September 15, 2015

Technology Planning for NonProfit C-Suites

Technology Planning for Non-Profit C-Suites

Do you want to make an impact on the world?

That may seem a little extreme, but many nonprofit organizations are able to reach a global scale online with their messaging. This can be done through social media and other channels, but primarily the message is spread through your website.

A website is your first interaction with a potential new member, donor, partner or general website visitors. That is why developing a website plan as part of your overall technology plans are key components that ensure your nonprofit organization, including your iMIS, continues to operate successfully as your organization continues to grow. Many nonprofit executives fail to plan appropriately for their IT infrastructure which limits the organization’s agility and scalability. Technology allows your nonprofit to become more efficient, and it helps your organization really focus on your competitive advantages so that you can do more with less.

One of the biggest objectives you must consider when you are planning your IT strategy is your hosting provider. Since nonprofits rely on donations from memberships, it’s important to consider compliance, capacity, security, and scalability.

Next time you’re in a meeting about technology planning around your website, be sure you bring these topics to the table:

Consider the Number of Visitors to Your Site

The amount of traffic visiting your site on a daily basis is a significant consideration when you are assessing hosting options. All variations in traffic must be considered, both your current and future needs. Does your organization host a regional or national trade show? Is there an influx of website visitors during certain parts of the year, or when important and notable legislation drives more people to educate themselves through your website?

Carefully planning these events is critical for ensuring that your nonprofit website is able to handle the influx of website visitors. Without considering growth within your IT strategy, you may find yourself in the middle of a major event your nonprofit is publicizing, only to find out that your website has gone down and no one can access information.

A managed hosting provider handles the backend of your web environment securing, monitoring, patching and backing up your website 24/7/365 as an extension of your IT department. This is a great solution for nonprofits to work hand in hand with IT experts at your beck and call.

PCI Compliance

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) exists to ensure that businesses processing, storing or transmitting information associated with credit cards are secure. With recent data breaches, it is more important than ever to thoroughly assess your current security measures in conjunction with your IT strategy.

How often are people donating money to your nonprofit on your website? Are you storing their credit card information? Does your nonprofit collect a membership fee that is paid online? If you answered yes to any of these, then it may be time to assess whether your nonprofit would benefit from being PCI Compliant.

Many hosting companies provide a suite of services that help protect your members when they make donations online. From cloud security to PCI compliant servers, hosting companies help you minimize your risks.

Protect Members Personal Information

A couple years ago, if anyone heard about website security breaches it primarily focused around financial institutions only. Nowadays, cyber security threats run rampant regardless of what industry you’re in and what size your organization is. That’s because credit card data isn’t the only valuable piece of information anymore. Cyber hackers are interested in data as a whole on individuals, that could be emails, addresses, research data, member information, trade secrets and more.

It’s imperative that your nonprofit includes website data security to your members, donors and general website visitors to ensure your nonprofit is protected digitally and your reputation is not at risk. You can have these conversations internally and with your IT contact within your nonprofit. If they are unable to perform all the tasks associated with securing your nonprofit’s web presence, then it may be time to partner with a managed hosting provider which will work as extension of your IT department.

Managing IT with Limited Resources

When most organizations are considering resources for their web presence, the focus is usually set around having a graphic designer or a marketing agency that can quickly edit and update your website. But did you know that your website hosting provider is just as important, if not more to any organization.

Designers, developers and marketing agencies are focused on making the website look the best it can be. But the backend environment is protected, monitored, secured, patched, backed-up and supported by an entirely different job position. Many nonprofit organizations have limited IT resources at their disposal. Fortunately, with managed hosting services, your organization can do more with less. Hosting providers have system administrators that constantly monitor your system to eliminate threats. By employing their services, you don’t have to worry about stretching your budget to hire additional technical expertise.

Non-profit organizations are not immune to data breaches. To protect your members’ information, you must develop a strategic technology plan. Most hosting companies provide managed hosting services that allow you to maximize your resources. Visit Edge Hosting today to see how our managed hosting services would be able to assist your non-profit.

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