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Secure Inquiry, Simple Inquiry

If you could affordably automate a time-consuming and interruptive task, you would do it, right? “Yes, but.”

Solutions are often put to us simply. But our minds immediately go to possible problems in the plan. “It’s not that simple,” we think, and a number of “What-about’s” occur to us.

When it comes to automating a targeted process like vendor invoice inquiry, one of those “What-about’s” should be security. How do we allow vendors access to the information they want while protecting our systems and data from compromise?

At the same time, we’re concerned with usability. A vendor self-service system needs to be simple. If it’s not easy to use, vendors will skip it and just call — back to costing us time and money.

So a useful vendor inquiry system must be simple enough that vendors will use it, but secure enough to guard the organization’s systems and digital assets.

These are questions an organization should ask of any vendor portal solution provider: How do you keep our system and data secure? Is it easy to use?

Make sure you understand the answers. The answer to the latter question will be evident. You will be able to see and understand whether a solution will be simple enough to encourage use.

But when it comes to security, it may be more challenging to understand. Or it might not. There is security and security. Some solutions keep your system secure on the basis of a rigorous identification program of anyone trying to access it.

Think of visiting a secure facility; say a military post or a research facility. There’s a gate at the front with guards. The guards want to see your personal identification, ask you why you are visiting, and require you to open the trunk of your vehicle, while they search the underside of the vehicle with mirrors on selfie-sticks. Once you are in, you may have the freedom to go about your business, but the process of getting in is tedious at best and will at least discourage casual visits.

But such a thorough process that guards against unauthorized access defeats the other objective of easy usability. If you want people to come use a facility, you don’t want to make it hard for them to do so.

But suppose the thing you wanted to use was the only thing in the facility. It would be understood why you are visiting, because it’s the only reason to visit. There is nothing else there that needs guarding from unauthorized visitors. That’s a different approach to security.

To put it more plainly, in the context of a vendor portal, if the only thing vendors can access is the data you want them to access, you can make it easier for them to access it!

Instead of giving access to an entire campus in order to visit one building, you put the information in an offsite location where you can provide easy access without putting anything else at risk. So you provide security without losing simplicity of access.

So if you want to automate those repetitive, interruptive tasks, do ask your “what about” questions. And don’t be satisfied until you have answers for security and simplicity that don’t conflict with the other.

A secure but simple vendor self-service solution is available. To see how InvoiceInfo’s vendor self-service solutions can benefit your operations and your company click here to request more information or call (678) 335-5735.

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Vendor Inquiries

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