By now, the benefits of moving your business fully into the cloud should be clear. Whether you are a current Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central cloud customer or planning to be, cloud-based business technology delivers unmatched accessibility, usability, scalability, plus lightning-fast performance and efficiency.
So what keeps some businesses from completely transitioning away from on-premise solutions? In a nutshell, the persistent myths around data security create real fear—not only fear of making the switch, but also anxiety around the very real threats that seem to be ever-present in the constantly changing digital landscape.
In this blog, we will demystify the most prevalent cloud security concerns and explain how Cosmos, the only cloud reporting solution built for Business Central, seamlessly aligns with the security promises of Microsoft and its cloud platform, Microsoft Azure.
Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself
Cloud data storage and business management has become the gold standard in business of all sizes and industries. The reduced maintenance and storage costs, improved scalability, and simplified usage make transitioning to the cloud a straightforward decision. However, a common myth suggests that cloud storage is less secure than traditional on-premise solutions.
But why does this fear and uncertainty still exist? Part of it stems from the fear of the unknown. Online data security threats often appear elusive and challenging to guard against. Every day, there are news articles highlighting instances of large, well-established businesses falling victim to data breaches, denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, and unauthorized access to sensitive information.
While such threats are indeed real, the cloud is not the reason why such threats exist, nor a reason that businesses need to give into the fear of the unknown.
The Realities of On-Premise Security
On-premise solutions may seem like they give businesses more control over their data and their day-to-day operations. The traditional approach to enterprise software meant that individual companies maintained sole control over their infrastructure and business applications, plus were responsible for managing user access and the security of sensitive data.
Indeed, companies had to build, manage, and maintain physical servers that housed its operating systems, storage, networking, and security. So naturally fears arise when companies are asked to give up that sense of ownership and place the security of their business into the hands of a third-party cloud service provider (CSP).
But with that type of control comes incredible responsibility. The entire burden of data and overall business security falls on the individual operation—it’s all on you. Plus, the idea that the traditional on-premise approach is inherently more secure is not true, either.
The hard reality is that non-cloud solutions do not make your business safer. Unfortunately, any device that connects to the internet is at risk, whether operating in a cloud environment or not. Off-site backups and security controls fall entirely on you. If your IT team or any staff member makes a mistake, you are the one that pays the price for those slip-ups—and those kinds of mistakes can be very costly, both in terms of downtime for your business, but also in terms of the loss of trust with clients and customers who are relying on you to keep their confidential data secure.
In this next section of this blog, we will delve more deeply into the security features that the cloud service providers offer, with particular focus on the world-class security of Microsoft Azure.
How Secure is the Cloud Really?
In short: highly secure. Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) offer state-of-the-art security features that encompass their physical facilities, infrastructure, and operational processes. These include:
- Physical data centers are fortified like Fort Knox, located all over the globe, and each facility has top-notch security access, involving biometric iris scanners, high-resolution cameras, and dual authentication systems.
- CSPs have multiple regional data centers. Microsoft Azure, for example, has 200+ physical data centers that provide the latest advancements in cloud infrastructure. This infrastructure keeps data within the MS network, so IP traffic never enters the wider public Internet.
- Although networks are shared in the public cloud, strict measures are in place to keep networks separate and secure. Microsoft isolates management and customer networks in Azure to not only enhance performance but keep all traffic secure.
- Processes are in place to keep all firmware and hardware continually updated and secure by default.
- CSPs like Microsoft employ thousands of cybersecurity experts who are working 24/7 to defend against all kinds of potential threats, including hackers and DDoS attacks. Azure has built-in protections that monitor traffic continually.
- The cloud services also include industry-leading protections such as firewall solutions, anti-malware protection, intrusion prevention, integrity monitoring, and logging to inspect and filter data passing in and out of your cloud environment. CSPs also provide additional security-specific tools and features across network security, configuration management, access control, and end-to-end data encryption.
- Cloud providers can also be certified to be compliant with all types of healthcare and financial regulations, so they are able to handle the most sensitive customer and business data.
- Many cloud vendors offer out-of-the-box access and permissions control capabilities. Using these tools allows businesses to decide who can access what from where.
- Microsoft offers the Azure Key – a vault that safeguards cryptographic keys and secrets that cloud applications use to operate. This ensures that cloud storage is often safer than locally stored data.
The diamond of all the CSPs, Microsoft Azure, is one of the world’s largest and most dependable cloud platforms—designed with security at the forefront. The entire architecture of this proven cloud platform was built from the ground up with data protection baked into it. As a result, Microsoft is the preferred cloud software provider for numerous prestigious companies, all levels of government agencies, and US national defense operations.
Microsoft Azure boasts comprehensive safety and security features, including:
- Fifteen global data centers to ensure your data is always backed up properly.
