The role of data security in cloud-based accounts payable management

With a shift in work culture after the pandemic, companies are shifting entire departments to the cloud. Statistics show that by 2025, 85% of businesses will have at least one process on the cloud. The departments will adapt newer ways of communicating with teams managing cloud systems, and this includes accounts payable (AP) management.

AP on the cloud offers benefits such as lower costs, efficiency, and collaboration. However, businesses need to define security best practices to protect their interests. Some of the best practices could be technology guardrails, policy training, and regular communication with the remote accounting team.

This article will explain the benefits of cloud-based AP and the best practices to safeguard your data.

Benefits of cloud-based AP for businesses

The days of keeping and managing financial data on in-house servers are over. Businesses are choosing cloud servers and AP teams that offer greater efficiency in invoicing, bill payments, managing cashflows, and more. Here are some of the benefits of AP on the cloud –

  1. Lower cost of AP
  2. With cloud-based AP, businesses need not invest in expensive in-house IT hardware such as computers and servers. The data resides over remote servers that the cloud AP vendor owns or leases.

  3. Efficient processes
  4. Streamline tedious bookkeeping tasks such as invoicing, payment matching, contact management, AP, and more. By saving this time, your team can focus on dashboards and analysis of reports for strategic business decisions.

  5. Easy collaboration
  6. With AP on the cloud, you do not have to store data in USB devices or send emails with invoices, payment receipts, and excel sheets. Anyone with the required authorisation can access AP on the cloud, thus reducing the amount of manual work, duplicity, and time.

  7. Boost transparency
  8. Cloud AP generates an automated paper trail that does not require manual confirmation from vendors. You do not have to call the vendors to check if they received the payment or send multiple email confirmations.

  9. Shift from paper cheques to online payments
  10. Even though paper cheques remain one of the preferred methods of payment, 70% of businesses have faced cheque-related fraud. AP automation uses encrypted electronic files that are not visible to any unauthorised parties. Cloud-based AP systems integrate directly with your bank and let you make payments directly to supplier bank accounts.

With all these benefits, it is lucrative for businesses to migrate to cloud AP. However, it is important to ensure data security using these best practices.

Best practices to ensure cloud security in accounts payable

Cloud security is critical since most businesses are already using or considering moving to cloud computing for the accounts payable process. Businesses are concerned about the safety of their data, governance and compliance issues, and accidental leaks. Cyber threats continue to be a problem in protecting sensitive business information and intellectual property. Some of the best practices to ensure cloud security in AP are –

  1. Centralised security
  2. By using cloud-based AP, you store data on server farms that expert cyber security professionals manage. For a business, it is difficult and expensive to get the best cybersecurity professionals and systems in-house. A central location allows the cloud security company to easily perform tasks, monitor events, enhance web filtering, and implement disaster recovery.

  3. Get greater DDoS protection
  4. DDoS attacks aim to overwhelm the servers with random data and thus reduce their efficiency. Cloud-based systems can disperse any DDoS attacks and thus eliminate any adverse impact on your day-to-day operations.

  5. Ensure legal compliances
  6. Cloud-based AP process lets you easily meet compliances for content lifecycle management, including retention and disposition, eDiscovery, and legal holds. You can choose cloud vendors that meet with compliances that apply specifically to your business, such as GDPR, FINRA, CCPA, PCI, HIPAA, GxP, and FedRAMP.

  7. Use access control
  8. You can set strict access control using the user ID and passwords. Moreover, you can define the features visible to a team or an individual member. For example, an AP auditor may have read access to the chart of accounts but may not have edit access to the system. A super user or administrator can read, write, edit, or provide relevant access to other team members.

  9. Educate or train the team
  10. Do regular training of your team members in the following areas –

    1. Keeping strong passwords.
    2. Spotting suspicious emails that intend to do phishing.
    3. Downloading unauthorised software.
    4. Using public Wi-Fi without a VPN.

For organisations on the digital transformation journey, agility is key in responding to a rapidly changing technology and business landscape. Now more than ever, it is crucial to deliver and exceed on organisational expectations with a robust digital mindset backed by innovation. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, respond, and evolve like a living organism, will be imperative for business excellence going forward. A comprehensive, yet modular suite of services is doing exactly that. Equipping organisations with intuitive decision-making automatically at scale, actionable insights based on real-time solutions, anytime/anywhere experience, and in-depth data visibility across functions leading to hyper-productivity, Live Enterprise is building connected organisations that are innovating collaboratively for the future.

How can Infosys BPM help?

The AI-powered data extraction, enrichment, and workflow orchestration AP platform takes care of all invoicing needs securely. It improves the 3 business levers, namely efficiency, effectiveness, and experience.

You can save 90% of your time, free up resources, and get faster ROI with an optical character reader (OCR).

Read more about cloud based accounts payable solutions at Infosys BPM.

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