When it comes to cloud ERP, the question on everyone’s mind is “How safe is it . . . really?” The simple answer is that it remains to be seen. With that in mind, many organizations are not yet willing to make the leap of trusting all of their data to a cloud ERP vendor, no matter how many promises are made during the sales cycle. However there is no denying the definite trend towards cloud ERP adoption in varying forms. Some companies have decided to test out the deployment model by storing noncritical items in the cloud but keeping the important data in-house and other companies have taken the leap whole hog. It really comes down to two conjoined points: how comfortable companies are ceding their control to another and how comfortable companies are with the risk that their security might be compromised in some way.
An organization is not completely hamstrung by the dictates of cloud ERP however. Indeed, there are many steps a company can take to increase both the comfort level and the security level of a cloud ERP system:
1. Plan for disaster. A lot of stress in life can be alleviated by having an actionable worst-case scenario plan. Though it might be a little “glass is half-full,” it’s nonetheless crucial to make sure whatever cloud ERP vendor is chosen has the capabilities in place to handle notification and mitigation of a data loss or compromise in the way that you specify. You should also have your own plan for how you will notify customers of any situation of this type.
2. Know your data. It’s important to get really familiar with what data your organization has — and what impact its loss or compromise might have — before switching to a cloud ERP system. After your organization comes to an agreement about what data is sensitive, what the degree of sensitivity is, and what security protocol must be in place to protect it, you’ll be much more comfortable handing over the reins to a vendor on the nonsensitive elements.
3. Protect your data. As the recent breach at Zappos proved, it’s critical to take steps to minimize the fallout from a disaster, such as following regulations regarding stored data and storing data in different databases. Don’t blindly trust what your cloud ERP provider — or any ERP provider — promises you: follow your own instincts and protocol. Everything can be compromised. Don’t believe anyone who tells you something different.
Of course, there are many, many more steps to take — and issues to hash out — before jumping into the cloud. It’s a complicated pprocess, but one which very well might bring great benefit to your company if handled correctly. For more information, please download our recent white paper, Frequently Asked Questions About Cloud ERP.