Do you know what you would do in the event of a catastrophic failure? Computer malfunction? Fire, flood, or earthquake? You might have a plan in place for your home – important documents backed up, in a fire safe, with an earthquake kit by the front door. But what do you do to prepare your business for internet outages, viruses, hackers, and complete computer meltdown?
IMPLEMENT A COMPREHENSIVE DATA PROTECTION STRATEGY
The data you accumulate in your business is extremely valuable. Keeping it safe should be a top priority. Point of Sale provides several methods to help you protect your data:
- By requiring employee logins and assigning security rights you can limit access to your data and program features.
- Changes that affect your inventory value (cost and quantity) are automatically tracked on transactional documents and adjustment memos, creating an audit “trail.”
- Backup copies of your company data can be made each time you run the End of Day procedure, automatically once each day when the Server Workstation exits the software, or at any scheduled time you specify. Additional protection can be gained by following a regular manual backup routine.
- Your data files are automatically checked for integrity and repaired if necessary as backups are made. This procedure is automatic and no user action is necessary.
- If you use the QuickBooks POS Merchant Service to process credit and debit card transactions, you must take measures beyond the general recommendations listed below to protect your customer’s card information. Refer to the electronic Implementation Guide inside of the QuickBooks Point of Sale Help Menu for assistance in using Point of Sale within an overall system that meets the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS)
General System and Network Protection
While the steps above are intended to protect your Point of Sale data, you should also be concerned about general system protection. Here are several more suggestions for protecting your data and the systems on your company network.
- Require password logins – Assign a unique username and password to each person in your company using Point of Sale. Each employee should have a unique user name and password for Windows and for Point of Sale. Point of Sale, like any Windows application, relies on security features within Windows. These features are most effective when each user on the system can be accounted for. With password protection set, access to your company file can only be granted with the assigned passwords. If you share your data file with an accountant or other business adviser, assign user names and passwords to them as well.
- Restrict Security Rights – Configure Point of Sale security rights appropriate for your business and the needs of your employees to access specific features and data. Point of Sale comes with four default security groups (sets of rights) and you can create custom groups as needed.
- Install and use anti-virus software – and keep it up to date!
- Install a network-based or PC-based firewall – If you install a firewall on your Internet connection, you can reduce the likelihood that uninvited persons will use the Internet to access systems on your network. Firewall products will help you to ensure that your computers only conduct the traffic you allow. Most major brands of anti-virus software also offer firewalls. Firewalls may have to be configured to allow Point of Sale to communicate between workstations on a network.
- Use Windows security and Windows Update – To obtain and install the latest security updates for your computer. Find out more about Windows security and Windows Update services from Microsoft at http://www.microsoft.com/security/.
Backup your data frequently to an external location – Keep backups of your data file in a safe location, preferably off-site. Keep your backups in a fireproof safe, or at a business records management facility.
- Install a UPS – A UPS (uninterruptible power supply) helps ensure data integrity in the event of a sudden power loss by providing a few critical minutes of backup power in which you can complete and save in-progress transactions. Without a UPS, these transactions are usually lost and, as with any software, the data file can become corrupt if disk-write operations were in progress when the power was lost. We recommend a UPS on each Point of Sale workstation, but most importantly on the Server Workstation which stores your data.
- Restart your computer at least a couple times a week. – Restarting or “rebooting” is how your computer cleans up the bits and pieces (i.e., files) of applications and data that inevitably get stranded in its memory and temporary file locations over time. Left to accumulate, these files eventually can cause conflicts as applications compete for your computer’s resources. Restarting occasionally wipes the slate clean and helps resolve these conflicts. We also recommend completely shutting down your computer at least once per week or anytime you are having hardware-related issues (leave it off for at least 15 seconds before powering on again).
-Resource suggestions from Intuit Point of Sale 11.0 Help Guide
As always, if you have any questions or would like more information on any of the recommended items above, give us a call at 844-4QBOOKS. (844)472-6657