As a small business owner, you may have considered Software as a Service (SaaS) options for managing your operations. SaaS, or cloud-based software, follows a model that makes software available to customers over the internet through a monthly subscription.

What are the benefits of subscribing to cloud-based point of sale software?

Software That’s Always Up-to-Date

We’re commonly asked if cloud-based software comes with free, automatic updates. The short answer is yes!

Traditional local database systems can be updated when necessary, but the process is more complex and long-winded. When you invest in a SaaS point of sale system, a painless software update is rolled out to all users. The POS user will receive these updates just as they receive normal maintenance updates for their computer.

Another example of how this works is your smartphone. Most people have their phone’s apps updating automatically, with changes constantly being made behind the scenes. Major changes are rare — and unless the app’s logo is redesigned, you likely don’t notice most updates.

Keep up with the Point of Sale Industry

With all that said, what does this mean for your POS software? Are continual updates worth the ongoing subscription payments for the software? As mentioned, like a smartphone, most updates won’t be noticeable. But because POS software must maintain current security requirements and protocols, our SaaS customers really benefit from automatic upgrades when major updates roll out. We’ve outlined two examples of major updates below.

Low-risk cloud-based POS softwareThe most well-known industry-wide security update occurred when chip cards became available to the public and business owners were forced to upgrade their hardware and software to adapt to the new payment method. Frustration around this update lasted for months as merchants underwent the upgrade process. Unlike most upgrades which only affect the merchant, this industry change was apparent to consumers as the entire checkout process was altered. Merchants couldn’t avoid this upgrade because it became very obvious very quickly if their business wasn’t capable of accepting chip cards.

More recently, in January 2018, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) mandated that all merchants must be updated to TLS 1.2 and SHA-2. To put it simply, Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA) are protocols for encryption security — and it became mandatory to be up-to-date with these standards to avoid data hacks. This was extremely important for merchants to be on board with, as it protected their customers’ credit card information and other important data. Merchants were penalized if they did not take action to ensure they were up-to-date. Unlike chip cards, this was a behind-the-scenes update that most SaaS merchants likely didn’t realize occurred. But merchants who were not utilizing a SaaS plan and failed to make the necessary upgrade did notice when they could no longer accept chip cards until their software was updated. TLS 1.2 and SHA-2 was another effort to make payments safer, and as you may have noticed, industry changes like this aren’t going to stop happening any time soon.

Both of these examples show how cloud-based merchants had an advantage over local database users in the midst of industry updates. While those using a local database system had to schedule appointments to have their software upgraded, SaaS business owners received an automatic update and were ahead of the game. Software as a Service users can enjoy the flexibility of being updated by their vendor rather than having to purchase one-time upgrades to meet ever-changing security requirements.

Final Thoughts on SaaS

In summary, the minor updates our SaaS customers receive may not initially seem worth the ongoing cost of their software subscription. But when industry-wide security protocols are rolled out, our SaaS customers can continue their operations without the hassle of scheduling an hour-long upgrade appointment. In most cases, avoiding any disruption to your business is well worth the monthly cost of your SaaS subscription.

If you have any questions about cloud-based POS software, get in touch with our team at sales@posnation.com!