Data storage in the cloud is commonplace for more organizations

July 3, 2013

Data storage in the cloud is commonplace for more organizations

Protecting confidential data has never been more important for nonprofits that have the ability to store donor and employee information in the cloud. Data protection has long been a reason organizations have been fearful of migrating to a virtual infrastructure, but recent research from information systems and communications security provider Thales found more entities are storing information in the cloud.

In fact, more than half of respondents currently migrate sensitive or confidential data to the cloud, an increase of 10 percent when compared to a similar study last year. Furthermore, 35 percent of organizations claim the use of the cloud has decreased their security infrastructure. With all types of private information stored in their cloud environment, nonprofits should ensure that they have the necessary protections to ensure cybercriminals and hackers cannot access their cloud.

"Staying in control of sensitive or confidential data is paramount for most organizations today and yet our survey shows they are transferring ever more of their most valuable data assets to the cloud," said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute.

Nonprofits can benefit from encryption
In many instances, it is imperative that only authorized users are able to decipher the information held in a cloud environment. According to TechTarget, this is exactly why nonprofits should utilize encryption to protect their confidential information. During the encryption process, data is turned into ciphertext, which is nearly impossible to figure out without decryption. By having this security protection in place, nonprofits can be much more confident in their cybersecurity defense. 

"Encryption is the most widely proven and accepted method to secure sensitive data both within the enterprise and the cloud, but it's no silver bullet," said Richard Moulds, vice president strategy for Thales e-Security. "Decisions still need to be taken over where encryption is performed and critically, who controls the keys."

Encrypt data data transferring to the cloud
The research revealed organizations don't wait until data is entered in the cloud to encrypt the information, making it even more difficult for cybercriminals to decipher. Encryption before cloud placement is a strategy that organizations used 33 percent more than waiting until information is stored in the virtual infrastructure. With data security as a priority, sensitive information has a better chance of being safe in the cloud.


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CCSCT was approached by First NonProfit to discuss its Unemployment Savings Program and ways the program could significantly reduce the amount of unemployment taxes we were paying. At the time, our agency was paying approximately $80,000 per year. First NonProfit conducted an analysis to determine if making the switch would be in our best interest, and it clearly was based on our circumstances. The first year on the program, CCSCT saw a 70% reduction in its unemployment costs and each year, continues to experience further reductions as a result of having minimal claims. Some additional benefits of the program including having a fixed annual cost, an interest-baring reserve account, professional unemployment claims management and representation at all unemployment hearings. This has been one of the best decisions we have made.

Community Council of South Central Texas, Inc., Seguin, TX

We first started using First Nonprofit’s Unemployment Savings Program when we were a small startup nonprofit.  We didn’t have an HR department and needed expertise in the event that an unemployment claim was made.  We knew we were eligible to be a reimbursing employer, but weren’t sure how to navigate that process.  They made it easy to set things up, plan for, and then manage claims when they came at a very reasonable cost. The amount of time and stress they’ve saved us dealing with all this has been worth way more than the cost.  We’ve now grown to a large nonprofit and do have an HR department but have no plans to stop using their services.  I highly recommend them to every nonprofit I come into contact with!


Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.

Prevent Blindness America, Chicago, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Chicago, IL

It has been our sincere pleasure to maintain a strong, vibrant business partnership with First Nonprofit. We greatly admire their strong industry knowledge, technical expertise, constant professionalism, knowledgeable and dedicated staff. They are always extremely responsive, personable and provide us with the necessary guidance and recommendations on a numerous variety of employment scenarios.

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New York Council of Nonprofits, Albany, NY

Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.

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Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