Cyber Security: Protecting Your Business in the Cloud

  1. What is cybersecurity?
  2. What is a cyber attack?
  3. What are the security benefits of cloud computing?
  4. Cloud-based ERP security features
  5. The benefits of greater cyber security for businesses
  6. Cybersecurity risks with the cloud 

Security is always foremost in the minds of anyone making a decision to move from an on-premises to a cloud solution. Regardless of industry, location or size, security threats are prevalent; according to the Government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2023, one in three (32%) UK companies have experienced breaches or cyber attacks in the last 12 months.

Changes to how we work post-pandemic have increased potential cyber threats. Businesses have introduced remote working, adopted cloud computing and connected devices or sensors in everything from doorbells to production lines. 

Coupled with the pressure to remain competitive and increase profits, cyber attacks force businesses to rethink their digital platforms and consider technology implementation. Below, we have summarised the key features of cloud-based ERP platforms for enhanced security, data protection, and peace of mind. 

What is cybersecurity?

When dealing with confidential or personal information, businesses must comply with data security and privacy laws, such as GDPR and The Data Protection Act. 

Cyber security is a set of practices ensuring digital information is stored and shared securely on business networks, such as restricting access to user information and controlling what can be copied from the system. 

Another related practice is cyber hygiene, which refers to a set of common practices within businesses to help all employees stay resilient against attacks, such as password protection and using trusted antivirus software. 

What is a cyber attack?

Cyber attacks are attempts to access, steal or destroy confidential information from an organisation for malicious purposes. Cyber attacks can have damaging consequences for businesses, with the most common including a negative impact on brand reputation (25%), a loss of customers (21%) and significant fines (16%), according to Statista

Hackers and cybercriminals can attack in several ways. Malware and ransomware, where code is used to harm a computer system or its users intentionally, are common methods. Once unauthorised access is gained, the hackers can hijack and disrupt data remotely or hold the data hostage. 

Phishing attacks by email or text, trying to trick users into downloading malware, are other common methods of maliciously accessing data. These techniques are built to manipulate people or pressure them to take unwise actions, so cyber security policies need to focus on educating employees aswell as implementing secure technology. 

Information misuse is also a concern in businesses where certain employees have access to sensitive data, as this can cause data leaks, either purposefully or by accident. Insider threats are more difficult to detect because they appear like everyday business activities. Antivirus software will not detect bad actors, but these threats can also be alleviated (see section four).

Interestingly, medium and larger businesses report more cyber security breaches (59% and 69%, respectively) than small businesses. However, security breaches can happen to any business, so it is important to have the right technology measures against human error and cyber attacks. 

What are the security benefits of cloud computing?

Cloud platforms, compared to offline computer networks, have many built-in data protection benefits, including threat detection and automated firewall checks to help businesses spot potential cyber attacks much faster than manual audits. 

Many cloud systems also support data security best practices through encryption and access controls to regulate who can access data and reduce the risk of a data leak. As cloud-based ERP systems streamline internal operations and create a centralised dashboard of business processes, organisations can track and analyse user activities and monitor for any suspicious behaviour. 

Microsoft Dynamics 365, our chosen ERP system, offers many security controls for users. This starts at the data centres, built to physically control who can enter and have 24/7 security staff to protect all data. Microsoft Dynamics 365 also uses HTTPS encryption on trafficking transit between the data centres and end-users to protect data from outside interception.

What are some other benefits of cloud-based ERP systems?

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning and refers to a centralised system that optimises processes across your business, for example, through automation, data analytics and asset management. Implementing ERP can enhance many elements of a business, such as supply chain management, financial management, and customer relationship management. Find out more here.

Cloud-based ERP security features

When businesses implement Cloud platforms, they share data with the network provider, so data compliance, privacy, and protection are shared responsibilities. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a great choice of platform as Microsoft is committed to data security and has created many features to help businesses remain compliant with regulations. 

With Dynamics 365 (D365) Finance, businesses can access global data compliance for 51 regions and 67 languages, which is crucial for international communication and trading. The software also has built-in access controls to protect financial data and customer information, which is great for professional services businesses. Understanding the security architecture of D365 Finance allows businesses to customise the system to fit your business requirements, keeping users safe and business data secure.

D365 Finance provides many levels of security through role-based security, authenticating users and user rights with Azure Active Directory (AAD). The system can give access to (or block access to) specific menus, menu items, command buttons and reports. When combined with effective segregation of duties amongst staff, security in D365 Finance is very effective for a wide range of industries.

For logistics businesses, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management is a great choice for data safety, with automatic encryption to protect sensitive information about transport routes and products from potential attacks.  In addition, it has strong access controls to ensure that only authorised personnel can access sensitive data and perform critical actions. 

Dynamics 365 Project Operations offers different roles through their Project Approver Admin, which are designed to reduce human error and prevent information from being accessed incorrectly.  

Overall, cloud computing systems also offer data backup and recovery solutions, helping the business quickly restore information in the event of a data leak and reducing manual labour spent on damage control. 

The benefits of greater cyber security for businesses

While all businesses require stringent security measures, the reasons behind this can differ for each business. Cloud computing is adaptable for various industries, including professional services, logistics and manufacturing and can be crafted to suit your internal business requirements and processes. 

For professional services companies, data protection is key for handling client information, legal documents and sensitive information daily. Within logistics businesses, there is a lot of confidential information to keep safe, including contract information, client addresses, and route planning. 

Meanwhile, manufacturing and construction businesses often handle private high-profile customer projects and new product information, which they need to keep away from competitors. 

Using cloud-based systems will help protect each business’s unique data sets from potential cyber attacks while maintaining high trust among customers and clients. By minimising the risk of cyber attacks, businesses can minimise potential downtime, and cloud systems can automate much of the security monitoring. 

Overall, with strong cyber security systems and cyber hygiene practices, all businesses can protect their reputation and maintain customer satisfaction. 

Cybersecurity risks with the cloud 

While cloud computing undoubtedly has cyber security benefits, there are potential risks when dealing with remote servers. These risks include data breaches, data loss, unauthorised access to confidential information and cloud misconfiguration. 

To help mitigate any potential concerns around safety when using cloud software, there are several best practices to follow:

  • Always using the most up-to-date systems and regularly updating the software, 
  • Accurately set up user permissions and account limits to protect against data leaks, 
  • Choosing trusted network providers, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, with data security features, 
  • Create a solid risk mitigation plan in case of any data misuse or breaches,
  • Working with an expert to undertake regular technology audits and spot any potential cyber security issues,
  • Invest in regular internal system training to reduce the chance of human error and data breaches. 

Overall, working with a training and implementation expert for your chosen cloud platform will increase the security and effectiveness of your internal and external processes. Through enhanced technology support for your team, downtime due to technology struggles can be mitigated, and more cost-effective data collection and analytics processes can be implemented. 

At Essenkay, we can help you transform your current technology stack with dedicated project recovery support to find the best ERP processes for your team. 

If you are looking for a Microsoft Dynamics 365 specialist to help you manage your business’ cyber security in 2024, get in touch!


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