Enthusiasm for the cloud and the benefits it’s providing is growing every day as people realise it’s now a mainstream operational model for IT infrastructure. While the model and benefits might not suit every organisation, with the continued developments from vendors like Microsoft, the argument is becoming more compelling all the time.
For users of Microsoft Dynamics GP, there’s plenty of talk today about whether the cloud version of this platform makes better business sense than the traditional on‑premise option.
What’s stopping organisations moving to the cloud?
Today, more and more businesses are moving to the cloud, that’s for sure. But some business owners and executives still have concerns. According to a survey by independent research firm comScore, the barriers to cloud adoption centre around data security (60% of respondents were concerned about this), lack of control over data (45% of respondents), reliability (42%) and compliance (39%).
These findings are reflected in the conversations I’ve had with Dynamics GP customers, many of whom are attracted to moving their Dynamics GP to the cloud but have reservations about doing so. So should you let these concerns hold you back?
In short, the answer is no. Here are some reasons why:
1. Only you can access Dynamics GP data
Microsoft has comprehensively addressed concerns about privacy, and the potential for misuse, around their customers’ data. The simple truth is that you, as a Microsoft customer, own your company’s data, and Microsoft can’t do anything with it under any circumstances.
From a legal perspective, if, for example, the Australian Federal Police or a United States legal authority (eg the US Feds) want to access your data, Microsoft’s response will be that they have to contact the customer themselves and let them know they’ve been subpoenaed. That can only happen through standard court and other legal procedures that have been in place for a long time. In other words, the procedure is no different to what you would expect in the case of an on-premise IT infrastructure; the courts can subpoena your data either way.
So what all this means is that your data is as safe from prying eyes when it’s in the cloud as it is when you’re operating an on‑premise infrastructure.
2. How secure is your Dynamics GP data now?
Something else that’s emerged from my discussions with Dynamics GP customers is that many of them currently have less than optimal security over their data. Cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox are commonly used, however these have their own security limitations.
The good news is that Microsoft has gone to considerable lengths to attain global certifications and meet international standards for security. Today Microsoft is the most advanced public cloud solutions provider in terms of security and privacy of data. And if you’re a Dynamics GP customer, you can easily test Microsoft out. At any time, you can put in a request to Microsoft to schedule a security penetration test (you have to schedule this otherwise Microsoft will interpret it as an attack and will immediately terminate the test) and this should give you the peace-of-mind of knowing your data is well‑protected.
3. Additional security measures
Microsoft also has something called “zero standing privileges,” where the personnel who, by default, control the data centres, have zero access to your data; they only have access to the underlying servers to maintain the infrastructure and keep it running.
Additionally, the networks that keep the show running are all isolated, with 24 hour a day monitoring of security within the data centres. Very few organisations today have the level of physical security that these data centres have!
4. The cloud ‘positively impacts’ security
For those who have moved to the cloud, a recent US survey bears out the merits of such a move. This survey reveals that 91% of respondents say that security has been ‘positively impacted’ by moving to the cloud. Also, 75% said that their move to the cloud has improved service availability. In other words, uptime has improved.
5. And now, native Office 365 integration
For those already using Office 365, this integration includes email and workflow approvals, linking to documents in OneDrive and SharePoint Online, Skype for Business and Power BI reports embedded directly into your Dynamics GP homepage.
Is ‘now’ the right time?
With all this in mind, is now a good time to consider moving your Dynamics GP platform to the cloud? Well, yes it is. With Dynamics GP 2016 now available, there’s never been a better time to consider a cloud‑based upgrade.
Want to learn more about what you can do with Dynamics GP 2016? Details of our upcoming seminar here.
You can read more about Professional Advantage and Microsoft Dynamics GP here.
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