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Comprehensive Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Cloud Hosting for Nonprofits

15 Minute Read

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At a Glance: Cloud Hosting for Nonprofit Organizations

Cloud hosting is a game-changer for nonprofits, as they can subscribe to hosting infrastructure services without making huge investments. In fact, the cloud computing platform is one of the fastest-growing technologies in the world. Research indicates that 81% of companies have either adopted cloud infrastructure or are in the implementation process.

There are many cloud providers available to host your technology suite. The challenge is finding one that fits your nonprofit's budget, desired security compliance, geographical data residency, service performance, migration complexity, and more.

This guide to cloud hosting will:

  • Teach you the fundamental elements of cloud hosting.
  • Compare cloud hosting to on-premise data storage.
  • Help you assess if cloud hosting is the right fit for your enterprise resource planning (ERP) needs.
  • Inform you of the process of transitioning to the cloud.

What is Cloud Hosting?

Cloud hosting makes your applications, data, and services securely available via internet access. Instead of hosting your website or application in a single machine in-house, your digital resources are hosted on servers in data centers. Your data will be stored in the same country as your organization. Cloud hosting allows organizations to outsource their software hosting environment, website computing, and storage resources to a third-party provider. It combines virtual and physical cloud services to fulfill computing and data storage requirements.
Andar Software’s certified cloud engineers and partners manage, monitor, support, and secure cloud infrastructure. We relieve you from the day-to-day administration and costs of maintaining and securing your infrastructure.

Cloud Computing Categories

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
In an IaaS implementation, organizations rent server hardware and a limited amount of software to host applications.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS offers hardware and system software, along with middleware, security tools, business continuity, IT support, administration, and more. PaaS service provider's responsibility extends into managing the cloud environment and customers’ applications. 

Andar Hosting is a PaaS.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is the most comprehensive category of cloud computing in which the service provider gives software applications through the Internet as a service. The software application is not being installed and runs on local computers.

Benefits of Cloud Hosting

Moving to cloud hosting offers several benefits for a non-profit organization, including:
  • Dedicated Servers

    Did you know that running your technology stack on dedicated servers in the cloud helps maintain higher security levels and optimal performance? When data solely from your organization resides on dedicated servers, the chances of a security breach decrease, and your peace of mind over protecting sensitive data increases. Plus, dedicated hosting servers give you exclusive server access. Overall, this ensures top performance and protection from other customers’ activities impacting your servers’ CPU, RAM, and storage bandwidth.

    Hosting your technology within the confines of dedicated servers allows for greater scalability. Easily increase or decrease the amount of compute resources (e.g., RAM, CPU, storage) needed as you bring more technology onto the cloud. Under the PaaS model, your cloud hosting provider performs the adjustment of compute resources on your behalf.

    With Andar Cloud Hosting, your Andar/360 instance is placed on a dedicated server. Our Dedicated Server Difference means that your performance will not be affected by other customers, and you have increased data security with a dedicated team of cybersecurity experts for 24/7 monitoring and response.

    Nonprofit organizations that host their technology solutions and Andar/360 CRM with Andar Hosting receive not one but two dedicated servers. Your hosted data is duplicated and resides in Tier 3 data centers. You’ll have a primary data center and a disaster recovery data center.

  • Managed IT Services

    It's important to note that not all cloud hosting providers are equal. Big players like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, or Google Cloud may only offer hosting services without giving you the personalized attention that your valuable data deserves. You want your data to be handled with care and a white-glove touch.
    With Andar’s Cloud Hosting, we dedicate Technical Engineers to manage and resolve IT administration, maintenance, support, and security of your hosted resources… on top of providing you with servers that are remotely accessible via internet access. Not to mention, we also absorb their direct licensing & maintenance fees for:

    • Windows Server Operating Systems
    • Network Switches (Networking)
    • Physical Server & Storage Hardware
    • Firewalls
    • Backup & Recovery Solutions
    • Disaster Recovery to Achieve Business Continuity
    • Multi-Level Cybersecurity Protection

  • 24/7 Security

    As you know, your database and technology solutions store crucial information on payments, personally identifiable information, internal documentation, and more. Ongoing protection of this data is critical. Whether you have the budget or not to invest in cyber security, the threat of a data breach is omnipresent. Cloud hosting offers 24/7 security monitoring to safeguard your data and applications against cyber threats. 

