It's your data. Responsible partners don't hold their customers' ERP database hostage.

 

You’d think that a Software as a Service (SaaS) partner would always give access to your ERP database, wouldn’t you? But it doesn’t always happen. There are many reasons why you may need to have access to your system, so it makes sense to ensure your partner is on the same page on this point.

System vendors or partners hosting those vendor systems are often trapped in a conundrum of providing low-cost services but with a high level of application capability. That sometimes means building out a privately hosted cloud environment. There can be severe restrictions for customers wanting to access their own information as the security model only supports administrative access for the partner’s staff.

 

A shared system layer that can’t be modified

One of the foundation pieces of a true cloud accounting or ERP system is the ability to share the core database server and application objects across a number of customers while keeping data confidential and allowing unique customizations. This capability is built on the premise of a shared system layer that can’t be modified by either customers or partners. This most often means customers don’t have their own unique instance of Microsoft Azure SQL Server, which prohibits handing out the Azure SQL administrative password to customers.

This feature alone greatly restricts access to the system but is compounded by vendors or partners who decide to offer a low-cost service (or at least the most profitable to them). This is greatly simplified by not allowing access to administrative functions by anyone except partner personnel.

The customers we have come across who have found themselves in this situation are pretty unanimous in how this topic didn’t seem to come up during the sales cycle. Sadly, it’s only when customers realize they need better and more timely access to their ERP database do they realize they don’t have access to their own system. They discover they aren’t able to attach a report writer to the data in these private clouds or make backups of the software themselves, even if it is just to make a reporting database available.

 

There’s a better alternative for maximum access to your ERP database

As we began our transition to providing cloud solutions to our customers we believed there was a better alternative. Not only is there a massive infrastructure investment to running a private cloud, but it significantly increases risk compared to relying on utilizing Microsoft Azure SQL services provided directly by Microsoft. We chose to rely exclusively on this latter option.

Who would you rather have managing the hardware and systems software required by your ERP system, an independent firm or Microsoft? Something to thing about.

The decision to rely on Microsoft means the entire infrastructure is protected by Microsoft’s SaaS and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) methodology. Microsoft provides duplicate data centers in many countries with automatic failover to multiple copies as an option. Hardware and software systems always have the latest patches. Firewalls are the best you can buy. All of this protection and security supports giving our customers the maximum possible access.

While there are certain instances where full administrative access can’t be granted, we have options to deal with these situations to ensure customers get access to their information when they need it. The latest version of Dynamics 365 Business Central even offers customers the ability to easily download a backup from the cloud to wherever they want it.

 

It is your data!

When we establish customer accounts we provide administrator access to customers and allow them to manage their subscriptions through our online store for Dynamics 365 Business Central, Office 365, and other subscriptions. Customers are in charge of their systems. We help out when needed, but you will never get a services bill for time to add another user to your system. This policy isn’t unique to us, but we believe it is something everyone would find valuable.

It is your data! We believe responsible partners should never hold their customer data hostage.

Contact us here for more information on how to host and manage your ERP data in a Microsoft Azure cloud.

 

*Microsoft’s 2020 Wave 1 update for Dynamics 365 Business Central is now available and includes service quality and accessibility enhancements for improved productivity. Read our previous blog here for details on all the new features.