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Small businesses need to get their heads in the cloud

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Cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) systems have helped revolutionize the way large enterprises do business. Not long ago, companies big and small ran their businesses using local computer and on-premise servers, generating high maintenance costs, driving up security risks for customers, and creating liability for themselves.

Today, cloud infrastructure has become a critical foundation for POS systems, allowing for faster and more secure payment processing, better consumer data protection, and a reduction in overhead. Yet adoption rates still trend higher for larger, enterprise-level companies than for small businesses, and that leaves a world of potential benefits still untapped.

Like POS systems, the business landscape is ever evolving and is frequently influenced by the way consumers choose to buy goods. With consumer preferences constantly changing and new payment methods emerging, we’re seeing a notable transition over the past couple of years on the part of larger businesses that are choosing cloud-based providers over legacy POS options.

While these larger companies already see the benefits of cloud infrastructure, it stands to reason that small businesses would equally benefit. So why is it that small businesses have been so much slower to adopt the cloud? We believe there are several reasons, including inertia, or resistance to change, coupled with lack of familiarity with or knowledge of how the cloud works and awareness of its long-term cost savings.

It’s time for small businesses to make the switch to cloud-based POS. The unique value proposition of the cloud paired with the ability to tailor and deliver solutions specific to a merchant’s needs make it a win-win for small businesses everywhere.

Moving to the cloud brings in significant benefits for small business owners. It lowers upfront costs. Merchants often have to incur significant costs when implementing an on-premise POS system.

They have to make major investments in hardware, both front and back of house, program it (or outsource to a consultant), and continually invest time, money, and resources to maintain it. Since this is a crucial piece of infrastructure, merchants have to invest in other IT hardware to make sure it stays up and running during business hours.

This can run in the tens of thousands of dollars—a significant one-time expense for a small business owner. In addition, since merchants are not typically expert in IT matters, they often have to find a vendor to help with installation, setup, and ongoing maintenance; also a non-trivial expense.

In a cloud-based system, all of this IT infrastructure is hosted by the POS provider, which effectively takes the headache out of the equation for the merchant.

There's also ongoing time and cost savings. With on-premise solutions, setting up a POS system is just the first step in a never-ending effort to keep software secure and up to date. It’s not just new features and functionalities that require regular updates; evolving security threats pose an even more critical concern.

This means merchants have to invest additional resources after that initial POS setup, whether time, money, or both, to keep software up to date. Even if they aren’t using new features, it’s imperative that they keep their POS software current to ensure they’re protected from new security threats.

Cloud-based systems, on the other hand, run software updates automatically, eliminating the need for additional staff or vendors and therefore saving merchants that extra expense.

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