Mission Critical: Your Data Back-Up Strategy

No – that’s not an exaggeration. This IS mission critical! If you don’t have a data back-up strategy in place, then you and your retail business are at serious risk! One wrong move could cost you thousands of dollars in downtime and recovery costs…and recovery of the most important business data is likely impossible if you haven’t been actively backing it up.

We are all guilty of thinking that something like that wouldn’t happen to us. We all think that if we’re careful enough, we won’t lose anything. But the reality is, that is simply untrue. Data loss can happen to ANY of us for a number of different reasons often outside of our own control, and it’s time we become proactive with our precious business data rather than reactive if something does go wrong!


Cyber attacks are among the top reasons why a data back-up strategy is so important for retailers. With the drastic rise in cyber attacks across the world in the past few years, our data is more valuable than ever! It’s important for us to know and understand the different kinds of cyber attacks out there and the different steps we can take to prevent them from happening. 

You may be thinking, “Who would want to access MY business data?” Maybe you’re a small retailer and think that a hacker wouldn’t bother with a smaller entity when there are much larger fish to fry. Maybe you’re a retailer that specializes in something very particular and think that because of that, nobody would have any interest in your business. 

It isn’t necessarily the content of the data that a hacker is interested in when they perform a cyber attack – it’s more so the data itself. Your business data is important to YOU and losing it could cost you time, money, or even your business itself. Therefore, hackers know that by holding it hostage, like in the form of a ransomware attack as an example, you will likely be willing to pay them money to get that data back in order to protect your business.


Electronics are fragile – I think we can all agree on that! I’m sure every single one of us has had an unfortunate incident with some piece of technology in our lifetime where we inadvertently damaged it to the point of no return. As I’m writing this article, I’m recalling that just this year, I had gone to reach for my ringing phone without looking and ended up knocking over a full cup of coffee right onto the keyboard of my laptop. It was maybe 3 seconds before the entire laptop shut down and, despite the efforts of several technicians who got their hands on it almost immediately after it happened, the computer was unrecoverable. Everything I had saved directly onto the computer and not onto the back-up drive was gone. To this day, I’ll go to work on a project and realize I have to redo a logo or picture or a document that was lost on that computer. 

We aren’t the only threats for physical damage to our electronics. Have you ever heard the term “Act of God” or “Act of Nature”? In a legal sense, this refers to an incident that happened outside of human control, such as floods, tornados, or even severe winds. You’ll often find in legally binding contracts and insurance policies that there are clauses against Acts of Nature that often exempt the terms of the document. Acts of Nature happen every single day, all over the world, and as much as we want to think “it wouldn’t happen to us”, it CAN happen to us. Just think – for all of the people in the world that these occurrences have happened to, they likely thought the exact same thing.

Not only are there these random Acts of Nature that could occur, but there’s also fires, vandalism, or even a wayward vehicle crashing into the side of your store that need to be considered (I’m not being dramatic – vehicles crash into buildings quite often across the country). The extent of physical threats to the technology that holds your critical business data is real, whether it seems likely or not to happen to YOU at YOUR particular store. Imagine if any one of those scenarios did happen – not only are you facing the stress of the event that happened, but if you didn’t have a proper data back-up strategy in place, you’re also facing the stress of losing some of the most important pieces of information for your business. In many cases, this could shut your doors for good.


Humans are destined to make mistakes – not a single one of us is perfect and human error is extremely unavoidable. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report in 2022, about 95% of cyber attacks across the globe can be linked back to human error. Most of the physical damage that was spoken about in the last section stems from human error (excluding the Acts of Nature, of course). Accidentally clicking on the wrong thing (typically as a result of what I like to call “panic clicking”) can sometimes lead to disastrous consequences and that’s also human error. 

We can be as careful as possible and still do the wrong thing without intending to – it’s just human nature and there is no shame in it! But for this reason, human error is one of the most important reasons why a proper data back-up strategy is imperative. It’s our safety net..


In cases where a retailer uses an on-premise point of sale system, like Retail Pro for example, software licensing is sensitive. Retailers often have to purchase separate licenses for each POS station, server, and back office computer for everything from their point of sale to their add-on software. If a back-up strategy is not properly implemented and something goes wrong, some software providers will require retailers to pay a fee in order to get the software reinstalled with their current licensing due to the work it entails to move a license over.

This would be an added cost on top of the costly downtime of the retailers’ business, costs involved in attempting any data recovery (whether successful or not), costs for replacing any of the damaged or failed equipment, and any other costs that may have been incurred from the incident itself. At the end of the day, not having a proper data back-up strategy could be the most costly mistake a retailer could make.  

Not All Data Back-Up Strategies are the RIGHT Data Back-Up Strategies

There are hundreds of different options available for backing up your business data – some companies specialize solely in data back-up and some companies offer it as an additional service. Some companies offer single layered data back-up, while other companies offer 2 or 3 layered data back-up. While it seems like a pretty straightforward service, not all strategies are the right strategy for YOUR particular retail business. 

Depending on the type of POS you use, your data files may be more complex than typical data files. For instance, Retail Pro data files are extremely specific to Retail Pro and in order to properly back up the data to a recoverable state, a particular system needs to be in place. Most back-up strategies out there don’t have the software set up to properly back up Retail Pro data, so it’s extremely important for users to source one that does have the proper set up. 

It’s also considered the industry’s best practice to go with a strategy that offers 3 layers of data back-up, so knowing how the strategy works is also extremely important when deciding which one to go with. The 3-layered strategy typically offers 2 physical hard drive back-ups – one on-site, and one off-site – as well as 1 cloud based back-up all working in sync with one another so the data is fluent within all 3 layers. 

Monitoring by someone who knows what to look for is also a crucial aspect to the right data back-up strategy. Data back-up is a background program and you wouldn’t even notice it on a day-to-day basis, making it an easy thing to forget about. If there is some kind of network interruption, or the back-up program isn’t working for some reason, how will you know? Most data back-up strategies come with some form of monitoring included, whether it be an alert on your computer telling you that something isn’t working or the provider itself monitors the system functionality for you. Having an experienced third party monitoring your back-up system is the ideal scenario, as they can also diagnose and resolve any functionality issues you may be facing.

CRS Data Back Up & Secure Shield 

At Canadian Retail Solutions, we’re also independent retailers ourselves and we know first hand the importance of a proper data back-up strategy. With this knowledge, we’ve developed our very own back-up system that not only follows industry best practices, but is also compatible with Retail Pro data files AND offers ongoing monitoring and support. Additionally, our Secure Shield add-on feature offers retailers an advanced anti-virus program that gives them the highest level of data protection at the front lines. 

Think of a data back-up strategy as an insurance policy. We get insurance for our motor vehicles, recreational crafts, houses, and possessions as a proactive measure. We don’t get these policies expecting the worst to happen, but we’re very aware that it could and want to be covered in case it does. A proper data back-up strategy does the exact same thing for the lifelines of your retail business.