The cloud is more secure
Cybercrime has become an existential threat to companies, forcing them to implement security strategies to underpin their operations. The Netzsch Group, a global manufacturer of machinery and instrumentation, was faced with a number of company-wide security considerations. The group decided on a paradigm shift in how its systems are hosted, opting to move its applications to the cloud, and now operates the Coupa Treasury treasury management system. We ask Frank Friedrich, Head of Group Treasury and Risk Management, about his experiences, his approach and the considerations that led the company to migrate to the cloud.
Q: How has switching to the cloud changed your daily treasury operations?
A: Many processes now run automatically in the background. For example, software robotics are used to update master data. This gives us a reliable data source with up-to-date master data we can trust. The data cannot be manipulated, and a common cause of errors is eliminated.
Exchange rates are also automatically imported overnight. This provides clear cut-offs for all users worldwide, regardless of whether Japan is four hours ahead of central treasury or South America is three hours behind. We basically have simpler, faster and automated processes in many areas.
Q: To what extent has moving your system to the cloud enabled you to improve treasury security?
A: In treasury, we process very sensitive data. The banking we do with Coupa Treasury also means that the security requirements we have of our treasury and banking system are more stringent than in other administrative areas. On top of that, as a manufacturing company, we cannot devote the same energy as a professional cloud operator to ensuring a system is secure on an ongoing basis. As a professional cloud provider, Coupa Treasury delivers a much higher security standard than we could achieve ourselves, providing 24/7 support.
Q: In your opinion, what are the most important benefits of the cloud?
Among the benefits of running the system in the cloud, I think there are three major advantages. Firstly, IT security: as a professional cloud provider, Coupa Treasury provides gold standard security. Secondly, being free of IT constraints: we can optimize processes across the company and leverage new features without needing to invest our own IT resources. And thirdly, system performance: in the cloud, information is available faster and can be processed more smoothly and a greater level of transparency and visibility is achieved.
Q: … and what are some of the other benefits?
A: The cloud is not only more secure, but also more economical and efficient. And we are now much better equipped to deal with things: I used to have to wait for our own IT resources to have availability to help us in treasury. Now, I use the ticket system in the Coupa Support Portal, and the support contacts there take care of my queries. Tasks are completed faster. We are much closer to system enhancements and can benefit from them more quickly. And that in turn has a positive impact on security and efficiency for our operations.
Not to mention the fact that we as treasurers are relieved of the task of ensuring that the system is secure. We can focus fully on our real work.
Q: What considerations led you to migrate the system to the cloud?
A: In light of the surge in cases of cybercrime and product espionage, we are undertaking a comprehensive security audit across the entire group, looking at a range of questions. Where do we need to increase security efforts? In which departments can we completely hand over responsibility for the cyber security of the systems? And where will we be able to leverage a cloud solution quickly and without any problems? We wanted to spread the risk and ensure efficient use of resources. The time factor also played a decisive role. In treasury, we were in the fortunate position of simply choosing the right cloud offering from Coupa Treasury.
Q: How did the migration to the cloud go?
A: We were able to extract a data set from the onsite application which Coupa Treasury used to rebuild our system in the cloud – with all the relevant configurations and permissions. This happened very quickly, and the system was ready to use in four days. And as the migration fell over a weekend, we had almost no downtime. We then checked each individual process. Hardly any errors occurred, and those that did were often caused by incomplete user knowledge, mostly in relation to IT.
Q: Did the move to the cloud throw up any surprises?
A: Since moving to the cloud, we have been using plausibility checks for purposes other than simply verifying that the application is running smoothly. The enhanced system performance has enabled us to analyze our processes in a new level of detail. We can pinpoint sources of error that previously caused us real headaches. For example, at some point – without telling us – a bank in Italy started sending a weekly report in addition to the daily status reports. This was automatically imported into the system, entering cash amounts that were not available. The cloud provides us with even greater visibility in relation to processing external data.
Q: What advice would you give treasurers who currently host their system locally?
A: All I can say is don’t wait until you have to switch to the cloud. Discuss it now with your CIO and IT team, and together develop a sound, structured process for treasury in the cloud. The question these days is not whether a cyberattack will affect you. The question is when your company will become a target for fraudsters and how well prepared you are.
The Netzsch Group is a global, family-owned manufacturer of machinery and instrumentation with three separate business units: Analyzing & Testing, Grinding & Dispersing and Pumps & Systems. The equipment produced by the company has applications in almost all industries.
Founded in 1873, the Netzsch Group today has more than 3,700 employees worldwide at 210 locations on all continents.
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