Nonprofit IT FAQs: From Remote Desktop Support to Cybersecurity

IT systems are a core component of modern nonprofit organizations. In fact, with the right technology in place, nonprofit workflows tend to be more streamlined, and organizations are better able to reach their target audiences to get the word out about their cause. When these IT systems run properly, they can work to help nonprofits achieve their missions more efficiently and effectively. Unfortunately, these systems do not always run as they well as they could. Nonprofits are particularly prone to poor performing tech, which can usually be attributed to a lack of funds, expertise, or even bandwidth. Unoptimized technology ultimately holds organizations back, leading to inefficiencies, miscommunications, and general frustration from all parties involved. This is why implementing effective IT solutions is a crucial part of running a nonprofit organization. Keep reading as we break down three of the most frequently asked questions regarding everything IT for nonprofits, from remote desktop support to cybersecurity.

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1. What Makes Nonprofit IT Support Different?

When you look at the IT requirements of for-profit businesses compared to that of nonprofits, the latter requires special considerations and faces unique challenges when it comes to IT support. This can be attributed to several different characteristics of the nonprofit model, including:

  • A Difference in Purpose: Unlike for-profit enterprises, nonprofits are designed around service-based missions. While this does not necessarily make a significant impact on how different technologies are used, it does underscore every major IT decision.
  • More Stakeholders: For-profit businesses usually focus mainly on their customers when it comes to addressing the needs of their stakeholders. Nonprofits, on the other hand, are tasked with serving a wider variety of stakeholders, including donors, members of the community, constituents, board members, and so on. This wide range of stakeholders calls for a more advanced set of organizational functions.
  • Special Compliance Requirements: Because nonprofits deal with so many different types of stakeholders, they are often faced with unique compliance requirements. Nonprofit IT providers must always ensure that data management systems and infrastructures are following any relevant regulations (such as those related to healthcare privacy, the protection of children clients’ identities, the security of donor payment information, and so on).

2. Should Nonprofits Choose Remote Desktop Support or Onsite Support Services?

As a nonprofit organization decides on which IT provider to partner with, they should also consider how their IT services will be delivered. When it comes to service delivery, there are essentially two options: Remote desktop support or onsite support services. Outlined below are the pros and cons of each and which one is best suited for nonprofit organizations.

Remote desktop support services are more efficient.

Remote desktop support services allow nonprofit employees to receive assistance from anywhere for just about any issue. This form of service delivery is both quick and cost-effective.
That said, there is a disadvantage to remote support: Some IT problems can only be remedied via onsite support. For example, an on-premises hardware fix would require a technician to come in-person to address the issue.

Onsite support is more strategic for relationship building.

Onsite support can foster positive relationships between technicians and employees, often resulting in a higher level of service and technology improvements. Moreover, onsite visits can reveal issues that might have gone unreported otherwise, leading to better optimized IT systems.
The main drawbacks of onsite service delivery are that it is slower (due to travel time) and typically more expensive.

The Verdict

The best option for nonprofits (and, quite frankly, for most for-profit businesses) is actually a combination of the two. This is because both types of service delivery are appropriate for different kinds of IT situations. Most managed service providers (MSPs) understand this and offer service packages that include both onsite and remote support. For nonprofits that already have an internal team that simply need to alleviate some of the pressure caused by the ever-growing pile of support ticket requests, some providers also offer co-managed IT options that allow you to select which IT activities you would like to outsource and which ones you’d like to keep in-house.

3. What is the Best Approach to Cybersecurity for a Nonprofit?

According to a 2018 study by NTEN, less than 21 percent of nonprofits have documented policies and procedures that outlined what to do in the event of a cyberattack. With these organizations already lacking in modern tech solutions, nonprofits cannot afford to ignore cybersecurity. Instead, they should work on improving their security posture through one or more of the following approaches:

  • Proactive Monitoring: 24/7 network monitoring is key here, as it can help to catch any issues before they get out of hand to reduce the amount of damage from a cyber attack.
  • Remote Backups: Ensuring that your data is regularly backed up can prevent big losses in the case of a cyber attack. For instance, if your organization endures a ransomware attack, having backup copies of all of your critical files, data, and applications can help you avoid paying the ransom fee.
  • Clear and Enforced Policies: Having security policies and protocols in place (like strong password policies or strict data management practices) can help to reduce the number of vulnerabilities that your system has. In addition, you should always have a disaster recovery plan in place that outlines a clear procedure to minimize damage in the event of a cyber attack or other catastrophe.

Are you looking for strong IT support for your nonprofit? Here at TXSG, we have a knack for helping out those organizations who help out the community. Contact us to find out how you can receive our IT consulting and implementation services at little to no cost today.

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