Source: Äri-IT Spring 2022
Author: Margo Touart, head of technology at BCS Itera
I will now list the most frequently asked questions regarding Microsoft’s ERP software, Business Central.
WHAT IS MICROSOFT DYNAMICS 365 BUSINESS CENTRAL ONLINE?
Dynamics 365 Business Central Online is a state-of-the-art cloud-based ERP software application from Microsoft, which is developed in the Danish development centre in Europe.
WHERE IS MY DATA STORED?
Estonian customer databases are stored in the data centre closest to us, Azure in Ireland (this is a Northern European data centre).
Pursuant to EU requirements, the data does not leave the borders of this region, not even for administrative operations such as backup or database duplication to ensure high availability.
WHAT SECURITY MEASURES ARE APPLIED TO STORING DATA?
Each customer’s data is located in a separate database (Azure SQL). This ensures complete separation of data from other customers’ data, both in daily use and in backup and recovery operations.
Data is encrypted at rest using Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) technology, which ensures that the database is unreadable for outsiders.
HOW IS THE DATABASE BACKED UP?
Databases are protected by automatic continuous backup. In the event of an accident, the previous state can be restored with an accuracy of one minute, so there is no substantial data loss. Backups are kept for 28 days, so the state of any point in time that time range can be restored.
WHAT IS THE SLA ENSURED BY MICROSOFT?
According to the terms of the SLA, MS promises the availability of the software service and, if it is not ensured, a reduction in the price of the service:
|Monthly Uptime||Service Credit|
CAN I DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE DATABASE?
Yes, it can be downloaded as an Azure SQL backup file (in bacpac format). A maximum of 10 downloads per month is allowed.
CAN I CREATE A TEST ENVIRONMENT?
Yes, you can create up to 3 so-called sandbox environments. They are usually used for development and testing. The test environment can be created empty or as a copy of the operating environment. The latter is good for testing processes with actual data.
HOW MUCH DATA CAN BE STORED IN THE SOLUTION?
There is no limit. The price includes 80 GB, to which 2 GB is added for each user of the essentials package and 3 GB for each user of the premium package. If the database exceeds this, you can purchase more storage space. The volume is calculated for both the sandbox and operational environments.
HOW IS THE WORKING SPEED OF THE SOLUTION GUARANTEED?
One remedy is to keep a read-only version of the database in real time that reporting is based on without the users even realising it. This means that data entry and processing are done in a different server resource than reporting.
HOW OFTEN IS THE SOLUTION UPDATED?
The solution is subject to the MS Modern Lifecycle Policy, which means that the product is continuously kept up to date. Major updates are implemented every 6 months and minor updates (mainly fixes) monthly.
HOW IS THE SOLUTION UPDATED?
Microsoft updates the environment at the date and time range specified by the customer. It is recommended to first implement major updates in the sandbox environment to familiarise yourself with them, and only then in the production environment.
WHAT AUTHENTICATION METHOD IS USED AND IS MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION (MFA) SUPPORTED?
Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is used for authentication. Azure AD offers several ways to set up MFA, and in addition to MFA, there are also other ways to increase authentication security.
HOW ARE API CONNECTIONS AUTHENTICATED?
From spring 2022, only OAuth 2.0 authentication is allowed for API connections. Basic authentication is no longer supported for security reasons.
WHAT OPTIONS ARE THERE FOR INTERFACING WITH A DATABASE?
All data in the database can be read and written through API interfaces. Direct database level access is not allowed.
WHICH DEVICES CAN THE SOLUTION BE USED ON?
In addition to the browser, fully functional apps for Windows, Android and Apple tablets and Android and Apple smartphones are available in app stores.
CAN THE SAME SOLUTION BE USED IN SEVERAL COUNTRIES (FOR SUBSIDIARIES)?
Yes, Business Central Online is available in 71 countries as of 2022, based on local business needs and legislation.
IN WHICH LANGUAGES IS THE SOLUTION AVAILABLE?
The software can be used in Estonian, English, Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Finnish, Swedish, etc.
IS THERE A TRIAL VERSION?
Yes, it can be used for 30 days.