Forget POS – think EPOS!
- January 5, 2016
It’s all very well having installed a POS system a few years ago or possibly scoured the Internet and found a POS app but are you sure that you are happy that you’re getting a complete all-round service and that you are keeping up to date not just with hardware and software but with the ever-increasing problem of your security and your clients’ security?
A few years ago, the concept of cyber security was certainly present but not at the forefront of most people’s thinking. You could not fail to notice that even governments and banks whose security levels we can only dream about have been hacked and confidential information has been leaked to the press and the Internet.
As a retailer it is probably true to say that the security of your POS system is not the number one item on your list. You have selling and buying and stock keeping etc at the forefront of your mind. That creaky old POS system they installed five or more years ago is not as invulnerable as it once was to malicious cyber attacks from anyone ranging from your competition to a 15-year-old youth sitting in his bedroom with nothing better to do than to annoy people with any sort of computer system.
In addition, as a retailer, you must have a responsibility to your clients and you need to remain legally compliant because you may be holding confidential information on your POS system.
Your security is not just a function of the equipment and all the software that you have but it is also totally reliant on who you have employed to look after your system in the event of a breakdown or the odd glitch. If you are using a reputable and well-established POS supplier or distributor, then there’s little problem because just like you, they have their own reputation to look after.
However if you decided to install your own system or you do not have a maintenance plan with a reputable supplier, you are no doubt relying on a third party for support. If you are relying on an individual or a small unproved company to look after your POS system, are you 100% happy that they will never hack into your system?….. In fact, if you think about it they wouldn’t even have to hack your system because every time you have a problem and invite someone to come round to check your system you are actually opening the front door to them and laying bare all your client records, all your ordering records, and even all your accounting.
There may be a time when you realise that relying on some technician that you happen to know or that someone has recommended may be a false economy in the long run. You are running what is potentially quite a complex technological computer system and the last thing you want to do is to make it vulnerable.
This may sound terribly obvious but if you’re going to be buying a cheap system or software that you’ve blundered into on the Internet, be careful of malware which has been known to be delivered together with what looks like perfectly innocuous POS software. That also means that you should ensure that your antivirus and anti-malware software is completely up-to-date.
The other thing I think worth mentioning is that there is an inevitable market developing in second-hand ( pre-used) POS systems. There isn’t much advice I can give you about those except to possibly say avoid them like the plague!
Yes, the initial outlay may seem more cost-effective, but what if you’re buying a system that is totally susceptible to malware or which is possibly already infected.
A good POS system will not only enhance your business and used correctly increase your turnover and profit but the opposite is also true. If you try and cut corners at the outset, a badly constructed or conceived POS system can kill your business.
A recent study has shown that not only are people beginning to buy second-hand and second rate POS systems but the systems which they already own – which may have been state-of-the-art when they had them installed – are updated far too infrequently. Obviously that increases not only the systems vulnerability but your business vulnerability.
If you have a system which is for instance storing credit card details you need to make sure that not only does it work properly but that it is absolutely compliant. You can only achieve this by using an established POS company to look after your system.
Compliance is one of those words which has crept into the business language in the last 20 years. It is absolutely vital when dealing with third party information that a retailer or merchant using a computerised POS system, not only keeps up-to-date but wherever possible is working with a supplier who is anticipating what is going been needed in the mid-to long-term to maintain your system’s integrity and efficiency.
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