What kind of data does a restaurant or retail store stores. Master data of supplier, manufacturer, vendor, item and customer, as well as data of transaction history, ordered item history, and customer history makes the most of the data stored by retail point of sale systems. How much is this data worth of and how much will you be willing to pay if you lost it and could buy it back? The data is definitely important and any retailer wouldn’t want to lose it.
But retailers and restaurants pay little attention to keeping a backup of this data. The realization of its significance comes often after an event of losing it. Often, in the beginning data is not big enough to be bothered about. The data gets bigger pretty soon and management gets busy often overlooking this process. Thus the backing up of data should be planned from the beginning. That’s why most point of sale systems have some or the other kind of data backup facility enabled from the beginning.
Even after using a backup – system data can still be lost. Either the auto-enabled backup mechanism is turned off for some or the other reason or users didn’t understand the mechanism properly and with some issue in the background the back-up was halted. So, in this series I will discuss about backups.
There are three types of backups: cold, warm and hot. A warm backup is one where backup happens periodically. Whereas a hot backup makes regular updates and data is in stand-by mode ready to take over immediately if failure occurs in the main system.
The backup common to retail or restaurants is offline backup, also called cold backup. In this, the dat is backed up when the system is not using data or in other words the database is offline. It is a safe and error free method but can be done in off-hours.
In a cold backup the data is saved in another disk on another server generally. It is not feasible for small businesses for maintaining a separate server. But having data on the same server is risky as when the server fails backup will also go. . So, we have alternative system, where data can be stored to another server, which is provided by the point of sale vendor at their own location and connected to users by internet. The vendor will have all its clients’ data in one place and can therefore afford a very good system for backup with high level of security.
Yet better is a cloud based pos. In such a system, like in the case of CirQ Point of Sale, the data is in cloud with a reputed cloud-service provider. The service providers are generally IT and software giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, etc. The backup can’t be said whether it is real-time or periodic, first because the data itself is in cloud not just the backup and further because it’s totally “their” concern how they do it; you must be provided data whenever you want! Isn’t that what is expected from them?
Further, Cold backups have advantages that they are unaffected by malware, security breach, power surges, etc. and ensures a consistent backup. It is of course not usable for a system that requires 24/7 operations.
Another in-house way to do in-house backups is to use a simple USB storage and take back-ups manually from the point of sale system, which must have facility to import and export data. The external drive should be kept safely and will be required to be connected to the main system if backed up data is required.