The fact that technology isn’t always reliable isn’t a surprise to anybody. Networks, servers, and the internet can fail, without warning, at any time. Just like any technology, your point of sale system is vulnerable to failed connectivity situations. Even if your POS system isn’t dependent upon the internet, hard drives can still fail – and hardware can get broken or stolen. Data redundancy can prevent the loss of data and business.
Imagine that you are in the midst of the busiest part of your day and you’ve got long lines at all of your open registers. You get a call that one of your registers up front isn’t working, so you direct the people in that line to other lines so you can troubleshoot the problem – only to find that none of your point of sale machines are working due to a downed internet connection.
What do you do?
If you don’t have data redundancy available for a back up, you’re out of business until you can get a hold of your internet service provider to figure out what’s going on. That means the loss of significant profit, not to mention sending unhappy customers out your door.
However, there is a way that you can prepare for this inevitable situation. Data redundancy is the most effective way to prepare for this kind of connectivity failure.
What is data redundancy?
Data redundancy is a backup contingency offered by some POS system providers. It will run your POS in the event of a server, network, or internet failure. When communication between the networks and your POS machines fail, your managers can quickly and easily set up your machines to run independently. Data redundancy enables your POS machines to use current inventory and an alternate server, or a limited back up integrated within the POS software.
What are my data redundancy options?
- Independent POS machines
There are POS systems designed so that each register may work independently from the main server or database until an internet connection is resumed. This feature is built into the devices and will either automatically, or manually, switch into an independent mode ensuring that you will be able to continue with your business transactions until connectivity is restored.
- Redundancy built into your hardware
If you’re looking into a custom POS system, vendors can actually build data redundancy features right into your POS hardware, such as alternate servers, continuous data back up, and mirrored hard drives. If you depend on the internet for connectivity, you can have VPN (virtual private network) routers available so that you may continue running your point of sale on a second, emergency connection.
- Additional credit card processing options
Another aspect of data redundancy that is important to consider is alternative, secure credit card processing. In the event that your internet fails, an automatic redundancy feature is available that uses a secure second modem to connect to dial up. You can also purchase additional routers to create your own VPN, improving the reliability of your network redundancy.
- Data back-up
Data back-up is vital. You should be doing back-ups daily, even if you are using the other data redundancy options above. Data back-ups can be scheduled to run automatically at the close of every business day. There are also cloud-based back office options available in which data backups can be automatically pushed and stored remotely by your service provider.
In order to keep your business running smoothing during those times when your system fails, data redundancy is vital. If making a profit is important to you, you should have a data redundancy back-up plan in place.