WannaCry Ransomware Just Happened.

Is your POS Software leaving you Vulnerable?

Technology is exciting and has opened up a whole new world of possibilities right at our fingertips. The hospitality industry is no stranger to this, we now have so many options to replace the old POS terminal. Today we are faced with a fast-paced life of faster and better providing us with options like: tablets, mobile phones, cloud based options, integrated payment options and the list goes on.

 

While the hardware options are endless, what is often forgotten is the software we run our businesses on - with new technology comes new software.  Rewriting an entire software programme in a new language can literally take years and cost millions.  What most of us do not know, is how crucial this element actually is, this has again come to light last week with the whole world gripped in fear with the “WannaCry” Ransomware threat.

 

At FalconSoft we saw the problem coming and put in the effort, time and money to rewrite our software so that we are able to protect our clients and keep up with the constant change of technology.

 

What does this mean to our clients?

Just as we would not necessarily understand a chef explaining a 5 -course recipe to us so our clients don’t always understand the tech jargon given to them with regards to hardware and software specifications. We’ve put together a short summary to help you better understand the tech jargon, what it means and how to not be fooled by it.

 

Terms to watch out for, possibly putting you at Risk:

Microsoft Windows XP Operating System

This is an old operating system and support is no longer available from Microsoft putting you at risk.

Read more about this: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/14223/windows-xp-end-of-support

Microsoft Windows 7, 8 etc

“A day after a ransomware worm infected 75,000 machines in 100 countries, Microsoft is taking the highly unusual step of issuing patches that immunize Windows XP, 8, and Server 2003, operating systems the company stopped supporting as many as three years ago.”

Read more about this:

https://arstechnica.com/security/2017/05/wcry-is-so-mean-microsoft-issues-patch-for-3-unsupported-windows-versions/

Windows Foundation Server Software

This is not new technology at all and has been replaced by Microsoft Server 2016.

RAID1 Dual-drive hardware for Backup Purposes

Never rely on Raid as your only backup system! The problem with using this system is that it DOES NOT help you with protecting files in terms of corruption of applications, operating systems or viruses! If your disk becomes corrupted for whatever reason the corruption will affect both mirrored copies. RAID protects you from hard drive failures, not data corruption. Only regular backups can safe guard you should data become corrupt.

What FalconSoft Uses:

Microsoft Windows 10 Technology and Security

Our software is fully developed for Microsoft Windows 10.

“Designed to be the most secure Windows yet. Addressing today’s threats requires a new approach, one that engineers the attack vectors out of the platform itself and quickly detects and responds to the ones that remain.”

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsforbusiness/windows-security

Microsoft SQL Server 2016 SP1 for database services

SQL SERVER 2016 Features & Benefits, Industry Leader in Mission Critical Capabilities:

  • Scale up to 12TB of memory and 640 logical processors with Windows Server 2016.
  • Reach up to 30 x faster transactions and 100 x faster queries with enhanced in-memory performance.
  • Run real-time Operational Analytics over transactional data.

Security & Performance:

The multi-layered approach to security has a proven track record of producing the least vulnerable database, even while being the most widely-used database on the planet.

  • Rely on a database with the least vulnerabilities of any major platform—six years in a row.
  • Protect data at rest and in motion with TDE and new Always Encrypted.

Solid State Drives (SSD)

Falcon uses SSD hard drives in servers and POS terminals, which has a far lower failure rate than traditional hard drives. POS Data gets backed-up to the Server, POS terminals as well as the cloud.

Visual Studio 2015 (soon to upgrade to VS2017)

Falcon uses an Integrated development environment. Microsoft Visual Studio is an integrated development environment (IDE) from Microsoft. It is used to develop computer programs for Microsoft Windows, as well as web sites, web apps, web services and mobile apps.

If you feel your current POS Software might be leaving your vulnerable, feel free to contact us – we’ve got you covered!

 

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Ransomware

Ransomware - Say What?

 

Technology is a wonderful thing but honestly, just as you think you have it covered something new and frightening comes along. Three of our clients have fallen prey to some form of Ransomware in the last year and I am sure they will tell you it is not something you want to take a chance with.

So, Ransomware what exactly is it?

