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Cyber resilience: the gateway to new-age data security

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The 5 steps to a cyber-resilient enterprise
Strict and timely adherence to these steps can help your business with cyber resilience

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Data Archiving: The differentiator of ERP services

Effective and efficient are the cornerstones of modern ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions. Today’s ERP vendors must address the compounding pressure of ever-expanding data. In other words, they need to cue in robust data archiving solutions. But, archiving ERP applications can get tricky at times. Many companies seek to retire those initial ERP applications – and, in some cases, the mainframe apps and proprietary platforms that preceded them – they’re not sure how to transition gracefully while maintaining access to all their data. This data still has value, not to mention liability potential, so archiving it takes careful thought. A skillful ERP solutions vendor can come to the rescue.

What is data archiving?

Data archiving refers to a process of identifying, extracting, and transferring data that is no longer in active use, to a secure and accessible location. In the initial phases of building an ERP application, the focus is more on making accessible as much data as possible – in one system, under one roof. But, on the flip side of this lies the complex parent-child relationships between data tables. It can get difficult to pull data out of relational databases without breaking something. Your ERP solutions vendor needs to have tools in place for efficient data archival.

1. Improves cost efficiency

In today’s data-overload environment, storage needs are at an all-time high. Without proper infrastructure, this can put unwarranted pressure on your servers, especially if you are storing everything on site. And, this further involves colossal investments for server upkeep. Many enterprise compliance standards demand that all corporate data (including ERP data) be stored for a substantial periods of time. So, when data deletion is not an option, it is always prudent to store data on remote/off-premise servers or in the cloud. And, this is what data archiving services are all about. In the absence of a well-maintained data repository, companies often have to outsource for intel discovery and incur huge costs in the process.

Data archiving services also take the load off your IT teams and make you more self-reliant when it comes to accessing the archived data. The archives are designed to be both affordable and accessible.

2. Enhances business productivity

Data archival solutions streamline ERP data end to end. It is record management of sorts. Business operation applications, such as ERP, often gather a lot of data in a very short period of time. It creates a lot of unnecessary pressure on your on-premise storage facilities. Cloud storage solutions are better suited for such requirements. All the data your software tools accumulate over a stipulated period of time can instead be archived for easy access and analysis. This not only saves on-premise service space but also ensures that all of your installations function quickly and efficiently.

By carefully structuring the collected data, the process of data archival also makes the case for easy data retrieval. All redundant data is removed and only the unique data is stored and saved. This further enhances business communication as all stakeholders access and collaborate on the same versions of the data files.

The benefits of leveraging data archiving services
Data archival brings multiple advantages to businesses

4. Streamlines enterprise storage

It’s always easier to gain insights from data when it’s stored in a single, shared location. If it is scattered across multiple devices and networks, it becomes difficult to leverage data as enterprise intel. To add to the challenge, data often comes in various shapes and sizes from varying sources – structured and unstructured, traditional and non-traditional. This, of course, means recurring efforts in server maintenance. A centralized repository of data (ERP or otherwise) with business-critical user access can make enterprise operations more efficient.

With data archiving solutions in place, storage can be streamlined and maintained in one go. You can plug in with select ERP service integrations for desirable outputs.

Why do many ERP vendors often miss out on data archiving?

If you’ve ever struggled with the process of purging, archiving, or extracting data for a mid-sized or large enterprise, you may have wondered aloud, “Why didn’t my ERP solutions vendor provide a better way to do this?”

In 1986, Oracle started developing a new generation of business applications that would transform the playing field. Up until that point, ERP systems had been proprietary. They were either written for IBM mainframes (as SAP’s accounting software suite was), or for one of the various mini-computer platforms.

Oracle’s new software would propel ERP one step closer to truly open systems. How? It was written for a new generation of hardware platforms—such as Sequent Computers and Pyramid Computers—that ran on a generic version of the UNIX operating system. Adding to the flexibility, the Oracle relational database could also run on proprietary platforms. Thus, companies using the new Oracle Financials suite with an Oracle database could run their software on virtually anything.

Suddenly, enterprises truly had a choice of hardware and software. Although IBM had invented the relational database, Oracle was running with it.

However, that wasn’t the only pro-customer change. The user interface in these new applications was vastly improved. Previous generations of ERP had offered users a traditional mainframe green screen. You would fill the screen with data and press a button. Since there was no field-level validation, errors would only come back to you after you’d processed an entire screen.

Oracle’s new apps, on the other hand, offered much richer interaction between computer and user. And because they ran on a relational database, users could query data on demand, rather than using the cumbersome nightly reporting associated with mainframe computing. These innovations naturally enabled much greater productivity—not to mention, user satisfaction.

The dynamics between data management and data archiving in ERP

The uptake of ERP applications has been dramatic over time. And the urge to load these systems with huge amounts of corporate data has been unstoppable. So, it was only a matter of time for businesses to realize that the aging ERP applications come with a more serious problem: it’s really hard to get data out of them. And fairly, this set the stage for corporate data repositories, ergo, data archives to enter the picture.

How is GDPR impacting Indian Data Privacy Laws?

GDPR is a trendsetter in the world of data protection and is widely impacting worldwide data privacy laws. Can we expect something similar in India?

Data privacy is one of the biggest risks that modern businesses face. The use of big data elevates the complexity of this challenge even more. The question is; are you doing enough to fight the risk? If you think installing anti-malware software and conducting an audit every six months is enough to keep your sensitive information safe, you certainly need to revisit your data privacy measures. There have been some mega data breaches in the recent past; at massive business groups such as Verizon, Equifax and even Facebook. These data breaches teach us a very important lesson; no business is completely safe from the risk and cybercriminals are never at rest.

