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Is it Safe to Keep Your Data Stored Up and “In the Cloud”?

It’s important to stay current with the latest technology for many reasons. It alleviates risks, keeps you within warranty, and ensures customer satisfaction. According to PNC Merchant Services Company, “POS processing technology is changing so fast that systems and hardware often cannot keep pace with the latest software developments or compliance requirements. This is true across all types of devices and in all industries–especially with regard to cardholder security, which is one of the most important issues in merchant card processing today.”

In light of this, is it wise to consider processing merchant card payments “in the cloud”? Cloud-based computing means that all of the data storage resources are located on the internet. Before, all data was stored on the business’s physical premises. Amazon® and Google® have been using cloud computing for some time, but merchant card processing is fairly new.

There are many benefits to cloud-based processing. The first, and most important, is customer satisfaction. This new system makes it easier to serve customers and give them a satisfactory shopping experience. Operating with cloud-based computing makes everything more mobile. According to PNC Merchant Services Company, “It has to do with switching from traditional, in-store point-of-sale (POS) systems to cloud-based POS systems that can be run from tablets (like an iPad®) or mobile devices.”

Another benefit is the automated software updates and backup feature. Instead of having to take the time to back up all of the payment data manually, cloud-based POS systems back up continuously – think of all of the time that is saved and the stress you never experience. In addition, software updates are completed automatically. You will never have to worry whether or not everything is up to date and operating with the most secure version available.

A further benefit is improved access that you experience via the tablet and mobile apps. Now, anytime and anywhere you can pull up live sales data and reports. While the apps help to keep you on track, the storage improvements help to keep you better organized. Before, there were limitations to how much information you could store on a merchant’s premises. According to PNC Merchant Services Company, with the POS system, “Your entire POS system and the data that resides within it can be hosted in the cloud.”

Finally, security is the biggest plus of switching to a cloud-based POS system. Many view it as being less secure than keeping data stored on the premises. Upon further investigation, however, it would seem the cloud-based POS system actually is the most secure option. “Cloud services providers incorporate the most advanced and sophisticated data security technology available today, which typically makes payment information stored in the cloud more secure than data stored on local servers. Plus, the Payments Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council has released new guidelines for how to apply PCI Data Security Standards (DSS) in the cloud.”

When it comes to keeping your business up to date, it would be wise to consider being “in the cloud”. Changing to a cloud-based POS system to process credit and debit cards may be the best choice, in order to save time and establish more security. With more and more merchants changing to this system, it is definitely worth considering.