Ransomware is malicious software that cyber criminals use to hold your computer or computer files for ransom, demanding payment from you to get them back. Sadly, ransomware is becoming an increasingly popular way for malware authors to extort money from companies and consumers alike. There is a variety of ransomware can get onto a person’s machine, but as always, those techniques either boil down to social engineering tactics or using software vulnerabilities to silently install on a victim’s machine. Read more about this on the Eset website

https://www.welivesecurity.com/2013/12/12/11-things-you-can-do-to-protect-against-ransomware-including-cryptolocker/

 

Prevention is better than cure

Yes, our mother’s and grandmother’s all told us this as children but in most cases as in this one it really is true. So how exactly can you go about protecting yourself and your business against nasty little critters of this kind?

 

Back up your data

It is crucial that you keep a regular back up of your data. Should you fall victim to Ransomware it will make things a lot easier to get your system restored and up and running in the shortest amount of time possible and ensuring as little data as possible is lost. We recommend making use of an external storage device or saving a backup on a cloud drive.

 

Update your Software

We have said this before but we will say it again, make sure that your Microsoft Windows Software is up to date. Install the updates required on a regular basis. Authors of these kinds of malware will rely on all areas of vulnerability and if your software is outdated this just makes you more susceptible to an attack.

Either way, if you’re running Windows 7 or above then you’re safe from this round of exploits as long as you’ve applied all updates from Windows Update. If you’re still running Windows XP or Windows Vista then it’s time to look at something more modern as you’re open to these security flaws and many more that will remain unpatched and exploited. – Read more about this on The Verge website http://www.theverge.com/2017/4/15/15311846/microsoft-windows-shadow-brokers-nsa-hacks-patched

 

Encrypted files and attachments

Be vigilant when opening any attachments. We need to listen to our mother’s advice of telling us not to talk to strangers. If someone sends you an email with an attachment and you don’t know them or the email looks suspicious delete it. For this same reason if you send someone an attachment, say who you are and what it is that you are sending them it is just good etiquette.

 

Security Software

It is vitally important to make sure your system is running on reputable security software. With all these nasty little critters around, and us always being active on the internet I’m afraid some free version of software is just not going to cut it! Invest in a decent product, we recommend ESET Security/Anti-Virus Software.

 

If after all of this you are left feeling overwhelmed and not sure what to do, gladly call us and we will help you strengthen your system against all these nasty cyber-attacks!

 

 

 

 

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Why Mobile POS for Restaurants Will Change Your Life

Most people have a natural resistance to change, unfortunately this is also largely applicable to software. The fact is, we need technology to help us do more with less effort. To achieve this, we require faster ways to get the job done. This technology is mostly available using the latest operating systems like Windows 8 and 10. Although touch screen technology has been used for the past 10 years in point-of-sale systems, it is now becoming very popular, useful and available in all tablets.

The benefits of mobile devices are endless, having your POS system available, literally in the palm of your hands makes taking orders from your clients effortless saving you time and money. Enjoy all the same features of the POS system on a handheld device. One of our clients operating a group of 5 restaurants implemented the tablet POS 2 years ago and his feedback was that he reduced his staff by 20% and increased his turnover by 30% and initially he had a problem because the kitchen could not keep up – now that is a “problem” we would all like to have?

Mobile Tablets

Stock take for managers done on tablets ensures you are mobile and able to move around freely and is so convenient that once you start implementing a system like this, you will wonder how on earth you managed without it. Capture invoices as a delivery takes place, add the stock, control your stock level, order new stock and even transfer your stock if you have multiple store rooms. Adding devices such as a Barcode Scanner or Data Collector if you have a large storeroom or multiple storerooms are worthwhile investments to make your life even that much more convenient freeing up your time to spend on other needed tasks.

Mobile devices for stock take

As Brandon Fluharty mentioned in an article: “we see the millennial generation being mentioned in an article or blog post everywhere you look. They fundamentally act, behave and consume differently than any other generation, and technology is at the heart of almost everything they do. It is millennials who likely make up the majority of your staff and are certainly the next crop of consumers to engage with if you want your restaurant to enjoy longevity.”

This bring me to the wait staff at restaurants, technology is easy for them and most own a smartphone so why not have the POS installed on their smartphones making it easy for them to serve clients at the table? We have done this and implemented it with great success. No costly expenses of purchasing terminals, tablets or iPads, no security risk on the part of the restaurant owner or manager. Waiters are activated at the beginning of their shift and deactivated at the end of their shift by a manager – it really is that simple!

