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How to extend the life of your existing POS investment

Point of Sale solutions are a significant investment that sit at the heart of the in-store customer experience. The performance and availability are paramount to the overall profit and customer satisfaction of each retail outlet. As such, it can be argued that, any limitations of the POS hardware, or any changes to the provider’s support, can significantly affect the retailer. Replacing the POS hardware across hundreds or thousands of stores can be extremely costly. Furthermore, any downtime in-store can negatively impact the customer experience, leading to frustrated consumers, and a loss in revenue.

It is for this reason that retailers must walk a fine line between store efficiency, and overall cost in funds and time – more so than most other industries. This blog explores the salient challenge for retailers, as well as the solution for extending the life of one’s POS investment.

The Microsoft support lifecycle is changing

In 2016, Microsoft made a change to the life-cycle of the Windows operating system for Windows Embedded POSReady 7, Microsoft’s operating system designed for Point of Sale devices, resulting in end of life support on October 12, 2021. For those running POSReady 2009, the date is even earlier, on April 9th 2019. After POSReady 7 Extended Support ends, Point of Sale computers.

Retailers with legacy POS hardware terminals purchased prior to 2014 should closely examine which generation of processors their POS uses. Those that have Intel or AMD processors manufactured in the last 6 years or so will NOT be able to upgrade to 32-bit Windows 10. With no supported upgrade path to 32-bit Windows 10 many retailers are faced with either costly POS hardware and/or software upgrades.

While this may suit some retailers’ IT road-map and investment plans there are many that are seeking a secure way to extend the life of their existing POS hardware investment. Importantly, retailers want their investment cycles to be driven by business sand customer needs, not external supplier strategy.
The compliance implications of this change are significant. In section 6.2 of PCI-DSS version 3.2, all system components and software must be protected from known vulnerabilities by installing applicable vendor-supplied security patches. Critical security patches must be installed within one month of release.

If a vendor no longer supports an application or operating system, then there will be no software patches available. In this circumstance, it is no longer possible to use the software and still be PCI-DSS compliant without appropriate compensating controls. Without action, this will be the situation for impacted POS systems from 2021. Given that a planned upgrade for large retailers can run for 18 to 24 months, prompt action will be required.

Point of Sale devices running POSReady7 will soon be at risk

Are you prepared?

The Zynstra Solution

Zynstra has devised a solution to extend the life of POS Terminals beyond the date of Microsoft Windows Embedded POSReady 7 end of life.

Zynstra Virtualized POS virtualizes the combination of POS application software and operating system on a standard server. A long term supported lightweight Linux operating system is run on the POS terminal with sufficient software to connect the POS Terminal and all of its peripherals to the virtualized version of the software.

The POS Terminal runs an RDP client so that the original POS software interacts with the user through the screen of the original POS Terminal. The user interface on the POS screen remains exactly the same so there is no new training required for the store associate. Uniquely, Zynstra’s Virtualized POS integrates all peripherals, including printers, cash drawers, magnetic stripe readers, barcode scanners, check readers and ancillary displays, with full PCI-DSS compliance.

By decoupling the hardware from the software retailers no longer suffer from Windows vendor support deadlines, ensuring long-term compliant software while extending the life of their existing POS investments.

If you believe some of your POS systems may be at risk, there are a number of key questions that you must answer to determine the impact and possible solution to this challenge.

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