    Andar Hosting’s data centers offer the highest level of physical and cybersecurity measures. A+ security rating for all hosted websites for premium donor security.
  • Easy Maintenance of Existing Technology

    Efficiently managing and monitoring your cloud infrastructure is crucial for optimal performance. You're not in the business of supplying IT infrastructure support. So why dedicate your teams' time and resources to managing the upkeep of your technology suite? Providers who offer redundant systems and backups ensure that your data and applications remain accessible, even during system outages. 

    Maintenance of existing technologies becomes easier when hosted in the cloud. The hosting provider's IT team can service cloud-hosted solutions quickly, minimize system downtime, and improve overall performance. It includes faster backups, streamlined upgrades, and more accessible hardware and software management.

    With Andar Hosting, all data is backed up multiple times each day. Change Data Protection (CDP) is enabled on highly sensitive data to ensure backups are performed within 5 minutes of changes. All backups are replicated to 2 offsite locations to ensure retention for 7 years.

    In the case of Andar Hosting, service pack updates are applied to your instance of Andar/360 or ENTERPRISE by our hosting team during a time that best serves your organization. For all other solutions hosted in the Andar Cloud, we include vulnerability management and patching at no extra cost.

Cloud Hosting vs. On-Premises

Deployment & Implementation

Cloud Hosting

In a hosted cloud environment, the cloud hosting provider maintains the systems on their servers. The servers are accessible for your organization over the web at any time. Implementation is relatively easier as the cloud service provider oversees the implementation processes.
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Deployment & Implementation


The implementation is carried out internally, utilizing your company's infrastructure. Deploying on-premise storage is often a lengthy process that involves planning an execution strategy and requires a team of dedicated IT professionals. 
On-premises software requires your company to be responsible for maintaining and properly securing the solution.
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Cloud Hosting

As your business expands and your requirements evolve, you can quickly increase your cloud resources. The cloud offers scalability and on-demand services. If your organization encounters a seasonal surge in activity, you can add cloud resources or user licenses to handle heavy traffic. Later, you can reduce them as the activity level subsides.
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Scaling with on-premises solutions usually involves purchasing and deploying new servers. This can be expensive and time-consuming.
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Work Flexibility

Cloud Hosting

ERP and CRM solutions can be easily accessed through the cloud from any location and device.
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Work Flexibility


It can be complicated to access on-premises systems outside the office or field. On-premises hosting is designed to be accessed within the vicinity or office space.
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Cloud Hosting

For cloud solutions, cloud hosting service providers charge on a pay-as-you-go or contractual basis. This significantly reduces costs. There are no maintenance or upkeep expenses since no hardware or physical infrastructure is required. Using a cloud provider is typically classified as an operational expense, meaning costs can be deducted in the same fiscal year. This can result in tax savings for your organization.
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Nonprofit organizations may face high costs when purchasing hardware and covering expenses for implementing on-premises solutions. Consider the cost of hardware depreciation and replacement after years of use, as well as the ongoing expenses of maintaining and troubleshooting a dedicated IT team.
Don't forget the cost of hosting equipment will be depreciated on your books over the coming years.
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Cloud Hosting

Nonprofit organizations frequently gather, keep, and analyze data related to vulnerable populations and sensitive financial data. If this information is stored on a third-party software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, the nonprofit may have limited or no control over how the data is managed and shared. However, PaaS nonprofit hosting providers ensure that your data and applications are monitored around the clock to protect them from cyber threats.
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By utilizing on-premise servers, nonprofit organizations are fully *responsible* for managing and securing their in-house technologies. It allows the company to maintain 100% visibility and control over its technology. However, it often creates additional expenses. Consider the reliance on hiring or outsourcing the technical and cybersecurity expertise to properly maintain and protect the on-premises infrastructure.
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Cloud Hosting

Your servers and redundancy are reliable to support your applications and workloads. In a redundant cloud configuration, if one of your servers fails, another server takes over seamlessly, and provisioning a new server to replace the faulty one is a straightforward process. Hosting data in the cloud is reliable because if one server fails, the rest will cover for it with the multiple server structure.
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Implementing a redundant system and software for an on-premises server can be costly. You need to have a duplicate server running at a different location. Or be prepared to act quickly to fix any issues that may arise with your existing server to keep your website or application running.
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How To Choose: Cloud Hosting or On-Premises?

When deciding between cloud and on-premises software solutions, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that works for every nonprofit organization. Your non-profit's unique technology needs will ultimately influence the choice of deployment strategy. Consider the key questions found below before finalizing your decision.
  • Do you have access to the latest functionality and compatibility updates regularly?
  • What degree of control do you require over storing your data?
  • Does your organization have the necessary resources to provide software support for an on-premise solution?
  • Do you have the tools to ensure top-level security and disaster recovery?
  • Do you have the budget for an on-premise backup of data?
  • Can your non-profit afford the upfront investment required for an on-premise solution?
  • How much customization do you need in your software applications?

