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Data Security in the Age of Digital Transformation

Stephanie Dula   May 13, 2016      

As corporations implement process automation tools to help provide visibility into more and more areas of the business, critical data is being moved from on-premise to cloud-based applications at increasing levels. The idea that there is a finite area with defined borders that houses our business data is no longer the reality. Today, IT professionals look at their business data’s security as more of a moving target.

Not surprisingly, many enterprises are not comfortable with the speed with which digital transformation has changed the security landscape, especially considering some of the recent high-profile data breaches. But some organizations and industries have embraced the cloud not only for its cost and convenience benefits, but for what they see as real security advantages over what’s offered with on-premise applications.

While cloud-based process automation is often implemented first in the Accounts Payable department to gain control over excessive paper invoice volume and its associated labor costs, it has also delivered significant security advancements for invoice and supplier data. Process automation has now extended to the full spectrum of Purchase-to-Pay, including front-end spend processes at the point of procurement. In our recent eProcurement Report, we found that improved control and security ranked as the third most important reason to switch to an automated eProcurement solution, see Figure 1.

Figure 1: Select your top 3 reasons for implementing an automated procurement solution (top 6 answers shown.)


eprocurement Figure3


There are a few real-life examples that can help explain why a cloud solution would be more secure in practice than an on-premise system. Users will often move critical data from a system of record into an email or other external application in order to more easily move it around and transmit it to their colleagues who need it. Unknowingly, they’ve put their organization’s data at serious risk. This happens frequently with procurement data, which often will be extracted and condensed into reports, which are then distributed throughout the enterprise to decision-makers via a variety of unsecured channels. This common scenario is avoided with cloud procurement solutions like SMART by GEP that come equipped with secure transmission from one department to another, as well as reporting interfaces with configurable user access settings. Integration with internal systems also keeps more paper out of the office, and reduces human error that occurs when people have to take data from one place and manually enter it into excel spreadsheets and other devices.




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