Retailers: Are your computers ready for Black Friday?

Retailers: Are your computers ready for Black Friday?

Black Friday is one of the most consumer-centric annual events in the world. Only hours after having their appetites for food sated, many Americans willingly wait in long lines through the wee hours in an effort to capitalize on a sales extravaganza. Upon the opening of the doors, a number of brick-and-mortar retailers can expect nothing less than a stampede through their bargain-laden vestibules. No doubt, employees have been planning for the chaos, and have prepared the physical layout to maximize shopper mobility, and hopefully, to make the process of cleaning up after them a little less daunting.

That said, staff must also prep their digital resources for the impending madness and have a plan to tie up any loose cyber ends once the tsunami of shoppers has passed. Here are a few pointers that may help retailers keep their computing environments maintained on Black Friday.

Update everything

Updates are especially important for point-of-sale systems, self-checkout kiosks and display computers. It is important that retailers have updated the basic software on all their machines in order to preemptively defend against any new security exploits. The last thing a retailer touting deals on its laptops needs is for their display units to become infected on the busiest shopping day of the year.

More importantly, all POS units will be running at full capacity, and continuously throughout the day. To avoid glitches, make sure the operating systems are up to date. This is extremely important given the recent discovery of multiple new forms of POS memory-scraping malware. Over the course of four days in 2012, shoppers spent an estimated $59 billion, according to CNN. This is a lot of customer payment data that could potentially be stolen should a store’s POS system be hit with malware.

One of the easiest ways to ensure that software across the retail computing environment is up to date is through a cloud-based tool with software updating capabilities. A system administrator can easily push updates to multiple machines with this type of solution.

Be prepared to run a system restore

In order to preserve computers that may be used at self-checkout kiosks, customer service stations or at the POS, retailers should consider the use of application whitelisting software. System administrators can hereby keep needed applications up and running, and even allow some leeway for new software downloads (which may be useful for computer display units), while ensuring that malicious or faulty software that can be leveraged to steal payment data cannot be installed. Application access control can go a long way on a busy day like Black Friday.

Still, all the preparations in the world won’t guarantee that systems will be running as well at the end of the day as they were at the beginning of the day. The only real way to ensure that all the computers in a retail environment are as they were before the hoards of consumers overran the store – tedious though it may sound – is to perform a system restore of each and every unit.

Fortunately, reboot to restore software such as Faronics Deep Freeze does exactly what the name suggests. Rather than manually going in and cleaning up virtual messes made by customers, a system administrator essentially needs to only hit the reboot button to make everything as it was.

Black Friday is a messy affair, but it doesn’t have to soil your store’s computing environment thanks to reboot to restore software.

About The Author

Suzannah Hastings

Suzannah is interested in all things digital, from software security to the latest technological advances. She writes about ways in which the increasingly internet-driven landscape and windows technologies like steady state alternative that change our lives, and what we can expect in the future.

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