In today’s world of viruses, spyware, hacker attacks and more that plague many companies who do business across the country and oversees it is important that you keep your network and data secure. Unfortunately, this is not always a top priority for many companies due to budget constraints, lack of IT resources and other factors.
If your business depends on EDI with multiple trading partners it is important that you ensure your environment is secure and running smoothly.
There are three areas you should consider:
- Network Security
- Data Integrity
- Infrastructure Reliability
All three components need to work together to ensure a secure EDI environment.
Network security is accomplished through hardware and software. The software must be constantly updated and managed to protect you from emerging threats.
A network security system usually consists of many components. Ideally, all components work together, which minimizes maintenance and improves security.
Network security components often include:
- Anti-virus and anti-spyware.
- Firewall, to block unauthorized access to your network with locked down inbound traffic, AS2 in the DMZ, etc.
- Intrusion prevention systems (IPS), to identify fast-spreading threats, such as zero-day or zero-hour attacks
- Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), to provide secure remote access.
- Access control (strong password enforcement, useful permission structure, etc.).
- Secure data transfer methods such as the use of encryption, https versus http, and sftp versus ftp.
Data integrity is the fundamental component of information security. The data stored in a database, data warehouse, or other storage, must be accurate and consistent. It should have a complete or whole structure and kept free corruption or modifications, which drive a number of critical business processes with accuracy. Inaccuracies can occur either accidentally (programming error) or maliciously (breaches or hack). There are a number of practices you should make sure are in place to secure your data:
- Have a test database for testing your maps.
- Put in place checks on inbound orders so that bad data doesn’t make it into the ERP system.
- Create separate EDI database tables to ensure integrity.
- Input validation to prevent incorrect data entry.
- Data validation to certify uncorrupted transmission.
- Data encryption of your stored files as well your back-ups.
Just as important as network security and data reliability is ensuring your infrastructure is also reliable and is meeting the demands of your EDI and ERP processes. This should be part of your business growth plans. When absent it can lead to technical glitches, outages, and lost information resulting in an adverse business impact. Things to consider include:
- Ensure your hardware meets your system’s demands.
- Consistently keep your software patches up-to-date. Failure to do this can result in time consuming and costly repairs later.
- Use of redundant systems (failover servers, RAID devices, etc.).
- Have in place a backup and disaster recovery plan and do regular testing.
By putting in place these security measures will help protect your company’s assets and customer data. You minimize your exposure to lost or inaccurate data that can result in chargebacks or jeopardize your organization’s reputation.