- A large 24/7 security team – over 3,700 experts in the dedicated security team are focused solely on cloud security.
- 99% uptime and complete end-to-end data encryption.
- Detailed permissions and authorization management based on a zero-trust framework.
- Global regulatory compliance across all industries.
To grasp the full extent of data security offered by Microsoft Cloud, it is essential to understand its built-in security features and tools, especially for Business Central users. Microsoft Azure owns and operates all aspects of its infrastructure, hosting millions of customers simultaneously. The vast array of security tools and features, coupled with Microsoft’s substantial annual investment in cybersecurity research and development, contributes to its widespread adoption by 95% of Fortune 500 companies.
Top 6 Security Highlights of Business Central
We’ve shed light on the extensive security features of CSPs like Microsoft Azure. Now, let’s dive into Microsoft’s premier cloud ERP solution, Business Central. If you’re using Business Central, not only do you gain from all the features we’ve previously explored, but you also enjoy these additional data security benefits:
1. Data Encryption Always Enabled:
Business Central online ensures constant data encryption, which is distinct from its on-premise version. Encrypted backups and industry-standard encryption protocols secure all network traffic within the service.
2. Authorization Process:
Once users are authenticated, authorization determines what users can access. There are controls over who can open specific pages and reports, as well as the permissions on associated data in the system. Management of user accounts, permissions, and roles is done through the Business Central clients.
3. Multi-Factor Authentication:
Business Central in the cloud utilizes Azure AD for authentication, automatically configured during installation. Users must undergo authentication before accessing the Business Central application.
4. Robust Auditing Features:
Business Central incorporates auditing features to monitor sign-ins, permissions, and data modifications. An administrator-accessible change log tracks user alterations to database data, including the ability to classify fields holding sensitive information.
5. Service Integration Best Practices:
Microsoft recommends always employing encrypted network protocols when connecting to the Power BI server and Business Central web services.
6. Regulatory Compliance Facilitation:
Business Central, built on Azure, simplifies compliance with regulations. It offers diverse options for application, service level, and local compliance, along with various certifications adhering to ISO and industry-specific standards as a secure cloud service.
As you can see, Microsoft’s comprehensive data security approach ensures the highest level of protection in the cloud for all customers using Business Central. But that’s not the case if you decide to enhance your reporting capabilities with one of the many on-premise third-party reporting solutions on the market today. Veteran on-premise reporting solutions like Jet Reports or Solver were built for on-premise ERP solutions, like Dynamics NAV and GP—not the cloud.
In the next section, we are going to discuss the importance of investing in a true cloud reporting solution to fully get the most out of your Business Central cloud investment and data security.
Cosmos and Business Central: The Security Benefits of Cloud Reporting
At Cosmos, we value the trust you place in us. Our unwavering commitment to securing your Business Central data and ensuring seamless continuity of your operations is evident in our unified, secure, cloud-based reporting platform. Born specifically for the Business Central cloud and with the backing of all the cloud security features offered on the Microsoft Azure platform, Cosmos is your ultimate data security solution. Leveraging Microsoft’s highly secure, state-of-the-art data centers and top-tier physical and network security protocols, Cosmos offers reliable availability, with uptimes of 99.9% and uninterrupted service.
Running on Microsoft Azure also allows Cosmos to offer reporting speed and performance unlike anything our on-premise reporting predecessors can deliver. With its seamless integration with Microsoft Azure Active Directory and powerful data warehouse to clean, organize, and optimize data for reporting and business intelligence, Cosmos users can start building reports immediately in Excel or Power BI.
Not only does Cosmos run reports 48X faster than any other Excel reporting system, but it also allows users to run unlimited reports simultaneously without tying up Excel or other business applications. We recently spoke with a Business Central customer who transitioned from Jet Reports to Cosmos for its faster reporting performance. To run the financial reports in Jet Reports they required every week, the accounting team at J&D Manufacturing had to purchase a separate laptop so it wouldn’t interfere with daily operations. Here is what Amy Axeness, the Director of Finance, had to say:
“It used to take me half a day and a separate laptop to run and calculate my commission’s report using our on-premise reporting software. With Cosmos in the cloud, I can run this report in seconds!“
Learn More About Cosmos and Business Central
Don’t let myths and misunderstandings hinder the security and growth of your business—take your next step towards achieving stronger data security with a robust, secure, and trustworthy cloud reporting solution built for Business Central.
To learn more about the challenges of reporting in Business Central and why you should consider investing in a cloud reporting solution like Cosmos, download our go-to guide, “How to Overcome Business Central’s Top 7 Reporting Challenges.” You’ll discover more about the usability and performance benefits of going all-in on the Microsoft Cloud and help you decide what technology will best fit your current and future business goals.