Protecting Your POS Systems

In last month’s newsletter, we talked aboutprotecting your data.  In this pastmonth, many of us lived through Hurricane Irene and then Tropical Storm Lee andmany of us were greatly impacted by the devastation.  While the recovery has begun, it will takequite some time for many people and business to get back to some sort ofnormalcy.  In this article, we willrevisit the simple yet important things that retailers could do to protecttheir POS system and minimize the time to recover in the event of devastation.

UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), especially the batterybackup side of the UPS, is critical to keeping your POS system runningsmoothly.  During the storm season, thechance of power interruption increases in the form of blackout orbrownout.  Blackout is easier to detectbut brownout may not be easily felt. Power fluctuation can also cause a power surge.  Any one of these power outage scenarios coulddamage your POS system or any electronic devices that are not protected by asurge protector or UPS.  If any of yourPOS system devices are not plugged into an UPS, you should consider purchasingone.  If you have UPS’s and do notremember when they was installed or replaced, you should replace them.  You don’t want to replace your car batteryafter it dies and you don’t want to wait until any part of your POS systemsustains damage before you install or replace your UPS.

Your POS system is equipped with backup devices andmedia.  There may by automatic filebackups but there is always a removable backup device and media in the form ofexternal hard drive, DVD-RW drive and discs. This should be your daily or weekly routine to make sure your system isbacked up to the removable media.  Thiswill allow for the quickest way to restore your system after a hard drivereplacement.  Make sure making removablebackup is part of your operational routine, just like counting cashiers andrunning reports.

Take a moment to inspect the surroundings of your POSequipment.  All electronic equipment willhave vents for cooling.  Take a look tomake sure your POS equipment has room for cooling.  Look at the vents and make sure the ventsclear of dusts and are not blocked. Although your IBM POS systems are designed to withstand the toughestcondition in the retail environment, it is still a good practice to help yoursystem running at peak performance.

In the event of an imminent storm approaching, the logicalthing to do is to move your mission critical equipment out of harm’s way.  If flooding is possible and moving all theequipment out of the store is not workable, one of the things you could do isto move the equipment to the top of the conveyer belt.  However, if flooded, cables, especiallynetwork cables, should be replaced. Remember, the three most important things to do to ensure the leastamount of down time is backup, backup and backup.