Data Protection – Preventative Measures
There is no question that Data Backups are imperative. A backup can save you and your business time, money, and an awful lot of stress. It is like an insurance policy for your business! But, what about preventative measures? What can you, as a retailer, do to prevent ever having to enter the crisis phase that so often seems to precede the need for a Data Backup? Here are three quick and easy ways to start giving your data the TLC it deserves.
#1 Protect Your System from Viruses
Ah viruses, the ever present threat! All it takes is one virus to spread through your system to corrupt, damage or destroy your data. Step one in preventing the need to call on your data backup is to ensure that you are protecting your data by employing a high quality virus scanner on every system in your business. There are many virus scanners available, so do your research and always be sure to check with your point of sale software provider prior to installing, not all virus scanners are compatible with all retail point of sale programs. Once you have installed your virus scanner pay attention to the ongoing software updates, and subscription expiry dates. Stay current, and maintain ongoing and consistent coverage on every system, this is money well spent and will certainly cost you less then the data recovery expenses you would face if hit by a computer virus!
The next step in protecting your point of sale hardware, and therefore your data, from the horrible effects of viruses is to keep each POS system dedicated to transaction processing only, meaning NO WEB-SURFING on your POS systems! The more surfing you do, the greater your risk of picking up a computer virus, it really is that simple. In addition to protecting your system from computer viruses, this policy also greatly enhances your PA-DSS compliance by helping to secure your system and data from external attacks.
#2 – Use an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
I recently read a really informative short article on the importance of using a UPS, (http://bit.ly/bJoIIg). In this article Bruce Morris does a great job of drawing real life comparisons to the effect that power surges and outages have on your data. He starts the article with this story, “When I was a kid I used to delight in flushing the toilet when my brother was in the shower in the other bathroom. This always resulted in a loud, bellowing “yoweeee!” as the toilet’s pull on the cold water created a hot water surge in the shower, parboiling my brother. UPS systems avoid parboiling your computer system.”
Now I can relate to that, and it certainly brings to light why I would want to protect my data from such threats! That ongoing wear and tear on your hardware from power surges and outages will result in data corruption at the least, hardware failure and accompanying data loss at the worst.
Business owners are understandably always looking for places to cut expenses unfortunately this isn’t the area to cut. You have thousands of dollars invested in each point of sale system, not to mention the cost of your data on each system, the extra $100 for a good quality Uninterruptible Power Supply will certainly pay off.
#3 – How Old Are Your Systems?
Most retailers don’t take the time to ask this question until it is too late, then they come in one morning to the “blue screen of death”. Hardware failure can happen at any time without much in the way of warning! In retail, your computer hard drive works overtime, you are using it continuously 7 days a week for long hours each day in an environment known for high levels of dust and constant heat from overhead lights. This is a deadly environment for your computer.
To protect your data, evaluate the health of your systems today! Experts recommend that you replace your computer every 3–4 years, and retail experts suggest you consider replacing your main systems (the systems where your point of sale software is installed) every 2 years in response to the harsh retail environment. Does that sound like too short of a life span? Consider buying retail specific hardware, such as Radiant Systems point of sale terminals designed specifically to withstand the harsh retail environment for long periods of time. (With a warranty program to match!)
Hardware failures are the most common cause of catastrophic data loss. If you wait until the “blue screen of death” to consider the health of your point of sale system it will be too late, you will most likely find yourself in a panic to source a new POS system, re-install your point of sale software, and recover your data from your backup – all while your staff are hand writing receipts!
So, how old ARE your systems?
Canadian Retail Solutions Inc. (CRS) specializes in Inventory Control and Point of Sale Systems for retailers across Canada. Our business philosophy reflects an unwavering dedication to quality, integrity and personalized client support in all we do. Our Solutions. Your Success.