No More Passwords?
No one likes those clunky passwords we use at work, home, and online. And most of us tend to forget a lot of them, especially with auto-save features on so many platforms. But now there’s good news for forgetful web users with a new standard that could do away with your old passwords.
The World Wide Web Consortium is the organization that creates internet standards and arbitrates major disputes. They’ve approved a new protocol called “web authentication” which could soon replace traditional passwords online with things like USB keys, smart devices, or biometrics like face I.D. or fingerprints. The Consortium says passwords that are stolen, are too weak, or left as “default” are to blame for 81% of data breaches.
Now, if a site supports the new “web authentication”, you can get in using USB or biometric confirmation, with no need to type in a password, giving us a look at what a password-free world might look like.
Many big companies are already joining up to create new password-free authentication protocols led by Silicon Valley. Google has already replaced most of its password-driven security with a set of physical security keys to access computers, and it’s paying off big, eliminating breaches throughout the company. And experts say the technology has the potential to go even farther, with a set of standards possibly spurring innovation and lowering the cost of the devices to access sites without passwords. “Web authentication” is already enabled system-wide on Chrome OS and Windows 10, and on the most commonly-used web browsers, like FireFox, Chrome, and Safari. So if you’ve been wanting to ditch your passwords, we are almost there.
NCR Counterpoint Supports Windows 10.
It is getting harder and harder to find and install the tried and true Windows 7 operating system. And like Windows XP before it, it will soon be obsolete and unsupported. In comes Windows 10, which I see as a kind of mash between the best of Windows 7 with a feel of Windows 8. NCR Counterpoint versions 8.5.2 and above are certified for use with Windows 10. As with all changes, there is a little learning curve to Windows 10, and like the previous version of the Windows OS, there’s usually more than one way to accomplish the same task. Windows 10 aims to be more user-friendly by giving the user more of an On/Off or Yes/No type options depending on where you are making changes. There is still the old Control Panel as before, but Windows 10 has added the “PC Settings” which gives you more of an explanation of what you are trying to change and an option to search for a specific setting unlike the regular control panel. There are many other helpful and useful features in Windows 10 which can be found on the Internet. Before upgrading or replacing any equipment to run Windows 10, be sure to check your other hardware (i.e. printers, network cards, devices) that they are compatible or that the manufacturer has updated drivers that will work.
As mentioned NCR Counterpoint is Windows 10 ready, and NCR is now offering both the XR7 and XR5 all in one terminal with Windows 10 preinstalled.
For any question about running Windows 10 in your NCR Counterpoint environment, please call the CCS Retail Systems Support Department at 800.672.4806 or email us.
PC Cleaners/Registry Cleaners
Although I do not advise using these software’s regularly, there are times when they are useful. Over the years I have found that these registry and PC cleaners sometimes cause more harm than good. For example, I have run into systems where these tools are run regularly and have problems installing or re-installing software, some of these programs even boast about cleaning or completely uninstalling software, only to find out it has left the main directory in place preventing the re-installation, or it has left the Windows service installed causing the same thing.
Depending on what you are trying to accomplish with these “cleaning” programs, I have never seen one speed up my PC. The times I do use these cleaning programs is usually after either an infection or failed hardware. But some manual cleaning is always required.
If your PC needs “cleaning” I would recommend using the built-in or downloadable tools from the programs manufacture to clean a program up. Most hard to uninstall software has a “clean up” tool available from the makers to make your uninstallation easier and actually clean your PC.
If you have any support questions or concerns, please contact the CCS Retail Systems support department @800.672.4806 or email us at support
Backup, Backup, Backup – Do you have a backup plan?
Backups are just as important as any other task related to your business.
Do you know what you would do if your Server crashed and will not boot backup? Do you know how long it will take to be back up and running?
Having a good backup could make this stressful event seem like a “glitch in the matrix”
When CCS sets up your Counterpoint software, we also setup an internal backup of your database. Although this is a backup, it is not a failsafe against a disaster. These backups allow CCS (or your support team) to get Counterpoint back up and running quickly. But what it does not do, is get your Server backup and running. These backups are stored on the hard drive of your system, and if the hard drive is not recoverable, either are your backups. That is why it is a good idea to have full system backups to another device like an external hard drive or even an offsite or cloud service to help with a quick recovery.
CCS has recently been testing a cloud backup service called MSP Backup. It allows for full system backups as well a disaster recovery tools like Bare Metal Recovery, which helps with the restoration of full systems to brand new hard drives.
It also allows for granular recovery of specific files that may have been accidentally deleted or infected.
MSP Backups allow for you, the customer to also manage and start a backup at any time (although not always advisable), restore from a previous backup, download a full backup to keep safe and many other tools and reporting features.
If you are interested in setting up a backup plan, talking about backups or just to see what is available for your system, give the CCS Retail Systems Team a call or email us at support
NCR Counterpoint now supports “Quick Chip”!
What is Quick Chip?
Quick Chip for EMV allows customers to insert (dip) and remove their EMV chip card at checkout in about 2 seconds. They can even do so before the transaction is complete. This is similar to the “Swipe Any Time” feature in NCR Counterpoint.
Quick Chip is also meant to help the payment industry’s transition to EMV chip.
In order to use Quick Chip with NCR Counterpoint, you will need to be running version 220.127.116.11, have an Ingenico ISC250 payment terminal with the required firmware version, and an account setup and configured with NCR Secure Pay.
