Ensuring security for accounts payable cloud solutions

Are you looking to transform your accounts payable (AP) process?

After the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses see the benefit of outsourcing and migrating their processes to the cloud. But this also makes the system vulnerable to threats. A recent study shows that the accounts payable market will reach 5,809.38 million by 2029 at a CAGR of 10%. This growth projection shows a big future demand for secure cloud-based accounting.

This article will explain the threats you may face in cloud-based AP systems and the common remedies.

What is cloud-based accounting?

Cloud-based accounting system lets you store, access, and manage your books and financial data online through a remote server. You need not install the software on the system. Rather, you access the accounting software using a web browser and the internet. Online accounting software has less maintenance and easy access without manual ledgers and books.

Types of threats in AP systems

Before we counter the threats to a cloud-based AP system, we need to understand what they are. Cybercriminals can target AP systems directly or through other third-party systems. Here is a list of common threats to a cloud-based AP system –

Business email compromise

Cybercriminals compromise your vendor’s email account, access the invoices, and change the bank information. Your AP department then unknowingly directs future payments to the criminal’s bank account. The criminals can hack an executive’s email account, mimic their emailing style, and use this to issue fake invoices to your AP without raising any alarms.

To compromise and use business email, criminals often monitor how a person communicates. They understand the style of writing and the topics that normally arise. This type of monitoring is called ‘social engineering’. The criminals use this information to fake seemingly important communication.

Linkage points with weak security features

Cloud-based systems often interconnect to facilitate the flow of data. For example, your invoicing system may connect with the accounting and payment processing system. It may connect with the CRM and marketing systems. Each linkage point is an opportunity for criminals to access multiple systems.

Personally identifiable information is a lucrative target for cybercriminals. They can use it to create false identities and even sell it to other criminals for money.

Supplier weakness

Third parties and their downline connections can be vulnerable to your AP process. Each connection point to your AP system can be a weak link. Even if the primary AP system is robust, criminals can use the secondary or tertiary systems to access the organisation.

Cloud vulnerabilities

Cloud services can be distributed across geographies. Companies must ensure that the AP systems safely connect to the distributed cloud infrastructure. They also need to ensure that the employees are not introducing vulnerabilities through improper use of controls and configurations.

Remote working risk

After the Covid outbreak, many employees started working from home. But they may not have the means to enforce safety controls on their systems. Insecure internet connections or browser vulnerabilities could pose a risk to the AP data of the business.

Ways to protect the AP network

Depending on how your company has structured its AP system, your security mechanism may be unique. However, here are some basic recommendations for making your AP network secure –

  1. Use multi-factor authentication, strong access management, and data storage procedures.
  2. There should be a set protocol to verify all incoming invoices, even if they are from established vendors.
  3. Automatic system scans can flag alerts when and if there is an anomalous payment.
  4. AP machine learning systems can detect transaction discrepancies and flag errors automatically over time.
  5. If your employees work remotely, ensure that they follow safe password practices. Educate them to either use secure internet at home or good antivirus software to block unsecured connections.
  6. The more complex your company’s AP system is, the more you need to review it for any unusual activity. You need strong network monitoring tools and a reviewing system.
  7. Companies should make quality control, cyber best practices, and compliance standards a part of the vendor contract.
  8. AP security is not just the job of the security team but also the employees. Train them to prioritise cybersecurity in day-to-day work.

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 organisational expectations with a robust digital mindset backed by innovation. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, respond, and evolve like living organisms will be imperative for business excellence. A comprehensive yet modular suite of services is doing precisely 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 Infosys BPM AP platform runs on AI data extraction, enrichment, and workflow automation. Save 90% of the employee time by improving efficiency and cutting down expenses. Free up critical resources from mundane jobs and achieve faster AP ROI with an optical character reader (OCR).

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

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