In today's world of cloud computing, it's extremely convenient to have data and functionality easily available on any device. But that asset can, on rare occasions, become a liability if something happens and the system goes down. It doesn't matter if you're a giant like Amazon or Ebay or if you're a small business trying to make your way; if your system goes down, it can seriously hurt your business.
So how do you keep doing transactions if your internet or the Rain system itself is experiencing an outage? Below are a couple of options.
Before we get into that, it's also important to understand the nature of cloud computing and its reliability. Like many of the best online systems, the Rain system experiences only a handful of 'down hours' yearly. It doesn't matter what the company is or how big: everyone experiences down time for a wide variety of reasons. Denial of service cyber attacks are a growing concern, where foreign hackers assault global servers to overwhelm them with fake data requests. Hardware outages or system architecture glitches can also be responsible for downtime, so you should expect for your system to have several hours of down time per year, and some of those hours are likely to hit you during your open business hours.
Similarly, Internet Service Providers also experience down time, so if your service provider experiences an outage in your area, that can cause similar hardship during your open hours.
Best Option for Internet Outage: Use Your Smartphone as a Mobile Hotspot Device
If your internet service provider goes down, it is likely you already have an alternate network in place that can give you temporary internet service until your regular system comes back online. All major cellular data service providers offer tethering apps you can use directly on your phone to turn it into a wireless internet connection. They also provide devices that do this service even better using your cellular account. Please refer to the resources below for how to set up your phone as a mobile hotspot:
Best Option for a Rain System Outage: Use Your Processor's Virtual Terminal, Record Transaction Details
So the good news is that if the Rain system does go down, you still have a way to take card payments online so you can continue to conduct business throughout the outage. You will have to do some things manually, however. You'll need to record the following details for each transaction so you can create the transactions in the system once it's back up and running (Please Note: Do not ever write down a customer's card information! This represents a significant security risk):
- Customer Name
- Time / Date of Transaction
- Items in Transaction
- Method of Payment
- Amount of Payment / Change Given
- Email Address - Be sure to email them a copy of their receipt once the system is back up and you enter the transaction into the system (see below)
If they are paying with a credit or debit card, you should have a window open with your processor's virtual terminal up and running so you can run the card charge. The terminal will allow you to put in the amount of the charge (don't forget the tax!) and process the payment. It will NOT send that information to the Rain system, so you'll be putting the amount information in manually. Also, you will not be able to process refunds directly in Rain for transactions done this way. You will need to come back into the terminal to do so. Here are link to virtual terminals for the major processors that integrate with the Rain system:
If you use a different processor, please contact them for information on how to log into your virtual terminal.
How do I put in the transactions?
For each, you will need to do the following:
- Load the Customer
- Load the Items
- Apply discounts / coupon codes
- Change the Date / Time - Click on the date link in the upper right, and change it to the time and date the transaction originally happened.
- For the payment method(s), if they paid by card, be sure to turn integration Off before entering the amount.
- When you complete the transaction, when you get to the Receipt step, be sure to email the customer a receipt.
How do I know if the outage is on my end or on Rain's?
Any time we have a major issue with the system, we post a notice on the main Home screen you see when you first log in, and if you're already logged in, it will pop up at the top of the next page you load in the system. You can also always check the status of the system any time you need by clicking here:
Whenever an outage happens, our team is working on fixing it within minutes, but in the system message and on the status page, we will try to put up an estimate of when we expect the affected area of the system to be back up and running, if it is possible to give such an estimate.
If the above link does not load the page for some reason, and if other web pages such as google.com are loading just fine, it is likely our system is down completely and we are working on bringing it back up again.