How to Purchase Cloud Hosting With Confidence

Complete a Technical Assessment

As you narrow your cloud hosting provider options, you’ll likely have to embark on a technical assessment. Traditionally, a technical assessment will look to evaluate and analyze the current tech infrastructure and systems used by your organization. The purpose of a technical assessment is to quote the cost of migration and will inform the timeline of delivery. The technical assessment may require questions that need to be answered by your organization’s IT department or specialist.

Andar Software’s technical assessment is intended to share as much information about your organization's current database, applications, concurrent online giving campaigns, number of servers (virtual or physical), and more with our cloud hosting engineers.

Analyze Your Cloud Hosting Provider Options

Nonprofit organizations can significantly benefit from partnering with a provider with a proven track record of successful cloud migrations. You should require that your provider carry out your transition to the cloud in a smooth and efficient manner. The last thing you want is downtime or disruptions to your operations!

Also, different providers offer varying features and pricing plans. So, thorough research is essential to identify a provider that offers the required services and storage for your budget.

Andar's Cloud Hosting Services offers budget-friendly and reliable cloud hosting services. Run your Andar/360 CRM and other third-party software applications, such as accounting and finance tools within a secure cloud environment.

Migration From On-Premises to the Cloud

The process of cloud migration refers to the transfer of applications, data, and other digital resources from a local, on-premises data center to the cloud. As you switch to the cloud, here are a few considerations to be kept in mind to ensure a smooth and successful migration.
  • Assess Your Vulnerabilities

    API vulnerabilities can pose a significant risk to cloud data security as they are used to connect cloud applications, data, and infrastructure. The common issues that cause data breaches are weak authentication and authorization controls, insufficient sandbox protection, and too many privileges.

    When migrating data to the cloud, it is crucial for organizations to thoroughly assess these vulnerabilities and implement robust security measures to mitigate these risks.

    Additionally, meeting security compliance requirements can be particularly challenging, especially if the cloud provider does not meet these requirements. Organizations should carefully evaluate the regulatory landscape and ensure that their cloud provider can meet their specific compliance needs.

    Check your service provider's security and compliance certifications to ensure that the provider has a robust data strategy in place to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility of your data.

    Andar Hosting is a leading provider of cloud hosting for nonprofit organizations, delivering top-tier physical and information technology security measures. Andar’s security exceeds industry standards for all hosted websites for premium donor security. The hosting platform has earned several security certifications, including CSAE 3416 Type II, CSAE 5025, ISAE 3402, ISAE 3000 CLBA, and PCI DSS PCI Compliance.

    Host your organization’s data in your country of choice - the United States or Canada.

  • Ensure Adequate Training & Support

    Make sure you have enough training and ongoing support for your staff during and after the migration process. It will ensure that your team is empowered to transition to the cloud successfully and is equipped to work effectively in the new environment.
    Andar Hosting offers training for accessing hosted applications, support for troubleshooting, and continuous individual onboarding and set-up. Receive administrative and end-user onboarding training for remote desktop connection and more to help you manage your hosted systems and use our services efficiently and effectively. Additionally, receive 24/7/365 emergency support.
  • Backup Your Data

    Creating a backup of your data and applications before moving to the cloud is a critical step that helps mitigate the risk of data loss or corruption during the migration process. By taking this precaution, you can ensure that your data is protected and quickly recovered in the event of an unexpected outage or disaster.
    Andar Hosting handles data monitoring, backup, and disaster recovery for your nonprofit. Also, if a disaster occurs in one data center, your data remains available in the secondary data center. This ensures your data is never lost.

Embracing Cloud Hosting: A Cost-Effective Solution for Nonprofits

As a nonprofit organization, you have important and valuable data to manage. The cloud provides a secure and cost-effective solution to help safeguard your data and optimize your operations. Andar Software offers a competitively priced solution for outsourcing all your Information Technology resources to our cloud. Instead of purchasing in-house equipment, leave the hardware to us, and avoid the risk of unexpected expenses.
If you're interested in exploring cloud options for your organization, consider conducting a feasibility study to determine the benefits and costs. With careful planning and execution, your organization can successfully transition to the cloud and benefit greatly from cost savings, scalability, flexibility, increased data security, and improved data management.

Written & Edited by:

Hanna Middleton | Marketing Manager | Andar Software
Kendall Longley | Director of IT Infrastructure & Hosting | Andar Software

Andar Hosting

Cloud Hosting at it's Finest