Preparing for the Holidays

Preparing for the Holidays

The weather is turning colder, the clock has returned to Standard Time, and the holiday season looms before us. Already I am seeing candy canes on display in supermarkets! This makes me wonder if you are doing the necessary preparations in your business to make sure this holiday season is well-organized and profitable.

What can you be doing right now to get ready? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Make sure your inventory is stocked sufficiently and numbers are accurate. Eliminate errors now that could cost you sales later!
  • See those products on display are all labeled. Customers find it annoying when prices aren’t readily available.
  • Add needed information on your receipts, like return policy.
  • Clean up the store and arrange displays for best customer visibility. Polish that glass front door.
  • Make sure you have on hand sufficient gift cards; these are always a favorite for holiday gift-giving!
  • Update/prepare to use your customer information to send flyers and emails to advertise holiday sales.
  • Install newer, faster hardware, like printers or scanners. Waiting until the last minute to take care of your business “tools” could become a real hassle once the season begins.
  • Make sure that your security system is up to date. Remember, this is prime time for unscrupulous scamming.
  • Arrange for new employees’ training now to avoid problems later.
  • Consistently back up all of your files in case of the unexpected, like power outages from winter storms, or malicious ransomware attacks.

We can help you with many of these preparations, (but we don’t do windows!). All it takes is a quick call to 485-672-4806, or you can email us. We’re here to help you have a great holiday season!


Passport Version 12.06 Update for July 2018

Passport Business Solutions
Passport Business Solutions

Passport Version 12.06 Update

With the release of PBS 12.06, Passport completes a major infrastructure project on field expansions begun with the version 12.05 release. Enhancements for PBS 12.06 will include:

  • Expanded field sizes for both the name and addresses in Customer, Ship-to, and Contact files.
  • Field expansions in A/R, O/E, POS and Customer Order Processing in PBS Manufacturing.
  • Professional Time & Billing fields expanded.
  • PO # expanded to 30 characters to accommodate Amazon, etc.
  • Approximately 12-14 Accounts Payable SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) reports have been created
  • Three new SSRS reports have been created to replace the previous standard reports for wholesale distributors.
  • Passport 12.06 includes a new runtime, version 10.2, so a fresh install will be required and the use of EZ Convert is required to migrate your existing data to the new format.

Currently, version 12.06 is being thoroughly beta tested in-house at Passport. A Limited release will begin mid-July, 2018 with general release anticipated to be available at the end of July 2018

Please consult the CCS Support department if you have any questions on the above release.

– John

The threat of Attack on Point-Of-Sale (POS) systems

The threat of Attack on Point-Of-Sale (POS) systems

In the retail world, the threat of attack on Point-Of-Sale (POS) systems is always high, as they are a prime target for the bad actors trying to get credit card information. There is always new malware being created to try to get that information. There are, however, steps that can be taken to reduce the risk, even with regards to the latest attack software.

The best thing that you can do is to isolate your servers and workstations as much as possible. In an ideal world, these would be completely isolated, and not interact with any other systems. The reality is that this is very rarely the case. With that in mind, let’s look at some things that can be done.

The first step is to make sure that your firewall is as restrictive as possible. Your POS workstations and server if needed should only be restricted to accessing what is absolutely needed. In most cases, this is only your credit card processor. In no case, should your firewall allow either the workstations or the server, unrestricted access to the internet? The firewall will eliminate the chance for drive-by downloads, or users browsing to malicious sites.

Along those lines, any computers that are used for general internet browsing, and also email, should be on a separate network. If it is not possible to implement workstations on a separate physical network, at least use a different logical network as in a different network address range. Even just the different logical network, will stop the majority of malware infections.

If remote access is needed, and it should be restricted to those cases where it truly is needed such as your support company, then it should be restricted to only those addresses that have a legitimate reason to connect. Also, any such connections should be closely monitored. One such method is to disable the remote access software, and only enable it when your support personnel is actively connecting. Of course, it is again disabled as soon as they are finished.

Those cover the basics of securing your POS system. It is a good place to start, but it is only a start. Keeping software updated, training personnel, and keeping vigilant are always key components, also.