Hey You, Get Off of My Cloud! A Review of Point of Sales Systems “Apps”
Is the Data From Your Point of Sales Systems Hosted on a Cloud?
When choosing a point of sale system a business owner is faced with a dizzying array of cloud based point of sales systems. Many of the most common cloud-based selections are simply converted apps.
What we mean by “converted apps” is that it’s an application designed to run on an iPhone or android device. The development environments for these types of POS systems can be very limiting. So much so that developers often choose to put much of the business logic into what is referred to as the “cloud”.
What does this mean for these types of point of sale systems? Well first, a limited environment (i.e. size, space speed etc.) provides less functionality. There just isn’t enough memory and processor speed on a device to run full featured point of sales systems compared to that of a desktop or laptop computer. Developers will remove features from the application and run them on the cloud to compensate for this limited environment. What you as a consumer get from all of this is slimmer, featureless apps that will run on your tablet or smartphone. You end up losing control of your data since you cannot have much stored data in apps like this.
What does it mean to lose control of your data?
How can you really own or protect your data when you send your business intelligence to the cloud? How do you know if the hosting provider is protecting your data in the same way you would personally protect it? The fact is that the larger a cloud-based system – the more complex it is. A complex system can be problematic. Many people, just like you, are crowded into the same database. Your sensitive data is commingled with thousands of other businesses. If you wanted to move to another point of sale software, it may be a challenge to retrieve your data. Heck, on some of these you don’t even own your data!
Protecting Your Point of Sales System
These point of sales systems become quite the tempting target to hackers. But why? It’s often more gratifying to hack that huge database out on the IP cloud with thousands of users, rather than that little retailer down the block who has a similar (or the same) firewall protecting their own data. My bet is that the best hackers will always go for the big score, and grab that headline.
So, if you want fewer features, poor performance, and data storage in the cyber-version equivalent of the crowded slums of Calcutta, keep doing what you’re doing and grab one of those shiny new POS software apps. And good luck on your cloud!