The Cloud. We hear about it all the time, but ask anyone to describe what it is and you’ll likely be met with a blank stare. If you’re curious about using a cloud-based POS, let us explain what the cloud is, how it can help or harm your business, and the ideal solution for restaurants.
What is the Cloud?
The cloud is a group of servers that are connected together to form a network that remotely stores data or information. This information is accessible via the internet, as opposed to on a local drive or computer.
The accessibility that the cloud provides can be great for when you want access to information stored remotely, like email for example. With the cloud you can read your messages wherever you are – on your mobile phone, your iPad, or your laptop. That’s possible by accessing servers that belong to Google, Apple, Microsoft, or whichever company’s email service you use.
The convenience of having access to this information is what makes it possible for you to do so many things on the go, but relying too heavily on the cloud means that all your apps are nearly useless when the internet goes down. Here are two key factors to think about when considering using a solely cloud-based POS to run your business.
The Reliability Factor
One of the most important factors in a great POS is reliability. The flexibility of the cloud is perfect for accessing data and applications that you need, when you need them – as long as you are connected to the internet. But what happens when the internet goes down and you’re in the middle of a busy lunch rush? Your strictly cloud-based POS system will stop working, you’ll have customers waiting to order and orders recently placed that aren’t being sent to the kitchen. Your packed restaurant will essentially come to a standstill and you could be facing frustrated customers, overwhelmed servers, and a chaotic restaurant that can’t function properly because the internet is down. Relying too much on the cloud can leave your operations vulnerable to situations like this. A system that keeps working even when the wi-fi doesn’t is paramount to your peace of mind and your restaurant’s efficiency.
As mentioned above, the “cloud” isn’t actually a cloud. Data doesn’t just disappear and appear when it’s called – it’s real data stored on real servers, and those servers are owned by companies and run by people. Storing all of your data on the cloud might seem like a great idea, but it’s important to keep in mind that means your restaurant’s information, menu, reports, and all of your data, is in the hands of your POS company, which could be vulnerable to security issues or threats. If you can access all of your sensitive information by a simple login, there’s the possibility that hackers could access it too. A local and secure system, like a hard drive or computer that you store your information on and back up locally, is a safer, more secure choice.
What’s the Alternative?
Based on the two major downfalls of a strictly cloud-based POS, considering a more reliable and secure solution for your restaurant is wise. A great alternate solution is a hybrid platform that has the reliability and security of a local connection and doesn’t rely on the internet to function, but has the convenience of remote access to the cloud when necessary. In many ways, a hybrid POS system, like TouchBistro, offers the best of both worlds – both reliability and flexibility all in one solution.