What the Cloud Makes Possible for Your Store or Restaurant
Used to be, your restaurant or retail business had a computer server on site.
Using consumer-grade off-the-shelf hardware, such as the iPad, as a POS device? Not likely.
Accessing reports from the comfort of your own home? Not possible.
Mobile transactions? Fuggedaboutit.
Back then, a point of sale mostly just did sales.
The cloud makes these limitations a thing of the past. Still, the concept is a little … hazy … to a lot of merchants: According to a 2015 technology survey commissioned by NCR Silver, 37 percent of restauranteurs have little or no knowledge about what this thing actually is.
Cloud computing is hardly a new concept. Google and Amazon used the term in 2006. Compaq actually used it a decade earlier!
Remember your first Web-based email service in the 90s? That was a cloud service. And in 2016, selfies can be disregarded without being discarded, coworkers can collaborate together remotely, students no longer have an excuse for forgetting their homework at home.
It’s pretty much a metaphor for the Internet.
Why do I want my data in the cloud?
For starters, price. With your system in the cloud, you can get a business outfitted with a stout POS system for often less than $1,000. Here are some other reasons:
- Your data is safe even if your brick and mortar location is damaged.
- You can access crucial business data from wherever you get an Internet connection.
- You can use off the shelf — i.e. inexpensive — technology such as iPads.
- You don’t have to keep hardware such as servers in your store.
Where is this NCR Silver cloud anyway?
Well, we can’t tell you that.
But rest assured, it’s a hardened, non-descript facility with state-of-the art technology including redundant power, multiple Internet providers, advanced fire suppression and much more … and it’s somewhere.
How does the cloud work with my POS system?
There are basically three ways your store or restaurant interacts with the cloud:
- Credit processing.
- POS synching.
- Back office functionality.
When a customer swipes a card, his or her info is automatically encrypted.
Your POS never sees an unencrypted number. That encrypted data is encrypted again and sent to the NCR Secure Pay credit gateway. It talks with your credit processor such as Elavon or WorldPay. The processor — NCR Silver works with dozens of them — will approve or decline the transaction and send it back to the POS system.
All of this happens in seconds.
After approval, the POS will prompt the merchant to email or print a receipt. Then, in the background, the transactional details are sent to the back office. Once that data is in the back office, sales reports, store summaries and more can be viewed or updated for anywhere …
All thanks to the cloud.
Best practice cloud tips
Tip 1: Set up Offline Credit
On a day-to-day basis, the NCR Silver Hosting Operations team maintains the infrastructure so it’s available and performing for the thousands of merchants who rely on it.
However, there are always issues that may occur — a merchant’s Internet could be down, a third-party processor, or a gateway could have a momentary glitch — that may cause a temporary problem.
No downtime is acceptable for a merchant, whose lifeblood is selling. But it is a reality, whether a POS system is provided by a Fortune 1,000 or a startup.
As a result, the NCR Silver team developed an Offline Credit system that enables merchants to take payments, even if a processor is down or an Internet connection doesn’t work.
In these cases, the cloud saves your customers’ credit card information for the meantime, and transactions are processed once the connection is reestablished.
Simply activate this feature in the back office or call 877-630-9711 for help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Tip 2: Choose a cloud provider you can trust
Although cloud services have been available for some time, most providers have not. As the cloud continues to evolve, ensure that your service is in the business for the long haul, and you won’t have to scramble to make a switch if it dissolves.
Recently, Verizon released a statement that customers have two months to remove data from two of its discontinued cloud services, or it “will be irrecoverably deleted.”
Tip 3: Stay up to date
With any cloud service, you need to make sure you’re up to date to ensure maximum security, efficiency and that you’re getting the newest features.
Many cloud providers have reduced downtime during software updates. The NCR Silver team has also made improvements that will lead the potential of having more updates. That means less time to wait for the features you’ve been waiting for, and more time actually using them.
Related Post: Best Practices to Protect Your Tablet POS System