Storing information on your computer’s hard drive is old school – but not in a good way. Using technology instead eliminates paperwork and improves communications, which frees up time to spend elsewhere in your business. Making the move can seem daunting. There’s time upfront, but you’ll save in the long run. Here are some tips for an easier transition.

Take time for training 

Just because you “get it,” doesn’t mean it will click immediately with your staff. Make sure team members are equipped with the knowledge to help each other. “The cloud does not work like on-premise, so you must hire or train your staff in these technologies,” says Scott Brittain, chief technology officer for Snap Kitchen, a healthy grab-it-and-go concept with locations in Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

Boost your Wi-Fi

Both a blessing and a curse of cloud-based technology – your internet connection. “If you don’t have a solid internet connection, then cloud services are not going to be a good experience because that’s your lifeline,” says Dave Conger, director of information technology for Costa Vida, a Mexican counter-service concept with locations nationwide.

Though many cloud-based platforms have the functionality to work offline temporarily in case of an outage, you should invest in the best connection and consider a backup.

Read the fine print

Keeping your data secure and your customer’s information private are real concerns with cloud-based technology. Always read the fine print to understand your provider’s security and privacy policies. “In taking data from your physical location, you’re entrusting it to this third party,” Conger says. “You don’t want them selling your customers’ data to advertisers or whomever.”

Choose your vendor wisely 

Don’t hop on the first startup that knocks on your door. “There are many young, frail companies who want to provide you technology,” Brittain says. “Many simply cannot deliver.” Look for an experienced provider that has worked through post-launch hurdles. If you’re impressed by a newcomer, ask for references to sniff out potential red flags.

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