Aberdeen Group in a 2013 study described Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) as the transactional and operational backbone of a business. As such, the data and capabilities contained within ERP can be used to promote visibility, collaboration, and efficiency; making it essential in the large enterprise.
But ERP is not only for large organization. Smaller organizations can also utilise ERP to scale their business, differentiate themselves from the pack, and compete on a bigger stage.
Implementation costs have usually been described as a major factor in whether or not ERP systems are adopted by some businesses. While cloud-based ERP implementation has been identified as a solution (to cost), as it requires fewer resources and personnel than legacy systems, securing the data remains a critical issue.
Cloud-based ERP security is, to some degree, only as good as the security systems in place to protect the applications and the data they access.
Pedro Guerreiro, managing director for West Africa, SAP, one of the leading ERP providers, explained that out of 84,000 employees in the company, 15,000 are dedicated to providing support to customers and constantly evolving ways to keep customers’ data secured.
“Sometimes I tell customers, I understand you want data in Nigeria for security (and privacy) etc, but think about it, where would you really prefer to have your data? In your own environment or to have it a place where there are German engineers continuously trained to all the threats that exist on a bulletproof type of building,” Guerreiro said.
According to him, “It is hard to believe that you can keep up to speed at the same level of the average German engineer (working at SAP) in Germany. They have continuous training and access to information that is not as easy to come by for a customer.
“It is not your core business; your core business is manufacturing or banking etc. The core business of these people (engineers) is working on a rocket proof data centre. So your data is probably safer on an environment like that than on your own premise.”
Cloud-based ERP systems may not be necessarily more secure than in-house systems; however, the level of security has improved over time. Combine that with the fact that cloud-based providers have to provide better security, the result is that, in many cases, the security of cloud-based systems is hands-down better than the security of in-house ERP systems, some experts have suggested.