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How Is Technology Helping NGOs Drive a Societal Impact: Microsoft

Remote working has not only been the talk of the town in the IT ecosystem, but also the only way forward. This form of working has helped many an interactions with numerous tools, one of them being Microsoft Teams

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Previously in a lot of articles on Express Computer, much has been talked about the latest technological tools that help ease the day to day business across several sectors. Microsoft Teams is one of those advancements that have made jobs much easier. What’s interesting to note is how Microsoft Teams has been deployed and come into use in various genres like that of the NGOs and also the underprivileged sections of the society.

Keshav Dhakad, Group Head & Assistant General Counsel – Corporate, External & Legal Affairs, Microsoft India takes us through a tour. Some glimpses:

How is Microsoft Teams collaborating with women entrepreneurs from underprivileged communities in Bihar to make and supply low-cost cotton masks to extremely poor communities in northern Bihar?

As a company at the forefront of digital transformation, Microsoft is committed to bringing the benefits of technology to all. Many nonprofits are playing a critical role in supporting the health, safety, and wellness of people, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Microsoft is engaging with over 500 nonprofits across the country who are on the frontlines of COVID-19 response and providing them with tailored solutions to improve efficiency and impact, during these unprecedented times. Today, Microsoft Teams is playing a central role in training and bringing together volunteers and field teams across the country, enabling them to respond with agility and urgency to support vulnerable communities in remote areas of the country. 

The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme India (AKRSPI), a nonprofit whose mission is to empower rural communities, is using Teams to collaborate with their staff members and volunteers spread across 70 locations in the country. The solution is helping 400 staff members of the organisation to stay connected, conduct virtual meetings and online trainings to operationalize relief operations for rural communities. The nonprofit was successful in delivering mandatory training to mask manufacturing entrepreneurs in rural Bihar to help them produce masks in accordance with the government guidelines. They are now on their way to produce a million masks in the next couple of months to help these communities during the pandemic.

How is technology helping NGOs drive a societal impact?

With much of the country working from home, organisations based within communities are facing challenges like lack of technical capacity, and lack of digital technology solutions that can be customized for their environment to enable seamless delivery of impact, while ensuring the safety of their workforce. At times like these it is the responsibility of technology companies to support these organisations with digital capability required to address these challenges. 

Microsoft is supporting these organisations by taking a three-pronged approach by offering best-in-class scalable, inclusive and accessible cloud technology, nonprofit-specific tailored solutions to improve efficiency and impact, and helping nonprofits implement and continue skilling for youth using virtual platforms. During unprecedented times like these, we have been working closely with nonprofits to serve the broader community, by enabling them to stay connected, secure and productive. We are also organizing regular webinars and training sessions to help them transition from a field to a remote work environment more intuitively. 

How are your ensuring that privacy isn’t compromised?

At Microsoft, privacy and security are never an afterthought. In fact, privacy and security are embedded in the core design principles of every product and every solution we develop. In this challenging environment, we are focused on ensuring that our customers and partners are working as securely as possible. For a nonprofit like AKRSPI, it was super critical that they use a secure platform to collaborate with their staff of more than 400 people, spread across 70 locations.

Microsoft Teams which is being used by first responders like non-profits, educational institutions, governments and organisations alike, is built on the hyper-scale, enterprise-grade Microsoft cloud, delivering advanced security and compliance capabilities. Microsoft Teams provides the critical unified communications infrastructure that brings chat, collaboration, broadcasting, sharing, editing, and conferencing under one platform in a highly secure way. 

Through Teams, we provide privacy and security controls for video conferences that safeguards user privacy, secures user identity and account information, as well as protects data and defends against cybersecurity threats. In fact, Teams complies with 17 global standards and meets the industry’s most stringent security and compliance demands, supporting more than 90 regulatory standards and laws.

How has Microsoft Teams come to aid during COVID-19?

During this unprecedented time, it is clear that technology has a predominant role to play in keeping communities and business moving forward. Microsoft Teams is providing the critical communications infrastructure required by businesses, educational institutions, governments, communities and individuals for business continuity.

In March, we made Teams available to everyone for free, even organisations that don’t have Office 365. People are relying on Microsoft Teams to work and learn-businesses large and small are depending on Teams for business continuity, first responders are using Teams for mission-critical work, governments are turning to Teams for coordinating relief operations, healthcare professionals are using it to consult with patients and educators are using Teams to teach students in entirely new ways. 

Today in India, more than 1 million students and more than 10,000 schools and colleges are using Microsoft Teams for virtual learning. We are also supporting many different healthcare institutions across the country. Fortis Hospitals for example, introduced virtual consultations on Teams for its group hospitals to schedule, manage, and conduct virtual visits with patients. 

30 out of the country’s top 50 companies are working remotely on Microsoft Teams. In fact, in April, we saw more than 200 million Microsoft Teams meeting participants in a single day, generating more than 4.1 billion meeting minutes. 

Ensuring security while working remotely is becoming increasingly critical for organisations all over the world. In Microsoft Teams, we encrypt data in transit and at rest, storing data in our secure network of datacenters and using Secure Realtime Transport Protocol (SRTP) for video, audio, and desktop sharing. Teams’ strong security architecture enables organisations to collaborate securely by protecting data and defending against cybersecurity threats.

If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]


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