Top Five Steps to Preventing Cyberattacks and Validating Microsoft Dynamics 365 in the Cloud

By Valarie King-Bailey, OnShore Technology

We live in an amazing time when technology is changing almost every aspect of our lives—at breathtaking speed. But with that speed comes increased cybersecurity threats. In fact, 74% of the world’s businesses expect to be hacked each year.[1]  The estimated economic loss of cybercrime is estimated to reach $3 trillion by 2020. And in recent years, life sciences, pharma and medical device companies have become highly sought-after targets of cyber-attacks due to the high revenues and substantial costs involved in research and development.

With the rise in cloud based software applications and apps available to the industry, employees sometimes inadvertently create an opening—clicking on links they shouldn’t or sending sensitive files by email to recipients they shouldn’t. It is mission critical to protect test data, formulas, patent information, trade secrets, and more from cyberattacks.

By now you’ve heard that Microsoft Dynamics 365 unifies CRM and ERP cloud solutions together into one cloud-based application platform. But what does that mean for pharma and life sciences companies when cybersecurity and validation comes into play? First of all, it is important to understand that Dynamics 365 and Azure in the cloud can be validated. The process for the validation of cloud applications differs somewhat from on premise applications, but the principles of validation endure. Secondly, the good news is that the validation process helps you become more protected against cyber threats.

Our validation partner, OnShore Technology Group, recommends the following five steps to preventing cyber threats and validating systems in the cloud:

  1. Establish Validation Procedures Including Cloud and Cybersecurity Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) – You must have a SOP that addresses cloud computing and the outsourcing of validated IT infrastructure to an external cloud provider. You must also have a Cybersecurity SOP that addresses the need for Cybersecurity qualification and testing as well as how to address a specific cyber event.
  2. Know That Microsoft is Developing a Safe, Trusted, Responsible, and Inclusive Cloud – Microsoft provides online tools to assist you in understanding and documenting cyber-safety and compliance through its Microsoft trust center. This is a fantastic resource that provides everything you need to conduct the supplier audit, as well as special programs for security like the Microsoft Azure IP Advantage program.
  3. Automate Requirements Traceability – A mandatory validation activity is the traceability of validation test scripts to each user, functional, and design (if bespoke development) requirement. An effective strategy for validation is the automation of this process to ensure accuracy and compliance, as well as security against cyber-attacks.
  4. Conduct Cybersecurity Qualification (CyQ) – Validated systems include data essential to quality and regulatory processes as well as information necessary to achieve compliance. Therefore, the systems must be protected at all times. One cannot eliminate the potential for a cyber-attack, but you can minimize the probability of a cyber-attack by changing your validation strategy. In addition to IQ-OQ-PQ testing which is common for all validated systems you should also conduct CyQ (Cybersecurity Qualification).
  5. Carefully Install Apps – Apps are an excellent way to enhance Dynamics 365. Care must be taken to ensure that apps are thoroughly tested and are in compliance with current guidelines.  Apps should be treated like all other integrations.  You will need a strategy to address this challenge, with regression testing, as well as documentation of all apps.

Dynamics 365 and Azure represent a change in the way systems are deployed. Cybersecurity and Validation strategies must be changed to keep up with the pace of changing systems environments. For more information about cybersecurity and validation in the cloud, Join us for our upcoming webcast featuring Valarie King Bailey: Wednesday, May 24, 1:00 pm EST: Validating Microsoft Dynamics 365 & Azure in the Cloud.

An award-winning Microsoft manufacturing partner with nearly two decades of experience, Edgewater Fullscope can guide you into a move to Microsoft Dynamics 365. Our team’s manufacturing experience can help you combat your toughest operational business challenges.

Introducing Microsoft Dynamics 365

By Marielena Zajac, Marketing Specialist

It is all anyone in the Microsoft Dynamics community has been discussing. Since Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella’s announcement back in July, Microsoft Dynamics 365 has caused quite the stir among partners and customers alike. Dynamics 365 unifies CRM and ERP cloud solutions together into one unified, cloud-based application platform. Nadella’s main takeaways to eager customers were that Microsoft Dynamics 365:

  • Helps organizations move from monolithic application suites to purpose-built, SaaS applications with intelligence built in
  • Integrates Microsoft Office 365
  • Introduces a customer centric business model to build what you want and buy just the capabilities you need, while ensuring all roles have access to all the data they need to be successful in their jobs

All this buzz has consumers asking, “what is Dynamics 365?” and “what does this integration mean for my business?” More importantly, what sets Dynamics 365 apart from the competition?

It’s Purpose-Built

According to Microsoft, Dynamics 365 provides customers a modern and familiar experience with built-in insights, intelligence, and workflow. It allows customers to choose the exact functionality that they need, which can be selected from a huge catalog that include sales, marketing, customer service, field service, project management, accounting, and much more. Dynamics 365 merges current CRM and ERP functionality into one comprehensive, cloud-based collection of apps and services for business.