Smartphones for POS

Technology can be frightening but it is definitely not something to avoid and everyone that has taken the step into this new direction agrees after a short time, that it was the right thing to do.

As Arthur C Clarke quoted: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic.”

Let us help you get that magic in your restaurant, contact us today to get Falcon Mobile POS!

 

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The ever changing world of technology and why this is important for POS Software

I will start by quoting a piece off our website “They say hindsight is 20/20 which means that we don’t always see the moment for what it is when we’re in it” This is especially true when it comes to the modern world of point-of-sale technology. Everything needs to be done faster and more efficiently and software and hardware technology around us is changing every day whether we like it or not. We have seen the necessity in keeping up to date in this ever changing world, one example is the upgrades of the Microsoft operating systems and the problem of having any POS software run on their XP operating system. You may ask yourself “but my system is running perfectly?” The answer is simply, yes, however Microsoft has stopped their support on Windows XP. If you are still running Windows XP, your system you will be open to a world of problems that you honestly should avoid at all necessary costs.

Point of sale systems have revolutionized the restaurant industry and technology is moving business forward. In the most recent technologies, registers are computers with touch screens and now the new trend of mobile devices such as iPad’s or tablets. The rise of phone-based payments (Zapper, Snapscan) and increasing prevalence of interactive displays will fundamentally change how retailers, restaurants, and all other physical stores will accept payment. In short if you are a retailer who refuses to upgrade your point of sale approach, it is quite possible you will be left behind in a world consisting of calculators, receipts and endless late nights of inventory checks. We aim to provide our clients with a user-friendly system enabling you to bring your business forward in the 21st century, here’s how we can do that for you:

Easy, user-friendly POS

Your wait staff are essential to the effectivity of your business and our aim is to provide a simple solution for your restaurant in order to make it as easy and effective for them to perform their daily tasks: Sales item buttons can be colour coded or consist of images and the layout of the buttons can be organised to speed-up operations, 5 kitchen order printers with notifications, item and table transfers for table changes and bill splitting, free-hand and quick kitchen prep notes to handle any clients requests, multiple payment for cash, cheques, credit cards, vouchers, SnapScan, Zapper, tips and much more.

The back end of your business is just as important and any time-saving features for a manager or owner are essential. Let’s look at a few ways we can do this for you: specials can easily be set up by selecting a specific day and time period, out-of-stock control which is very easy and effective, easy compilation of recipes with modifiers, speed buttons to save you time when having to enter duplicate information, an easy debtor system for charging to accounts for clients and staff, secure access and void functionality, real-time reports, a comprehensive cash-up system with full recon between sales and money received. The comprehensive Falcon POS system with multiple user levels, pricing controls, ticket handling, order routing, menu management, and reports, will give you increased control over your restaurant operations.

Stock Control

There are a few key aspects to inventory management: knowing how much you have, how much you have sold and how much you need. In the past this inventory management required a lot of counting, balancing of all your paperwork, guesswork and most definitely some frustration along the way. Our aim is to streamline this process by making it as easy as possible and more time effective for you.

Technology has provided us with wonderful equipment to streamline this process such as mobile barcode scanners, simply scan your products barcode and add the amount of stock. Supplier purchases are easily captured by invoice to update your stock and accounting controlling your quantities and stock prices. A few other key essentials we provide are; real-time Gross Profit analysis, real-time stock on hand with order make-up on demand and specialized daily stock control systems for liquor control in the bar.

If inventory management isn’t reason enough for you to upgrade your POS system perhaps reward methods will persuade you.  Reward programmes most definitely lure customers and for that reason alone having a POS system that can accommodate this makes a lot of sense.  Loyalty cards for members or customers is a very popular way to reward members with certain benefits. An integrated voucher system can also be set up and used to reward loyal customers or members.

24/7 Support

As a business owner, we understand that there is very little time that you actually get to ‘check out’ of your business so we have provided the convenience of cloud computing for you to check all the necessary analytics of your business from the comfort of your home.

The other inevitability is that your POS system is most probably going to malfunction at some point, most likely at the worst possible time, that unfortunately is the nature of technology. With our customer support we are committed to reply swiftly, regular maintenance and development is also required in order to preserve the value and longevity of software over time, we ease this process for our clients with round-the-clock support and a commitment to extending the life-cycle of systems.

We understand technology can be frightening but it really doesn’t have to be. The future is now and technology can make the running of your business easier than ever, let us help you do just that!

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