Perspectives

Cloud adoption with Non Governmental Organisations NGOs and International Development Organisations: recommendations to succeed

Non Governmental Organisations NGOs and International Organisations – like many other organizations - face the challenge of supporting mobile and globally distributed workforce. This is particularly true since the eruption of the COVID-19 crisis, which changed the way NGOs and IDOs are working and collaborating, leading to an increase in adoption of Cloud services. COVID-19 has also shown how important globally available and scalable public cloud services are to enable digital collaboration with all stakeholders, while ensuring data security.

Based on our Cloud adoption work with NGOs and International Organisations in Switzerland, the move to the Cloud is inevitable over a longer period.
Although Cloud may seem a purely technical endeavour, it isn’t. It is a journey that needs to be planned holistically and over a longer term, without focusing only on a first application.

It is about defining a transparent Cloud strategy and framework within the organisation, involving the key stakeholders, and educating people, implementing measures that go beyond the technical sphere.

This will avoid frustration, failure, containing costs and managing risks at the same time.

Although Cloud may seem a purely technical endeavour, it isn’t. It is a journey that needs to be planned holistically and over a longer term
J,N, Hill, NGOs Sector Lead

Typical case is with the very sensitive information on challenging political and humanitarian situations across the globe that NGOs and IDOs need to handle. Here, it becomes crucial to protect data and information assets against third parties. This gets particularly challenging when the adoption of Public Cloud SAAS is planned, as here the protecting security architecture is fully defined and managed by the Software Vendor.

Another case is about protecting against possible influences by global political and economic forces. NGOs and IDOs need to thoroughly plan and safeguard their move to the Public Cloud against threat of influence coming from the Public Cloud vendor and the related government.

The US Cloud Act for example and similar laws in other jurisdictions provide the government under certain conditions legal access to data of cloud service provider clients. This is one example of a risk that IDOs and NGOs need to assess and protect against when adopting the Public Cloud.

Drawing on our experiences, we are happy to provide recommendations on how taking a successful Cloud journey, thus safeguarding NGOs and IDOs neutrality and keeping IT assets invulnerable from political and economic forces.

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