Digital Commerce and the Future of Small Business
Guest Post By Reanna Gutierrez
So what will the cloud do to business? Moving currency, all currency, into the cloud will fundamentally change the way we think about money. It will change the way you do security and the way you sell your product. As money becomes an abstract concept, it will become very difficult to steal, and much easier to exchange.
Money will become virtually theft proof. While identity theft is a growing problem, the digitization of bank statements and other records will soon leave thieves with no better option than to try to hack into bank servers.
This is problematic for them because a thief cannot grab money and run. This is a matter of attempting to change information and trying to convince everyone that it is legitimate. There will be multiple backups on separate servers of the records of every transaction that occurred with the account.
Anyone who shows an unexplained increase in wealth would instantly be detected by the system and could be audited automatically, and easily, since all of the relevant information is logged in the system.
This is already the case with the money that is digital, which is the majority. The problem here is that cash still exists, and if a man shows up and says his grandmother gave him $100,000 and he had nothing to do with that bank robbery, then there is no basis for calling him a liar.
For small businesses this will mean greater security. As companies move from in-house networks and systems to managed hosting, sensitive information will no longer be stored locally. With their money and confidential records stored as a file on multiple cloud servers in undisclosed locations, they are safe from both natural disasters and thieves who might destroy or steal them, respectively. If any unauthorized changes are made on one server, it can be compared to backups for verification.
The only hole in security that will remain is human error. Almost all cases of identity theft and security breaches are when a person is fooled into giving away vital information to a thief, not because thieves are tech geniuses.
The disappearance of cash will allow you to get rid of your cash register, and your cashier. You won’t have to worry about, or even think about shoplifters again, because technology is moving beyond that. Soon, the barcodes on all of your items will be replaced by a printed Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag that will allow a device hopefully placed near your doorway to simply read and ring up a customer’s entire shopping cart as they walk out the door.
Thanks to technology developed by Apple, Google, and others, we now have something called near field communication, which creates a small, secure personal network through the customer’s smartphone, over which customers can automatically pay for everything as they walk out the door. The entire financial aspect of your business will be automated in the cloud.
There are, of course, some security concerns, as a customer might come in without a smartphone, or simply leave it in the store to get their items for free, but that is a simple matter of logistics. Require the near field communication device to open the door to the store, or pay a greeter to make sure that a payment clears when people leave. Perhaps you will be the one to create a viable solution?
This is part two of a two-part guest post on the cloud and its affect on business. Don't miss part one: How the Cloud Will Affect Money
Photo courtesy of Flickr
Reanna Gutierrez is the Product Marketing Manager for OneNeck, which offers hosted application management to mid-level businesses. Reanna enjoys learning and writing about the way that advances in technology are changing the way we do business. Her views are her own.