From a storage perspective, cloud computing has been nothing short of revolutionary. Two years ago, virtually all businesses were in one way or another utilizing the cloud, as IBM discovered in a survey at the time. Fast forward to today, and disruptive outsourcing - meaning cloud and automation technologies - is every bit as popular, with 84 percent of businesses at least discussing its potential implementation in the past year, a survey from Deloitte revealed.
Cloud computing makes maintaining and obtaining vast amounts of data possible from just about anywhere. But do cloud-based point of sale (POS) systems have advantages in other respects? You be the judge.
1. Increases access
Perhaps the biggest bonus that comes with using cloud-based POS is that it makes it possible to obtain important sales numbers and other particulars anywhere there's an internet connection. In a mobile, on-the-go world, business owners and professionals not only can't afford to "check out" for lengthy periods of time, but numerous polls show that a majority of Americans aim to keep tabs on what's happening at their workplace even while on vacation. Cloud POS brings work to you wherever you are.
2. Enhances security
Thanks to hard-to-crack encryption technologies, the cloud is effective at keeping sensitive sales figures secure. Indeed, according to a 2016 survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers, 70 percent of small- and medium-sized businesses acknowledged using cloud-based cybersecurity services.
David Burg, global cybersecurity and privacy leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, told CNBC that the cloud brings an unparalleled layer of security.
"The cloud makes it possible to do things analytical, related to cybersecurity, that were never before possible," Burg said. However, he cautioned that before making the switch to the cloud for protection purposes, it's critical to get to the bottom of what company provides the cyberhacking defenses.
"Make sure you understand who the cloud provider is, that they are highly reliable and that there will be no unforeseen costs down the line," Burg hastened to mention.
3. Faster processing times
Speed is the name of the game when you're running a business. The same is true when you're dealing with customers who constantly have things they have to do and not enough time to fit them all into the day. Because cloud POS can be synced with multiple devices, updates can be performed all at once rather than on a piecemeal basis. This makes for speedy processing and less downtime.
Tim Carter, chief administrative officer for Salsarita's Fresh Mexican Grill, told Hospitality Technology that the real-time functionality of cloud POS alone makes it a smart investment.
"Network uptime issues are eliminated because there is no longer a 'magic moment' during the overnight when the information is going to be gathered," Carter explained.
In other words, manual upgrades are no longer necessary with the instantaneous capabilities that cloud POS provides. This gives business owners more time to take care of their customers and also helps bring peace of mind by eliminating worry about losing data.
Cloud POS makes everyday business dealings easier, speedier and more secure.
4. Reduces overhead, enhances flexibility
Cloud POS is traditionally used as a Software-as-a-Service model, where instead of purchasing all the equipment, users pay a monthly access fee. There are no upfront or "money down" expenses to worry about.
Forbes contributor Christopher Sebes said that as businesses strive to become more agile and reduce operating expenses, the cloud makes this possible, enhancing agility and flexibility. Plus, it's not something that has to be adopted wholesale. Businesses can implement cloud in phases if they so choose.
"Cloud POS can often be adopted in stages according to need and budget," Sebes wrote. "An existing solution that offers a seamless upgrade to cloud POS may be an option worth considering."
Sebes went on to mention that contrary to popular belief - at least among those who are unfamiliar with the cloud - you don't always need the internet to be up and running for access, so long as the service provider is running on local devices that have backup capabilities.