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Protecting your POS (Part 1)

Power is a good thing yeah?

When in business, and where your Point-of-Sale is concerned, you need it. But there can be times when power is unstable, unsuitable and unusable. During those times you want to make sure that you have power to run your system, but also to make sure that it is protected if there is a power issue elsewhere.

Thunderstorms and other issues can affect power supply and render your POS System useless. If you are in the middle of service with a restaurant full of people, how will you know what the bills are on their tables? Can you process their payments or will you have to hold them all to ransom until the power comes back? (don't do that).

It's important to remember that Point of Sale terminals are continually accessing databases on the terminal itself, and sending/receiving data on the network. This means that is the power fails at any point, data can be lost, or damage to the internals of the terminal can occur.

A basic piece of equipment that can help to alleviate power issues when these problems occur is a UPS, or Uninterrupterd Power Supply. It's basically a multi-point, surge protector and battery back-up all in one. They usually have anywhere between 4-6 power points, with half of these usually battery back-up and all of them surge protected.

What a UPS allows you to do when your business is blacked out is:

  • Finish the current sale
  • Print out all the bills so you can manually charge the customers the correct amounts
  • Shut down the POS Terminal correctly

Idealpos recommends a UPS with a 700 VA rating for POS terminals. This will provide protection and battery backup for enough time to get the data you require, and shut your terminals down safely. It's important to check your UPS after a storm to ensure they are still working correctly as after power surges and backups they could need to be reset or the battery replaced.