Data privacy is now a matter of universal concern, a serious problem; just like global warming and terrorism. Today, every nation needs stringent data privacy laws and regulations to ensure fair and safe use of sensitive information. With an aim to discuss the various challenges and concerns underlying in the Indian Data Protection Framework, ASSOCHAM recently conducted a Global Data Privacy Summit in Bangalore. The idea behind the summit was to invite views and suggestions from a multi-stakeholder community on the regulatory and judicial processes around nation-wide data privacy concerns.

Several business groups, IT delegates and data privacy enthusiasts from India and other countries participated in the event. The panelists discussed the challenges, opportunities and probable measures on stimulating issues like Big Data, worldwide Data Privacy, and effects of disruptive technologies on Data Protection among many others. Each discussion was followed by an interactive Q&A and networking session.

Estuate too, was a key participant at the event as the GDPR partner. Our Data and Analytics Head, Mr. Vishwas Balakrishna drove the discussion on “The influence of GDPR on global data privacy laws”. “GDPR is a game-changer in the world of data privacy. If nations across the globe get influenced by this revolutionary law and impose similar regulations, the status of worldwide data privacy will be stronger and more resilient in the days to come.” Vishwas stated.

The European Union’s GDPR is a rather bold and revolutionary step against global cyber risk. The law sets stringent restrictions on the usage of personal information of EU citizens. The good thing is, it is not just confined to the European borders, but applies to all companies across the globe. It is a strong, solid measure that strengthens data privacy despite the uncontrollable risk of breaches.

Data privacy is certainly a burning issue in the Indian ecosystem. In order to address this concern, the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 has been recently submitted by the Justice BN Srikrishna committee. The proposed bill is similar to GDPR in many ways. It states that “The right to privacy is a fundamental right and it is necessary to protect personal data as an essential facet of informational privacy.” It also binds any person processing personal information of Indian citizens to do it in a fair and reasonable manner. Non-compliance would lead to penalties up to Rs. 15 crores or 4% of business turnover.

Although it is still a proposed bill and is awaiting approval by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, it is a huge step in the right direction towards fighting cybercrime. If implemented, it could potentially change the face of the Indian Data Protection Framework for good.

GDPR: What it means for US-based companies

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new law that will come into effect in the European Union (EU) on the 25th of May, 2018. It’s key goal is to reinforce and unify data protection for individuals in the EU. The GDPR replaces the Data Protection Directive from 1995 and marks a major departure in many aspects.​

It is a new legal framework for handling personal data of EU-based individuals, be they customers, prospects, contractors or employees. It is already in force but not yet enforceable-businesses and not-for profit organizations have until May 25, 2018 to comply. Although GDPR originates in the EU, it actually impacts businesses worldwide- if they handle personal data of EU individuals, or do business with organizations that do. GDPR imposes obligations on how that data is treated, even if that personal data has traveled outside the EU and is now stored and handled in a distant corner of the world.

How will GDPR affect US companies
The main objective of GDPR is to give EU citizens greater control over how their personal data is collected, protected and utilized. While the legislation applies to EU companies, it also applies to any company that chooses to do business in the EU. US companies that operate in the EU market and which collect personally identifiable information (PII) are subject to EU-GDPR regulations in all of the EU countries in which they do business.

EU GDPR directly impacts organisations in the U.S. If they

  • have offices or employees in the EU
  • market or sell to EU citizens
  • partner with EU-based organisations
  • may have at one point, or may at some point in the future, process, store, receive, or handle in any way, data pertaining to EU citizens

If your processing activities fall into any of the above categories then you must comply with the EU GDPR guidelines. Basically, this means the rules follow the data, rather than being territorial. In other words, this is applicable to US companies that are not located in the EU but provide goods or services to EU citizens or monitor the behaviors of EU citizens. These companies must be in compliance with GDPR rules on the data privacy of these individuals.

Key points for US-based companies: How do I comply?
After determining that they are subject to the regulation, the next determination a US company has to make is what changes they need to make in order to comply. To truly comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules, means being able to see into ALL of the organisation’s data, which will assist in adopting a holistic approach with processes adopted across all industries, geographies and business units and provide a clear strategy on access and classification. Organisations need to know where personal data is stored, in what form it is found and keep track of who is authorised to access it. US-based companies that collect personal information and that operate within the European Union should consider preparing for the GDPR’s implementation by:

  • Developing or revising a privacy program that collects and retains personal information only to the extent necessary (e.g., adhering as closely as possible to the European Union’s “purpose limitation” requirements)
  • Appointing a knowledgeable data protection officer or a chief privacy officer to oversee the company’s privacy practices and ensure compliance with both domestic and international regulations
  • Reviewing and possibly amending contracts with third parties that process, control or maintain collected personal information to ensure proper safeguards and data breach reporting procedures
  • Ensuring that there are updated and tested data breach response policies and programs to ensure timely notification to regulators and consumers in the event of a data breach.

What is the impact?
At this point a US firm that may be subject to the regulation may ask “So what? Why do we care about EU data regulations?” Organizations that fail to comply can be fined up to 20 million Euros or 4% of their worldwide revenue.  Violators will be placed in one of two tiers, with the higher tier costing violators up to over 20 million euros or 4% of the company’s net income.

With the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect in May 2018, companies doing business in the European Union are scrambling to avoid the severe penalties from non-compliance with these stringent regulations.

Existing in a world with a global marketplace implies that GDPR cannot be overlooked and now is the time to ensure that your company is ready for how the changes may affect them. Consider the parts of the GDPR that will have the most impact on your business and begin with those areas first in your review and overhaul of your policies to ensure you are prepared for implementation ahead of the May 25, 2018 effective date of GDPR.