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IDG Market Pulse Report underlines importance of EDI security for digital transformation

According to the latest IDG Market Pulse research about EDI value-added networks (VANs), digital transformation is the key driver for B2B implementation over the next 12 months. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digital transformation process for virtually every organization worldwide. It also led to a massive increase in cyber attacks. As companies consider how best to optimize and consolidate their EDI VAN strategies, the IDG report suggests security is both a key goal and the major challenge.

The speed and efficiency that companies have been able to pivot to digital business to better serve customers, while keeping employees safe during the pandemic has been incredible. But, it has come at a cost. The pace of change has inevitably led to cracks in security that cyber criminals have been quick to exploit. Estimates suggest that the average cost of a data breach soared to over $21,000. And, there’s evidence that hackers are beginning to target vulnerable EDI systems

Business success relies on secure EDI document exchange

It’s against this background that IDG set out to discover the benefits and challenges of maintaining EDI VANs in the current business environment.

One thing that all respondents agreed upon, was that securely exchanging information with trading partners was vital for their business success. In all, 97% stated that it was either critical or very important. 

But the full complexity of the situation soon became apparent with 89% of respondents admitting their B2B transactions were somewhat to extremely complex. The majority of companies surveyed reported managing multiple VAN implementations, multiple direct connections, and partner-mandated custom EDI transactions that all results in error-prone and time-consuming manual processing. 

It’s clear that many organizations are operating in an environment packed with management and integration challenges. And, inherently, the more of these challenges you face, the greater your security risk. It’s not surprising that companies recognize security threats from a multi-VAN environment and are actively seeking to optimize and consolidate their current B2B arrangements (See figure 1).

Figure 1

Companies worry about EDI security

Improving security comes just after digital transformation as the factor driving B2B investments (See figure 2) but it’s also seen as the greatest hurdle to achieving the required B2B optimization (See figure 3). 

Figure 2
Figure 3

The threat of cyber attack is very real and most organizations have resigned themselves to the fact that it is only a matter of time before it happens to them. However, companies set themselves up as easy targets when their own infrastructure is weakened by operational and integration complexity for increasingly agile hackers. 

IDG research shows that organizations are highly aware of this shortcoming. When asked, respondents said that security and compliance expertise was the chief concern when selecting an EDI integration partner to work with (See figure 4).

Figure 4

Today, however, the provider has to be able to demonstrate more than security skills and expertise.

Company EDI security is only as strong as the weakest link

Cyber criminals have targeted EDI VAN providers, and hackers are happy to take their time to find weaknesses and vulnerabilities in networks wherever they find them. Luckily, there is a lot companies can do to limit their exposure.

For one, companies can limit their exposure by retiring outdated systems and processes that can security vulnerabilities and instead consolidate systems to a single modern platform with a reputable provider with high security guarantees. 

The provider has to do more than stay current with security standards and regulations. It has to be able to guarantee a watertight service at the transaction, application, network and infrastructure level. For large customers, it must be able to deliver this on a global basis.

OpenText is one of a very few companies that delivers global infrastructure, management, and security across all B2B and EDI VAN solutions.

To learn more about what other forward-thinking companies are doing to solve their security vulnerabilities and other challenges, download the IDG Market Pulse report on Overcoming B2B Connection Complexity with EDI VAN Optimization

J. Naomi Skinner

As Senior Manager, Product Marketing for OpenText Business Network, Naomi leads product marketing efforts for B2B integration including EDI with OpenText Trading Grid™ Messaging Service and OpenText™ Freeway. With 15 years experience in marketing across various industries, Naomi enjoys translating complex concepts into simple terms.

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