NGOs are Adopting Cloud Computing but Knowledge is BarrierTechSoup in partnership with TechSoup Global Network conducted its 2012 Global Cloud Computing Survey among 10,500 nonprofits, charities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from 88 countries on the use of technology hosted in the cloud at nonprofit organizations.

The objective of the survey was to determine the current state of the technological equipment of these organizations and their future plans in the adoption of cloud technologies.

TechSoup Global’s report reveals that a majority of NGOs are keen to move their IT to the cloud. However, they need more skills and education and support to take full advantage of cloud in terms of costs, productivity and collaboration.

The report found that almost 90 percent of NGOs were using cloud computing in some way and more than half of the respondents said they plan to move their IT to cloud within three years.

Key takeaways of the 2012 Global Cloud Computing Survey include:

  • 90 percent of respondents worldwide are using cloud technology.
  • 60 percent say lack of knowledge is the biggest barrier.
  • 79 percent say the biggest advantage is the easier management of software / hardware.
  • 47 percent said that the changes related to cost and ease of installation would be the greatest motivators to move their IT to the cloud.
  • 53 percent reported plans to move a “significant portion” of their IT to the cloud within the next three years.
  • NGOs use an average of three to four types of cloud-based applications. However, 35 percent of organizations reported using only one or two types of these applications.
  • The cloud-based services most frequently cited were email (55 percent), social networking /Web 2.0 (47 percent), file storage/distribution (26 percent), web conferencing (24 percent), and productivity office (23 percent).
  • Cloud-based specific applications mostly used were Facebook (70 percent), Gmail (63 percent) and Skype (50 percent).
  • While only 24 percent of respondents said they are using web-based teleconferencing, 55 percent of respondents said they were using WebEx, Citrix GoToMeeting, ReadyTalk or Skype. This discrepancy seems to be further evidence of the lack of knowledge about cloud computing.
  • Nine percent of respondents indicated cloud users were using only a basic application or “light” in the cloud, such as social networks, SMS/text messages, or office productivity. The remaining 91 percent of respondents using cloud-based applications or more complex cloud-based tool at least once such as WordPress, Quickbooks Online or Salesforce.
  • NGOs in Egypt, Mexico, India, and South Africa are more favorable for moving their IT to the cloud.

“At the enterprise level, after organizations use more than three cloud-based tools, that becomes the tipping point at which they decide to move a significant portion of their IT onto the cloud.” says Marnie Webb, Co-CEO of TechSoup Global. “Once they start using cloud computing tools the benefits start to increase their motivation, because they have more experience with it.”

Security, of course, is still a prevalent general issue with 45% of respondents noting data security and data loss concerns as a worry. Interestingly, lack of trust in the cloud was cited by 44% of those respondents.

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