So if you are already processing EMV chip cards through your NCR Counterpoint software, all that should need to be done is update your software to 18.104.22.168 and update your payment terminal to the required firmware.
With the update to 22.214.171.124, you will also be able to accept Pin Debit transactions using the EMV technology as well. There are some processor specific restrictions for Pin Debit, so be sure to ask CCS about your current configuration.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact the CCS Retail Systems Support Department at 800.672.4806 or email us at support.
Summer Times Blues
Its summer time again, and it is time to check that your PC is nice and clean inside to prevent unwanted shutdowns and possible damage to your PC.
Cleaning out your PC is very easy to do, to begin with, you should purchase a couple of cans of compressed air. These can be purchased at most office supply stores, as well as Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Fred Meyer type stores. Once you have your compressed air, turn off your PC and unplug from the wall. You should remove the side of your case and blow out all of the dust that may be built up inside. Pay close attention to any fans and heat sinks as when the heat sink builds up with dust between the fins, it hampers the ability of it to cool properly causing strange problems to occur with your workstation.
Some symptoms of overheating are:
- Strange errors/blue screens
- A random shutdown of the computer
- Slow or non-responsive actions
If you need help with removing the case or would prefer a professional do the job, contact the CCS Retail Systems Support Department for help.
Staying Current on Your NCR Counterpoint Software.
With all the changes to security and PCI Compliance, it is a good idea to be and stay current on your NCR Counterpoint software. One example of why has just came to light recently.
To be PCI Compliant, the gateway which helps you process credit card transactions is being updated to support the latest encryption technology. With that update, your NCT Counterpoint software will also need to be updated. Not all version will be updated, but the latest version is almost always updated with a small patch or Service Pack which take only a few minutes to install. The older version of NCR Counterpoint (except two versions) will not be updated and will need to be brought up to a currently supported version of the software.
If you are running an older version of Counterpoint, there are a few things to consider. The first is to find out if your hardware and operation system will support both the updated version of Counterpoint and the new encryption technology being implemented. Second is time. Depending on what your current version is, the time it takes to upgrade can vary from 30 minutes to a few hours depending on how many workstations you have, how big of a jump from version to version you are going, and when you will be able to get the work done.
Although it is not always recommended to be on bleeding edge of technology, being somewhat current will save you time (and in return, money) on your next update.
Signature Capture Devices.
Would you like to have your customers signature show up on Invoices and Order printouts?
There are a couple devices that can be used to do this.
One is the Ingenico ISC250 Pin Pad, it combines a signature capture device, along with a Pin Pad and MSR for processing credit/debit card payments. It will capture the customers signature, which can then be used to print on receipts, invoice and order forms and also be looked up in ticket history without printing.
There is also the Topaz signature capture device. It will only capture the customer signature that can then be printed on receipts, invoices, and order forms.
The signature will not automatically print on the forms with these devices and will need to be added to the form of your choice.
The Topaz is a useful device if you are processing payments outside of Counterpoint (i.e. Standalone Credit Card Terminal), or would still like to capture signatures for A/R charge type sales/returns or any transaction that you set as requiring a signature.
There is a little setup required, and there are specific device models that can be used, so if you are interested, please contact the CCS Retail Systems Support or Sales Department at 800.672.4806 for help determining the right model for your system.
Physical Count Procedures and Equipment
It’s that time of year again, Physical Count Time, and having the right equipment will help with quick and accurate counts.
CCS used to advise using an Optimus SP5500 PDT to do counts. It is simple, quick, and easy to use. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued and although there are still a few out there, they are getting harder to find.
CCS has been testing many different devices and have finally found one that is even easier to use. It is the AML LDX 10. There are many features that can be used that the Optimus did not have.
For example, with the AML device, it can be programmed to only allow keypad entry only for quantities, which eliminates barcodes scanned in as quantities, the user interface is easier to read and bigger and brighter.
It runs a compact version of the Windows OS, so it will also be more familiar looking to your users. It also has a touchscreen interface with bigger buttons for ease of use.
It also has a programmable barcode scanner and is USB connected for easy installation. Downloading of the information is also much more user-friendly and intuitive and multiple files can be saved for downloading all at once or one at a time.
Reviewing your work is also much easier and intuitive with on-screen directions and buttons for deleting and editing.
If you are ready to get your Physical Counts done quickly, contact the CCS Retail Systems Support Department at 800.672.4806 or email us for pricing. We also have units available to rent with advanced notice.
I recently had a user ask me to notify NCR that a certain field in the customer table should be added as a search field because of how technology is advancing.
When this Counterpoint user added customers to their system, they were using the customer’s landline phone number as the customer account number. Fortunately, in Counterpoint besides having a landline phone number field there is a mobile phone number field.
With more people choosing to not have a landline anymore, this user wanted to use the mobile phone number as a lookup field and wanted to give their mobile technicians an easier way to look up their customers when away from the office.
This can be accomplished easily in NCR Counterpoint by adding the mobile phone number field as a “keyword” to be used during lookups. As a matter of fact, just about any field can be set as a keyword field to be used for lookups. Keywords can also be configured for item lookups, ticket history lookups, and most other table/field combination you need.
If you are not familiar with using some of the more advanced features of NCR Counterpoint, give the CCS Retail Systems Support department a call at 800.672.4806 or email us to help you make lookups more useful for you and your crew.