Are Cloud-Based POS Systems Worth It?

Cloud-based POS systems: Good or bad, you’ve probably heard about them, from big data breaches (Uber, Facebook, Twitter and Google to name just a few) to reports that 94% of businesses use cloud computing already (Flexera, 2019). Is it worth the hype?

To find out, let’s address the major concerns surrounding cloud-based POS systems (A.K.A. SaaS or software-as-a-service systems) and compare that to the more traditional legacy system you might be using:

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Cloud systems aren’t secure. Physical storage is much safer.

Breaches can—and do—happen regardless of where you store data. Often, business owners don’t encrypt on-premise servers, which puts them at just as much if not more of a risk than if they used SaaS systems. Cloud servers automatically encrypt and secure information.

The difference lies primarily in how each system responds to a breach. You can access data remotely on cloud servers as long as you have an internet connection, which means that the servers can access you too. They’ll immediately notify you about suspicious activity, data breaches or weak points in security. With legacy systems, you might not notice a cyberattack for hours. Cloud-based systems allow you to react swiftly and effectively so that you can re-secure your data and avoid the additional liability of onsite attacks.

Switching systems requires too much effort.

Yes, you need to invest time and energy into a new cloud-based POS system—just like you do with any other upgrade or replacement. However, like all tech, you get what you put in.

Cloud-based systems have high ROI because all the effort spent uploading your data, floor plan, menu and more turns into more customers and more money spent on each check. Additionally, many vendors will actually transfer all that information for free, and most will train you on how to use the new system too.

Businessman hand working with a Cloud Computing diagram on the new computer interface as concept

Cloud-based POS systems are too slow to handle our volume of business.

Cloud-based systems, by design, foster flexibility and growth. Since they facilitate ordering, help with rushes and promote overall sales, SaaS systems drive scaling and expansion rather than hindering it.

Although they do depend on the speed of your internet connection, your POS technician can test your WiFi, suggest routers and access points that fit your restaurant, and help you get better bandwidth so that the POS system runs as smooth as possible.

They’re too reliant on WiFi.

Most good SaaS systems have an offline mode so that business doesn’t have to stop when the internet goes down. You can still take orders, send information between tablets and printers, communicate with the KDS and use credit card readers. Once it reconnects to WiFi, offline mode automatically syncs all its reporting back to the cloud. Cloud-based POS systems actually help the business run smoothly during power outages and other situations where a legacy system requires you to shut down, helping your restaurant run no matter what.

They’re too expensive, and it’s just not worth the trouble of switching.

Cloud-based systems actually cost less than legacy systems, and you quickly make back the money that you do spend. While legacy systems require tens of thousands of dollars for hardware, setup, support, maintenance and upgrades, SaaS systems have low upfront costs and are subscription-based so you don’t get stuck in a long-term contract. They also allow you to integrate all of your data as well as additional services such as loyalty and rewards programs. Legacy systems, meanwhile, make you rely on multiple vendors for all of these different features.

Upgrades also take less time on SaaS systems. You can update all your associated devices at the same time and from anywhere, and it works so quickly that it doesn’t disrupt the workflow at all. Some systems even allow for automatic updates so you can choose to upgrade in the middle of the night or during times when the restaurant isn’t busy, whenever works best for you.

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Ultimately, you have to decide which type of system makes sense for your business. A lot of the predominant concerns about cloud-based POS services rely on misinformation when, in reality, they grow with you as you expand, integrate new technology as the industry advances and overall maximize your business’s true potential.

 

References:

[1] “RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud Report from Flexera.” Flexera, Flexera, 2019, https://resources.flexera.com/web/media/documents/rightscale-2019-state-of-the-cloud-report-from-flexera.pdf

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