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 in a central, internet-based location.
A number of companies provide online storage space linked to an integrated application that can be installed on multiple devices, allowing easy access to centralised data. Examples of these applications include Google Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft’s OneDrive. These applications generally install a folder on your local hard drive that is connected with your cloud storage space – so you can copy files to that folder and these will be automatically replicated on your cloud drive via an 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 cloud storage providers offer a limited, free service – a relatively small amount of cloud space (sometimes 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 folder as your default backup location when performing a Backup Data File in your Lynx Software program (this setting is in the Setup > Preferences screen of your Lynx Software program). The data backup will be copied to the local folder, and then automatically transferred to the cloud via your internet connection. Here is an example of what that folder path might look like: “C:\Users\POSLynx\Dropbox\Lynx Data Backups”.
However, there are a couple of points to keep in mind if you decide to use your cloud drive as your default data backup location:
- You need to note the limit of your online storage space to make sure that you don’t overfill it.
- If your cloud data is connected to multiple computers, the files you save will be replicated (by default) on each computer. If you have reasonably new computers with ample disk space, this shouldn’t be a problem. But be careful when installing a cloud service onto an older PC with limited space and resources.
Therefore, it might be beneficial to routinely clear out old backups, possibly copying these to a USB or external hard drive if you wish to 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 multiple “Cloud Drive” locations (also found in the Setup menu) 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 using the ‘Cloud’ function on the Reports screen, allowing you to refer to them from your web-enabled mobile device.
With the recent focus on the “war on waste” – the use of electronic copies of reports for meetings and presentations should also become standard practice for environmentally conscious businesses
Another useful feature in Uniwell Lynx and SharpLynx is that of configuring ‘Saved Reports’ and then exporting them automatically using the 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 to a shared cloud folder. 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 Uniwell Lynx reseller.