Written by Scott FairTuesday, 29 September 2015 13:43
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It’s a phrase we hear every day, and many really don’t understand.
There have been some cute commercials made around it, but in reality it underscores the fact that it is something you cannot see, touch, taste, smell or feel, but can have a very big impact on our lives.
When we talk about “The Cloud”, what we are really referring to is a computer server that is connected to the internet. That server will hold or dispense data depending on the instructions we give it. And to keep our data private, we save our data using encryption, which is a fancy way of saying we have our own little language that only we understand. If someone else tried to read it, they get gibberish.
Ok, so far so good. So why this big push to get everything on the cloud?
Well, having something accessible through the internet does have some distinct advantages. You can access information from anywhere, run reports, place orders, run payroll…..all kinds of things, and not be chained to your desk.
Are there disadvantages? Sure. If the internet goes down, or is not available where you are, your kinda stuck, right?
Five years ago, that was the case. Today, not so much.
Technology has kept moving forward, and capabilities have come along with it. We now have Hybrid systems that allow you to keep working when the internet fails, and will send the data up once the internet is back in operation.
So why not move everything to The Cloud?
Well, in some cases, going to the cloud makes sense. In others, it doesn’t.
Some businesses are in locations where internet connectivity is poor, or non-existent. And online solutions can be a bit more costly, and complicated to setup and maintain. They can be affected by wind, microwave ovens, and a large variety of other things. Even placing the receivers in the wrong area, or the wrong height can disrupt the signal.
As time goes on, the cost and complexity will improve (when I started in computers, networks were the thing of Wizards and Magic, cell phones were bricks that weighed several pounds, and The Internet was a complete mystery! Today you buy networks in a box, and Windows has instructions to set them up.).
For now, a simple Local Area Network in the office is extremely reliable, and very cost effective. And having your data in your office reduces the chances of any problems from the outside. Of course it also means that you need to be responsible for backing up and safeguarding the data.
So there are advantages to both types of Point of Sale systems. It can help to talk with someone who is familiar with both. Which system you choose depends on your needs, but I think you will find they are getting closer than ever before on speed, capability and versatility.
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