Dynamics 365 apps are independently deployed and bring together the full power of Microsoft’s enterprise offerings. With these business apps, customers can start small and only pay for what is needed, and from there expand their arsenal.  The app catalog includes built-in insights, predictive intelligence, and workflow optimization, among many other selections. All of these will be delivered through simple, easy-to-use mobile experiences with offline capabilities.

It’s Productive

Dynamics 365 will provide an immersive user experience with Office 365. Microsoft states that there will be a deep integration between Dynamics 365 and Office 365 that will connect the structured workflow of business apps with the unstructured work of collaboration and productivity. With Dynamics 365, all information you have can easily be uploaded and shared on Office 365, and it is offered across web, mobile devices, and the PC.

It’s Intelligent

Power BI and Cortana Intelligence will be natively embedded into Dynamics 365 to attain actionable next steps and predictive insights for customers everywhere, making this the AI product that everyone will be eager to demo. Cortana will enable cross-sell recommendations to help sales reps predict which products and services a customer will need, and uses tools like sentiment analysis to check on the likelihood of closing a deal. Meanwhile, the Power BI components of Dynamics 365 align big data and analytics to enable every user to gain their own analytical insights. With Dynamics 365, comprehensible data is always at the user’s fingertips.

It’s Adaptable

In an industry that is constantly evolving, you need a system that can be easily adapted. Dynamics 365 supports existing capabilities that any Dynamics CRM or Dynamics AX user is running today, and has introduced Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow, which are powerful new extension capabilities that work across all the data that’s been stored in Dynamics 365. Specifically, Microsoft Flow automates workflows across applications, while Microsoft AppSource offers SaaS applications that cover a huge range of requirements. To view Edgewater Fullscope’s  AppSource apps for the manufacturing industry, click here.

The new Common Data Model surfaces all the data stored within Dynamics 365 across a set of custom entities that model data across all the different business apps. This feature allows you to seamlessly extend and accelerate all of your business apps as well as all your productivity solutions.

With Dynamics 365, customers can get the job done quickly and effortlessly while adjusting to a changing environment at a moment’s notice. As Satya Nadella said during the reveal of Dynamics 365, “The motivating force behind everything we do and everything we build is to empower our customers to make things and make things happen. Together with our customers and partners, we are reinventing business processes for a world where devices, data, intelligence and connectivity can be everywhere.”

An award-winning Microsoft manufacturing partner with nearly two decades of experience, Edgewater Fullscope can guide you into a move to Microsoft Dynamics 365. Our team has deep manufacturing experience that can help you combat your toughest operational business challenges.

For more information or to request a demo of Microsoft Dynamics 365, call at 770-772-3121 or visit www.fullscope.com

Fullscope EDGE for AX Achieves Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) Certification Status

Certified-Product LOGOFullscope EDGE for AX is now certified by Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC), a leading provider of independent software research, evaluation tools and selection services. EDGE for AX completed the certification program which included a scripted product demonstration session and benchmarking analysis with a TEC research analyst. Continue reading

Without a trace…..

NYresolutionsIn earlier posts here and here, we talked about how social media is changing the game when it comes to consumer recalls. I just took a peek at the FDA enforcement report in my inbox, and all I can say is that it will help motivate my January diet resolutions… Today, let’s take a look at another key part of the recall readiness toolkit: traceability. Over on FoodDive, the Traceability playbook describes six key advantages of implementing a comprehensive, modern traceability system:

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A Help or Hindrance: Is Your ERP System Built for Your Industry? Part 2

Part Two: Manufacturing Processes & Production Requirements

Batch processing is one of the simplest manufacturing processes. In some cases, companies using discrete ERP applications to run their businesses are forced to use work-arounds to solve process issues. In batch processing, the company can use either a bill of materials or a formula. However, discrete BOM-based applications have limitations, including units of measure (UOM), material/routing relationships, variable consumption, percentage-based formulations, step consumption, variable output and unplanned co- and by-products.
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​A Help or Hindrance: Is Your ERP System Built for Your Industry? Part 1

Part One: Types of Manufacturers

“ERP for Manufacturing” is a broad term. Each industry has very different requirements, and process manufacturers in particular are quite diverse when it comes to actual operational processes. When evaluating enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, most of the differentiation occurs in the manufacturing process, and not all ERP systems handle all industry requirements. In fact, very few do. Continue reading

Compliance Requires a Solid ERP Foundation

Fullscope Microsoft Dynamics AX Technical TIp

​​​​​​​Companies in pharmaceutical and life sciences manufacturing share a technology requirement for a strong enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to enforce the common principles of validation projects. The goal of these validation projects is to demonstrate consistent, secure and traceable transactions for any product throughout all stages of its lifecycle. By examining three key pillars of applications validation, the importance of the underlying ERP system becomes evident.

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