When dealing with so much data spread across applications and business systems, you need a way to synchronize, manage and control your master data to ensure accuracy and consistency. When you have a strategy, data stewards, and a tool to manage and control your master data, you can also ensure that your master data is secure.
Keeping in mind data regulations and your relationships with customers, it is important to have measures that can secure customer data and other sensitive information to avoid theft, fraud, penalties, and loss of goodwill. Since your master data management (MDM) system includes customer data and other critical information, it is important that the information is secured.
At To-Increase, we have a suite of solutions that can help you streamline data entry, improve data quality and security, and manage the distribution of your master data in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations/Supply Chain Management (F&O/SCM). We constantly engage with our customers to understand their challenges so that we can improve our solutions to resolve customer problems.
In this blog, we will explain the importance of security for master data and how our MDM suite of solutions can help. So, let’s dive right in!
Importance of security of master data
According to a report by IT Governance, 5.1 billion records were breached in 2021. But that number vastly underrepresents the real total since most companies do not publicly disclose such information.
When you do not have a master data management strategy and solution to support it, the risk of a data breach is higher. You have sensitive data across your ERP, business systems, and applications without data policies and processes to control and manage that data. Not only are you at the risk of poor data, which is an added cost for your organization, but you are also at the risk of data loss and organization-wide access to unauthorized information.
A good MDM solution suite will allow an organization to connect systems, improve data creation and quality, manage and control master data access, and trigger workflows in case of exceptions.
What are the steps to secure master data?
If you do not have the appropriate data security policies, organizational buy-in, and guidelines followed across teams, even the best master data management software will not help you achieve your goals, so before implementing any solution do keep the steps below in mind. Also keep in mind, since data is constantly created, edited, and imported, this will be a constant process for you to monitor and report.
1. Start with a strategy
Before implementing any solution, work on a data governance policy for master data management. For this, you need to identify the right team members across business units and ensure management buy-in.
As part of the master data strategy, ensure a plan for data in every stage of the lifecycle from creation to publishing. It is important to consider security in your policy for data use and access with defined guidelines for different types of data for each business unit across the organization.
2. Analyze the risks involved
When your customers’ data is compromised, are you violating GDPR or data privacy laws? Sort out the information that needs maximum security, such as customers’ bank account details or social security numbers. Set out data policies with risk scoring for sensitive information, keeping security in mind.
Additionally, identify a master data management tool that allows the data stewards to control and manage sensitive information centrally so that the information remains secure.
3. Integrate scattered data
When you have sensitive data residing across systems, unless you have a platform that can integrate your systems, you are at risk of not just poor data but also a possible data breach. Prior to the implementation of a master data management tool, it would be best to use an integration tool to synchronize data and identify the source of sensitive data, the people who will need viewing access to it, and the people who need to be assigned validation and/or editing access.
Without integrating your systems, data that is spread across systems, perhaps even on-premise and the cloud and managing all that data in an MDM software that cannot integrate with your ERP will be an even tougher feat to accomplish.
4. Identify data controls that will work for your organization
Do you think your organization needs automated workflows, validation for certain fields, data rules, and controlled access? While we offer these data controls in our MDM Suite, it would be best to identify controls that are easy to use and will work for the types of data in use. Keeping a log of data access might help.
You might need to add an additional layer of security for critical information. There are also ways to encrypt data and add user authentication so that users only have role-based or team-based access. It is also a good practice to use password-protected systems with either face scanning or biometrics to ensure only employees have access to organizational data, which reduces the chance of data breaches.
5. Limiting data access
Once you identify tools that fit into your data governance strategy, you need to outline who/which team has access to what type of data before implementation. This is important not just to ensure security but also to avoid confusion. To explain with an example, if you have the same product with a different name or credentials in another region or different customers in different regions, it might be best to limit data access for such information.
Also, while you limit data access, have policies to monitor data access, movement of data, and any notifications that need to be triggered for any unusual data movement or access.
Introducing our MDM suite for your data challenges in D365
In certain industries, there are very strict penalties and laws for data security, such as healthcare, insurance, and financial services, so you need to ensure that you have a solution that meets all your data security requirements.
Our MDM Suite for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations/ Supply Chain Management (F&O/ SCM) comprises MDM Studio for master data management, Connectivity Studio for application integration, Data Entry Workflow to streamline data entry, and Data Quality Studio to add data rules, web services, and data patterns.
While all our solutions integrate and easily work with one another, they can also easily be integrated with D365. Additionally, they offer the same user experience as the ERP as they are built using the same business logic. This makes it easier for customers to get started with configurations after a few training sessions with To-Increase’s Consultants.
What makes the MDM Suite a safe bet for organizations across industries?
Let’s explore what makes our data governance solutions suite a safe choice for organizations across industries.
Assign role-based approvals
Our Data Entry Workflow Solution allows you to configure role-based approval for added security when you are creating workflows. An approver has the access to edit and or validate critical information such as credit limit for an organization and if he finds it inaccurate, he can reject it and share feedback or reject it and reassign it to another team member.
Add data quality rules
You need to have policies that not only help you secure but also help you improve data quality. For example, if you set rules to make certain critical fields mandatory, avoid duplication, or rules to ensure guidelines are followed for certain fields, such as setting a credit limit range in advance to be used, it ensures both security and better data quality.
Control your data
Based on the security risk score or type of data, you can decide whether you want to centralize master data management and assign full control to your data steward or control it in a de-central way. There might be some master data you want to manage de-centrally, such as legal documents with the legal team. With MDM Studio, you can centrally or de-centrally manage your master data.
Track changes in business systems in master data
When new data is imported, it might need to be updated. Our integration engine Connectivity Studio ensures that any changed data is reflected in your ERP system. Additionally, incoming data can be stored in a staging table before import, and that data can be validated in the staging area before processing.
Design data workflows with user access and approval steps
Using our Data Entry Workflow solution, you can easily configure workflows with various steps. In each step, you can add fields only necessary for the user, ensuring your employees have access to enter data only important for their team or business unit. When you assign users, you can also set time limits, trigger notifications access, and add an approval step for more critical data.
Use Dynamic Field Security
If you need to restrict access to certain data fields, you can use our MDM Studio solution to do that. The solution allows you to set local or global values or fields for added security depending on the application.
Please note: Dynamic Field Security is currently available as a preview for existing as well as new MDM Studio customers.
Access Logs and Timestamps
Our Data Entry Workflow solution provides an audit trail and time stamp capabilities to secure your data even further. The solution has an access log that shares the person, place, and time the data was accessed to track any unusual behavior. Incase of any breach, you should be able to configure a workflow that alerts the necessary parties so that quick action can be taken to mend the situation.
Control and manage master data distribution
Your data stewards can control master data distribution of master data across legal entities within Dynamics 365 as well as third-party systems and applications integrated with your ERP.
Are you ready to explore a master data management solution?
If you have read so far, you probably are exploring master data management solutions for your company. While every organization has different business requirements, if you are looking for a solution for Dynamics 365 F&O/SCM ERP, then our solution would be worth considering. If you use any other ERP, we hope this blog has helped you understand the importance of master data and the security measures you can take to protect critical data.
If you have a data governance policy and are keen to explore our MDM Suite of solutions, we recommend downloading our factsheet from the link below. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our experts so that they can understand your challenges and recommend the best approach.