What do we mean by online cloud storage?
It is important that as service users, we understand what happens to our data when it is uploaded to the ‘cloud’. Cloud storage really means the usage of any company or organisation’s servers via the Internet. Companies such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and BT all offer data storage facilities either for free or for a small fee. Cloud storage can be used by individuals, organisations and anyone else with Internet access for that matter. What is important about cloud storage for charities, however, is that it must strike the balance between being cheap and yet also highly secure. So how do you strike that balance as a charity?
How do I know that my data is secure?
The main consideration for any charity is knowing where the data is being stored and how to access it at any given moment. Cloud storage for charitable organisations and any companies for that matter absolutely must be secure and rely heavily on the Internet. Do you have a reliable Internet connection? Can you access it from anywhere? How much access do you want to give your trustees and employees? Do you understand the GDPR regulations and know how to comply with them?
What are the other possible options?
As an organisation, it is important that you really think about how you want your data to be stored? What happens when your database gets bigger or you want a more sophisticated website or communication channel with your customers? You can choose one of the cheap and freely available tools but bear these considerations in mind. You can also choose to use a company who will provide their own hosting solutions for you; these third party companies will have to abide by security rules, must offer disaster recovery and backup options and must abide by GDPR data protection regulations. As you are a charity, many companies will be willing to offer these services at a reduced rate, and you would be paying for them to store your data in one place with technical expertise at hand. This also reduces the chances of your data being accessed insecurely by one of your trustees or employees.
What would you recommend?
Really, this all depends on the size of your charitable organisation and your levels of in-house expertise. If your data is not too sophisticated, then any of the offerings by Google, Microsoft, Amazon and so on are sufficient. The only downside to these is that you won’t have ready access to technical help and assistance if you run into problems. If you are looking to radically increase your market and interest in your charity, then you may wish to consider the use of a specialist cloud data storage company for peace of mind.