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Why the Cloud Helps Your Nonprofit Data Security

By Tom Leddy December 4, 2019

When planned electricity shutoffs affected Northern California due to high winds and fire rise this fall, it felt like the world stopped for many Californians. As a society today, we rely so greatly on technology and the infrastructure that makes it function, that the threat of losing access to it is almost inconceivable.

Think about the last time your power went out at home or a time when you lost Internet connectivity for an extended period of time. You may have felt lost or disconnected. Now, imagine the same thing happening to your organization. Think about what you would do if you suddenly lost the ability to access all of the important data you’ve been collecting about your constituents. Now, think about what you would do if the reason you weren’t able to access that data wasn’t because of a power outage, but because of a security breach to your IT applications. Imagine hackers holding your data hostage and demanding that you pay them a ransom to get your access back. This is not an unrealistic scenario. Every day, hackers use toolkits found on the dark web to infiltrate company applications and do exactly this.

Information Security has been a concern for commercial organizations for years, but now more than ever, it’s becoming a concern for nonprofits as well. With partners that monitor water quality in northern Ethiopia, protect endangered species and give access to school supplies to 34 million underserved children–– nonprofit CRMs are regularly used to store data about vulnerable populations Thankfully, leaders in the tech sector are responding to the needs and demands of the population by ensuring that the structures that store your data are secure.

Nonprofits can use the cloud to help protect personal data for constituents and make it easily accessible to colleagues, even in remote places.
Nonprofits can use the cloud to help protect personal data for constituents and make it easily accessible to colleagues, even in remote places.

How Data Security Helps Protect People at Risk

Protecting vulnerable populations is the first step in improving the state of the world. As humanitarian disasters continue to affect populations globally, having access to a platform like Salesforce, which allows fast and sustainable solutions for robust social protection is not only helpful, but essential for humanitarian services organizations and other nonprofits. When lives are at stake, being able to access the data you need when you need it can mean the difference between finding a workable solution to an impending problem and watching a crisis spiral out of control.


Although it may seem contradictory, security is almost impossible without transparency––of your CRM vendor that is. Providing access to real-time information on system performance and security is one of the best ways we provide this transparency at Salesforce. Knowing where and how your data is stored and being confident that it’s safe will allow you to spend less time worrying about it and more time carrying out your organization’s mission.

When your data is in a secure cloud, you don’t have to worry about the hassles of technology upgrades or fighting hackers yourself.
When your data is in a secure cloud, you don’t have to worry about the hassles of technology upgrades or fighting hackers yourself.

Why is the Cloud Safer Than Alternatives?

Getting waivers on paper and managing your own servers with in-house software are disasters waiting to happen. New security threats are emerging every day, and the specialists who possess the skills needed to keep up with a constantly evolving threat landscape. Skills to make sure that your organization doesn’t fall victim to the next cyberattack are rare and in high demand. Additionally, the technology required to secure on-premise IT infrastructure is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain and keep up-to-date. More corporations, businesses and even government agencies are choosing to store their data in the cloud––and for good reason. At Salesforce, top security professionals review our code for potential security risks before we make it available to our customers. We also have a set of built-in security options that allow you to decide who can and can’t access your data at as granular a level as you choose, and a robust partner ecosystem serving higher education institutions and nonprofit partners that can provide resources to help you decide which combination of security settings are right for your organization. We also provide Tutorials that help explain how your organization’s employees can keep your data secure at all times as well.

You should be able to mobilize your staff without having to worry if they’ll be able to access the data they need. It’s almost impossible to be at your office in London one day and at war zone helping children and families get back on their feet the next without your data being stored in the cloud and easily accessible from anywhere in the world. With Salesforce, your sensitive data is not only accessible from anywhere, it’s also stored securely to ensure that the only people who can access it are the people who should be able to. Compare this to an on-premise system that you can only log into from your office, or worse, storing your information in paper files that can easily be duplicated, lost, or stolen.

As an organization dedicated to social good, trusting in your technology shouldn’t be something you have to worry about. Thousands of nonprofits already trust Salesforce. So, when choosing a nonprofit CRM or education CRM, be sure it’s one that operates on a trusted, transparent, and secure multi-tenant system.

To understand more about security basics, here’s a helpful module on Trailhead.