls and intrusion detection systems. Your IT company should also respond to emergencies, performs security assessments and security audits, oversees patch management and upgrades.
2. Align Tech With Your Needs & Goals
Many nonprofits find it difficult to keep up with the latest advances in technology. However, letting your technology age and lose support will quickly cause problems.
As your business grows, your IT needs to grow as well. Keep in mind that new service offerings often come with significant upgrades or new software. Your IT company can provide the flexibility you need to change your products/services or add new ones when required.
The good news is that, with the help of an IT company these solutions are less expensive than you if you purchased them yourself. Most IT companies have partnerships with vendors and can provide new technologies at a reduced cost, and help you scale as needed.
3. Cloud Infrastructure
Moving to the cloud is as necessary as it is challenging. Like many other nonprofits, you may still be relying on extremely outdated technology. This could be as a way to save money, or it could be simply out of a desire to stick with what you know. However, the reality is that upgrading doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive or difficult.
With today’s newer, cloud-based and more flexible IT infrastructure solutions, your nonprofit can have the technology you need at a fraction of the cost of purchasing it.
With an IT company’s assistance, your team can harness the strategic advantages offered by the cloud — efficiency, agility, and scalability — without taking on any risks that come with a poorly planned and executed migration.
As you may have realized, knowing about best practices and implementing them are two very different things. If you need help, make sure to enlist support from an IT company like SureTec.
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