Often, the banking and treasury functions configured in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution like Microsoft Dynamics 365 involve sophisticated and thorough approvals and other processes. However, without file storage available in the ERP solution itself, some businesses implement unsecured bank communication and file transfer strategies. The consequences for these businesses and their financial partners could be drastic, particularly in today’s environment. Additionally, these companies miss out on valuable opportunities to further automate their financial processes.

Online banking security risks: The importance of end-to-end protection

With billions of dollars at stake, it’s no surprise that banks and other financial institutions are prime targets for cybercrime. A 2019 article from Trend Micro identified that banking customers and infrastructure are prominent targets for cyberattacks. Customers face phishing attacks, browser injects and other threats.

The last link, the weakest link: Why secure communication matters

If you have a strong chain overall, but there’s one weak link, what do you have? A vulnerable gateway.

Today, that final link in the chain could be even more crucial than in the past. Previously, a centralized workforce that relied on a tightly controlled corporate network could at least offer greater security, even if the processes undertaken on that network could be improved.

Today, when remote work is the norm, distributed workforces rely on home networks that employ varying levels of protection.

In this environment, it’s even more crucial that financial processes employ strong security throughout the entire workflow.

Too often, the weakest link in the chain is at the point where files are transferred to and from the bank. Without secure file storage available within Dynamics 365, businesses may rely on individual workers to upload an editable file containing sensitive information from their desktop web browser to the bank’s interface. Receiving files from the bank is similarly risky. Conducting this kind of business from a home network multiplies the risk factor.

Additional considerations: Lost efficiency for manual banking processes

Using manual, unsecured communication channels with your bank also undercuts your ability to automate time-consuming, labor-intensive processes. This is especially true for receiving bank statements. When an individual is responsible for directly receiving and maintaining these records — then reconciling them as well — the process can take up an excessive time, distracting from the completion of other tasks and introducing the potential for human error.

Secure communication for online banking

The growing importance of secure communication has become clear in many circles, from messaging to videoconferencing. For online banking security, end-to-end protections must entail secure communication between the business customer and its financial institution. Specifically, the exchange of files between the company and the bank must be conducted through a secure channel.

How it works: The Bank Communications Hub

The Bank Communications Hub (BCH) serves as a secure channel through which businesses can communicate between the Dynamics 365 ERP and a bank. Without the need for additional on-premises infrastructure, the BCH can be implemented through a secure cloud configuration. This solution stores files for Dynamics 365 and communicates securely and directly with any bank or other legal entity of your choosing. For example, in Dynamics 365, business users can create, approve and submit vendor payments for execution, after which the BCH will carry out that workflow.

Importantly, the BCH allows businesses to remain bank independent. Because the configuration can be integrated with any bank worldwide, companies are not committed to remaining with one bank simply because of their secure communication software solutions.

Instead of forcing individual contributors to manually exchange files with their banks, the BCH provides a more secure communication channel, limiting the potential for bad actors to intercept and exfiltrate sensitive data. This process also ensures that files are stored securely prior to their transfer and after they are received from the financial institution.

Better online banking security, plus enhanced automation

An additional feature of the BCH is the ability for businesses to further automate their financial processes, even when those workflows involve secure communication with outside financial institutions. For example, receiving and reconciling bank statements will require less manual processing and interaction when these processes are automated through the BCH. The hub can import statements according to the business’s desired cadence, not requiring an individual to download, manage or store the statements. From this secure storage point, automation can be used to create statements within the company’s ERP, setting the stage for an efficient reconciliation process that’s mapped to the company’s unique needs and capabilities. This automated solution provides greater security, less human input, improved accuracy and better efficiency overall.

The Bank Communications Hub is a unique solution from SK Global Software that helps facilitate many other value-adding processes and automation capabilities for accounting and finance departments. Learn more about our banking and treasury solutions. Get in touch with us today.

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