Are You Taking Advantage of the ‘Cloud’?

In recent years the advent of online data storage, dubbed the ‘Cloud’, has enabled many computer users to backup their data, view information or even run some applications that are stored on a central, internet based location.

As a related service, a number of companies provide online storage space integrated with an application that allows easy access to the stored data.  Examples of these applications include Microsoft’s SkyDrive, NortonZone by Symantec or Dropbox.   These applications generally install a folder on your local hard drive that is connected with your ‘cloud’ space – so you can copy files to that folder and these will be automatically transferred to the ‘cloud’ via your internet connection.

The benefit of these applications is that you can then install the app to another computer or mobile device and, after providing your Username and Password, the other device will be connected to the same online storage space.  Why is that such a good idea?  It means that you can place information on your ‘cloud’ storage space that you wish to share with other devices or users and they can access that information automatically, as soon as it gets transferred to the ‘cloud’ from your computer.

Many of these ‘cloud’ storage providers offer a free service – a small amount of cloud space (often up to 2Gb).  Users can then opt to add more space, usually for a monthly fee.  Therefore, you can effectively have a 2Gb off-site ‘cloud’ drive at no cost.

How Can Lynx Software Users Benefit from the ‘Cloud’?

1.  Backing Up Your Lynx Software Data File

One very beneficial use of ‘cloud’ storage space is for data backup.  Having a regular backup routine for your Lynx Software data file is critical.  Because online storage applications have a local folder on your computer that they use as the transfer point to your ‘cloud’ drive, you can select that as your database backup folder when performing a Backup Data File in your Lynx Software program.  The data backup will be copied to the local folder, and then automatically transferred to your ‘cloud’ drive by the online storage application.  Here is an example of what that folder path might look like: “C:\Users\POSLynx\Dropbox\DataBackups”.

It is important to remember that if you decide to use your ‘cloud’ drive as your Default Backup location (selected in the Preferences screen of your Lynx Software program), you need to keep in mind the limits of your online storage space (particularly if you use a free service) to ensure that you don’t overfill it.  It might be beneficial to routinely clear out old backups, possibly copying these to a CD/DVD so that you can retain the files.

2.  Sending PDF Reports for viewing on mobile devices

Most online storage applications have an Android and/or Apple app that allows a mobile device to access your ‘cloud’ drive.  Lynx Software now allows you to set up a “Cloud Drive” location (also found on the Preferences screen) and gives you the option on your Reports screen to send a PDF report to that online storage location.  For example, you may want to attend a business meeting and rather that have reams of paper reports, you can send a series reports to refer to from your web-enabled mobile device, using the ‘Cloud’ function on the Reports screen.

Another exciting feature is that of generating preconfigured ‘Saved Reports’ automatically (via email or ‘cloud’ drive) using Lynx Software’s Scheduled Jobs feature.  For instance, a Scheduled Job can be set up to run an ‘Item Sales for Last Week’ and a ‘Reorder Report’ at 6am on a Monday morning and transfer these reports as PDFs to your ‘cloud’ drive.  The store manager can then have access to this critical data without needing to go the computer that Lynx Software is operating on.  It might also be the case that the store manager is not rostered on at that time, but wishes to view reports off-site so as to be able to convey instructions to other staff members.

Make sure you give thought to whether these features would benefit you and your business.  If you would like further assistance in setting up these features, please contact POSLynx or your Lynx Software reseller.

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