28 Aug, 2018

Why Protecting Your Business Data is as Importantas Looking After Your Tills

In this Q&A with Tristan Dyer, H&L’s Tasmanian Manager, we discuss why paying attention to how your data is backed up at your venue is essential in today’s online environment. Tristan has been with H&L for 7 years and prior to he worked in IT. Every day he is involved in sales, technical work and training, with front line knowledge of the impact to hospitality venues if their business data is compromised.

Why is protecting your data as important as managing the money in your business?

“In reality, a large percentageof hospitality venues do not have sufficient back up of their business data and the risk of this is bigger than most people realise. Only a minority have proper back up plans in place which means that if they lose their data or it is corrupted, it can be restored in a timely manner minimising disruption to normal operations

Protecting this data and ensuring you have the right back up solution is as important as looking after your tills and making sure they are balanced at the end of the day. Your data has been hard earned after years of transactions – sales history, business transactions, stock history, customer preferences, order history and other contact details are all collected over a long period of time.

Your POS collecting data about your business constantly. It is this data that will help you grow. It identifies seasonal trends, weekly trends and product sales patterns that will help you define and develop targeted marketing strategies.

While installation of the software is quick, the loss of a database without a backup can drastically impact and reduce the ability to trade. It can take weeks or months to manually rebuild the database. Technical labour costs for the restoration can potentially be in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, all while having a reduced capacity to trade until the restoration is complete.”

What data is being collected by restaurants and pubs on a daily basis?

“Data is being captured that spans your entire business. Without backups you are a risk of losing both the extensive number of manually entered records you have set up, along with the data that is captured daily through use of the POS terminals and back of house software.”

This includes:

  • Your stock records and history including: Inventory and PLU records, Sales History, Purchase History, current Stock on Hand quantities and historical data, Current, Future and Promotional Pricing, Specials & Offers.
  • Your historical Revenue and Tender historical data including: Reportable revenue, Tax payable records, Banking totals, COGS and Profit percentages.
  • Current balances and historical transaction information for your Debtor accounts and Sysnet members.
  • Users, Suppliers, POS Keyboards, POS and System configurations.”

What are the risks and costs to the business of data loss that venue managers need to be aware of?

“H&L Provides the tools and means to enable you to perform backups both automated and manual. We are happy to provide advise and help setup your backups, but we are not responsible for ensuring backups are done. It is each venues responsibility to ensure they have an adequate backup strategy in place and to ensure this is being followed. 

The most common form of Data Loss is through hardware failure (primarily hard-drive failure) without sufficient backups. It is essential that you do not rely on backups saved to your Server's local hard drive. If this fails, you will lose both your database and you backup. If you have a Raid (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) hard drive configuration it will offer protection against hard drive failures, but it is not perfect. Raid can fail, so it important that you still maintain a backup of your H&L data.

An ever increasing risk to you data is from external threats which can erase, encrypt or corrupt your data. A common attack method, coined Ransomware, will encrypt your data and then demand payment to decrypt it. Payment however does not guarantee that they will decrypt it, or that the data will be complete or un-corrupted when you will get access to it again.

Physical theft or destruction is also arisk. To mitigate this, we recommend having both an on-site backup (for quick access - on a separate/removable hard drive or PC) and an off-site backup (on removable storage media or to a cloud-based solution). 

Software and hardware can be reinstalled or replaced but lost data with no backups is lost forever.”

Data loss is real, some venues have had to spend thousands to get their data back:

“The cost of data loss is both an immediate financial burden, plus a burden on your time and you staff's time for the duration of the required database rebuild. 

We have seen venues have spend several hundred dollars all the way up to and beyond $15,000 in labour to restore and rebuild their lost database. This exudes the time commitments they have to make personally to rebuilding and re-entering their missing data. 

During this repair and reconfigure phase, it has been painful to do business and has placed a large manual workload on staff which has had a ripple effect on the business. It has been difficult to make decisions in the business and has affected bottom line profit. In some instances it has even affected their ability to trade.

Even if you do infrequent or occasional backups, that may minimise the high initial costs of complete data loss mentioned above, there is still an intangible cost to consider. You will no longer have access to the historical data since you last backup, limiting your ability to make marketing and sales decision based on recent trends.”

What solution does HL provide to protect a venue’s data?

H&L’s Sysnet Solution includes functionality for one time backups (via the Processing application) or automated backups (via the SysnetBackup application and timeswitches).While backing up and your data is ultimately your responsibility, we would love to assist you with providing training and assistance to plan and setup a backup strategy suitable for your venue. 

Call your H&L Account Manager today to discuss a backup strategy in your venue

If you are uncertain of what backup processes you currently have in place or want to discuss the available options further, please contact your local H&L Account Manager. For immediate assistance performing a one-time manual backup, call our helpdesk on 1300 797 638.