The NSPCC's Childline service is contacted every 25 seconds. This is a shocking statistic that underlines how important the work the charity provides is to helping children in abusive or neglectful homes seek help.
Behind the volunteers and support workers who provide the help and support those contacting the charity need is a raft of key technology services that are vital to the NSPCC's smooth operation.
And, just as the NSPCC has changed and evolved over its long history since being formed in 1844, so to the technology it uses to support its work requires constant overhaul.
The latest step in this ever-changing process saw the company sign a deal with managed hybrid cloud service provider Adapt to oversee the delivery of several aspects of its core IT infrastructure, including voice and communication services.
This work includes building support technology for the new Childline website and back-office systems that are going live at the end of March. All of this will be run from a private data centre that Adapt manages itself, rather than a public cloud deployment.
NSPCC chief information officer Ray Bilsby (pictured) said that using Adapt's services in this way underlines that despite numerous organisations embracing public cloud services there are still times when dedicated services are more suitable.
"If you look at the Childline service, the notion of putting that in an environment outside our control is never going to happen - we have to control the timings of patching and scheduling and activities, so testing is nailed before we launch," he toldV3.
"Childline is a complex environment, that we have to have control over and we as an organisation are willing to dig deep to pay good price to get good service for a 24/7 basis."
However, this does not mean the public cloud is not on the radar at the NSPCC. In fact, the firm has already started to embrace some core services in the cloud, most notably Office 365 hosted on Azure, and Microsoft Dynamics for case management information.
"We have started migrating to the Microsoft cloud, with things like email and storage, moving away from our previous data centre that we had managed by Capita," said Bilsby.
He noted that the flexibility of the public cloud, coupled with the low rates Microsoft offers to charities, like other providers, make it an appealing proposition, especially when compared to how services were being paid for before.
"[When I joined] the existing managed services contract was about 800 pages long and negotiated by people who had experience of government and a ‘one size fits all' mentality," he said.
"I think the big issue with that, when you look at what the NSPCC offers, from Childline to more mundane archiving activities, is that what we were paying was too consistent across the board."
Instead, Bilsby said he has pushed more for a culture where what the organisation pays reflect the importance of the service, hence why paying for a dedicated hosting and support from Adapt for Childline makes sense, as does using the public cloud for email hosting.
"If our phone systems have downtime we are putting children's lives at risk, but if our accounting system is down for a bit, it's not so important."
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