Amnesty uses Claranet's private cloud to enable campaigning for human rights

Executive summary

Challenge: Having the right cloud hosting platform managed by a single provider is key to Amnesty digital communications strategy and the organisation's success.

Solution: Amnesty chose Claranet’s managed application hosting solution.

Result: Claranet's private cloud solution provided Amnesty with a reliable and scalable solution, and additional functionality, such as online fulfillment of membership sign-ups.

Choosing a single cloud hosting solution

Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for human rights. Its work is based on careful research by volunteers, and on the human rights standards agreed by the international community.

Having the right hosting platform in place to support its digital communications strategy is fundamental to Amnesty's success. Through a private cloud solution, the charity gathers real-time news and information online as and when acts that breach human rights occur. This allows Amnesty to respond straight away, communicating news to its online communities in order to organise protests, petitions and forums.

Before partnering with Claranet, Amnesty worked with several web and hosting agencies, causing challenges in service levels, instability, risk and website up-time. Furthermore, Amnesty’s previously disparate hosting environment couldn't integrate user data across various properties, lacking visibility of the charity's users’ profiles and online activity.

Enhanced access to [our members’] information… would enable us to support them…which in turn, would help us to encourage and facilitate campaigning activity

Kamesh Patel, Head of IT
Amnesty International

Managed application hosting

Amnesty’s IT team embarked on a three-year project to overhaul its hosting platform. This project would:

  • consolidate and re-engineer Amnesty’s hosting infrastructure
  • integrate all online properties
  • enhance data analytics
  • offer more functionality to users
  • simplifying the management of the platform
  • eliminate other inefficiencies
  • improve reliability and flexibility

Amnesty chose Claranet’s managed application hosting solution to underpin its technology transformation.

Claranet offered the most comprehensive solution, with an SLA that covered the whole service and guaranteed application availability.

Extra functionality

Since implementing Claranet's managed application hosting platform, Amnesty has been able to add further functionality to its websites. For example, it is now able to offer a self-service function to users to sign up and set up direct debits.

Claranet has helped us to simplify our back-end processes and to automate fulfillment, so that our staff can get on with more important things like building additional functionality to support our next campaign.

More flexibility

For the second phase, Amnesty embraced social media tools and changed its website's content management system (CMS).

By moving to Claranet’s private cloud service, Amnesty now has in place the foundations to support its constantly changing requirements.

For example, we recently ran a campaign highlighting Shell’s appalling human rights record in Nigeria, and using donations, had bought an ad in the Financial Times. The ad was pulled by the FT, infuriating campaigners. As a result, our blogosphere went completely crazy. Despite the huge spike in demand, our websites didn’t crash. Claranet’s virtualised platform meant that our server resources could be dynamically allocated to where they were needed.

A dedicated cloud platform also enables Amnesty to avoid downtime. Amnesty no longer needs to downgrade servers when making a physical upgrade to its IT infrastructure; and should something happen to one server, the intelligence in the platform allows resource to be reallocated automatically ensuring continued uptime.

Reliable and scalable cloud infrastructure

The third and final phase involved the launch of a revamped Amnesty International website. The charity’s hosting infrastructure has been consolidated, simplified, and made more flexible and reliable. And through enhanced data analytics and online functionality, Amnesty has been able to better engage its members.

According to Patel, Claranet’s private cloud infrastructure will continue to be the foundation that underpins Amnesty’s digital communications strategy. The realisation of this strategy will help Amnesty to continue to fulfill its mission.