retail software

Protecting your business against ransomware

Since the new year a spate of businesses has reported unprecedented levels of attempted ransomware intrusions. In 2016 nearly 3,000 businesses fell victim to ransomware and some estimates suggest one in every 30 businesses will be targeted each year. Sadly, at GaP we are seeing a growing number of business falling victim to these scams which could be easily avoided through simple security protocols.

 

What it is

 

Commonly known as a crypto locker virus, it is a ransomware file which accesses a computer or network through and .EXE file disguised as an authentic .PDF file, usually a bill or letter from trusted brands such as Telco’s, utilities providers or Australian Post. Once opened the virus will encrypt and lock every file it can access then display a message demanding payment to unencrypt the files. Top IT experts agree that in most cases it is impossible or unfeasible to ignore the malware and attempt to unencrypt the files manually. Unsurprisingly many victims state that even after paying the ransom their files remain encrypted

 

How to avoid being infected

 

Whilst the software which encrypts your files is incredibly advanced the method in which it infects is almost rudimentary. Without someone opening the malicious file the ransomware cannot gain access to a computer or network. To avoid falling victim to a crypto lock scam businesses should follow these steps;

 

·      Regularly back up data to an external location such as a backup service or external drive. Importantly the drive must not be assigned a drive letter or be connected when not performing backups.

 

·      Ensure all operating software is updated as required and your anti-malware software is current.

 

·      Educate all employees with access to email accounts on the dangers of ransomware, how they work and how they are disguised.

 

·      Ensure employees who handle accounts are aware of accounts which will send invoices and correspondence vis email

 

·      Avoid suspicious downloads, especially torrent downloads, even from apparently “safe” locations.

 

·      Re-enable the ability for your mail account to show hidden file extensions. Microsoft’s default behavior is to hide known file extension, meaning suspect looking files can be masked. Furthermore, you can set your email to filter and block specific files, such as (.EXE) executables

 

Why pick a cloud based point of sale & back office system?

 

In today’s tough retail market vendors must actively embrace cutting edge technology to ensure business viability and success. Cloud based point of sale and back office systems provide the greatest return on investment and “bang for your buck” by embracing the resource pooling concept to allow retailers far greater efficient and effective options compared to traditional systems. The following aspects of cloud technologies distinguish the benefits of installing such a system.

 

Mobility

 

Cloud based software was born out of the increasingly mobile society of today. The recent advancements in e-commerce and retail technology mean that businesses have been able to vastly expand their geographical reach. By employing a cloud based back office system, retailers can manage every aspect of trade from off site, or from a head office for multisite vendors.

 

With a cloud based POS system, owners and managers will find a far greater level of flexibility by being able to utilize countless wireless devices, such as tablets and smartphones, as mobile points of sale. With enhanced options for POS retailers can expect to see improved customer satisfaction, especially in peak service times.

 

Integration

 

The integration of loyalty programs and the ability to capture consumer information gives owners and managers the power to identify real time opportunities and create campaigns, rewards or incentives with a few simple clicks to realise and maximise the potential of the opportunity.

Cloud solutions with RESTful API’s will easily integrate with third party software and apps to streamline and simplify accounting, ordering, marketing and forecasting. By automating and integrating across all aspects of a business, owners and managers can spend less time on tedious yet necessary tasks.

Security

 

Contrary to popular opinions cloud infrastructure can be as secure as legacy systems, in fact 64% of IT professionals reported that cloud solutions are actually more secure. Data breaches relating to cloud systems are almost always related to human error and usually result from entry via a third party vendor. The heightened concern relating to cloud security has actually seen vast improvements in security, meaning cloud based solutions will almost certainly provide you the greatest bang for your buck security wise.

 

Greater ROI

 

As mentioned earlier, by utilizing resource pooling to mitigate costs, cloud solutions have been shown to provide a 2.1 return on investment compared with on premise solutions. Lower initial and ongoing costs as well as a 91% drop in energy usage costs for a comparable on premise system make it hard to overlook a cloud based system.

 

Less Downtime

 

By choosing to go with a managed cloud solution, retailers will benefit from greater consistency and reliability. On premise IT infrastructure is expensive to maintain and extremely costly in periods of outages. Most cloud providers offer Service Level Agreements which stipulate 24/7 availability, whilst outages may still occur with a cloud solution, failover mechanisms on servers can quickly transmit hosted applications via other available servers.

 

Questions to ask?

 

When exploring your options for cloud based POS/BO you will invariably discover numerous providers. To help choose the right solution here are the four questions you must ask before making your selection.

 

1.     Can the cloud solution be scaled up to meet increased demand and business growth?

 

2.     What support and after sale service does the provider offer?

 

3.     What is the provider’s history of downtime, have any major issues occurred with their solution?

 

4.     How secure is my data and what happens in the event of a disaster?

 

GaP Solutions is an industry leader in retail POS software and hardware, offering tailored solutions for industries such as grocery, fresh produce, fuel and liquor amongst others. Visit ezipos.cloud for more information on point of sale and back office systems