Leveraging Information Technology to Increase Protection #4

Written by Martin Phillips

The recently released white paper “Principles of Procurement Fraud Prevention” outlines five ways procurement fraud can be combated in the workplace. These principles are creating an anti-fraud culture, establishing a due diligence culture, defending against social engineering, leveraging information technology to increase protection, and investigating/assessing risk levels and current controls.

We’ve created five blogs which tackle each of the principles within the white paper. This blog covers the fourth principle – leveraging information technology to increase protection from procurement fraud. Once you’ve read this, check out the other blogs in the series!

The Challenges of Information Technology

The current procurement cycle is built on information technology – our computer systems and automated tools form the foundations of procurement. Cloud-based software is key to a successful business these days, transitioning from paper-based, traditional methods of processing to online solutions.

Naturally, a shift in working like this was initially praised as the pinnacle of procurement – tried and accurate methods enhanced by technology and made better. However, with modern tools come modern challenges, and the growing sophistication of fraud means leveraging information technology to outmanoeuvre our foes.

The Multi-Layered Method of Protection 

There have been numerous anti-fraud controls that work within IT systems created over the years, but the bulk of them require manual input to be effective. The use of technology gives a new opportunity to add to existing controls by offering access to new, fully-automatic checks and alerts, in addition to much-needed automation.

To provide the best protection, a multi-layered approach is needed. For example, if the existing manual controls you use for your procurement system are employed in conjunction with audits, statistical analyses, and artificial intelligence, there are more options for issues to be flagged by the system. Organisations need to continue to utilise fraud-detection tools, and these do form a sensible initial layer of fraud protection. Still, there can be more advanced options employed on top of them.

Machine learning is recommended for any business. As a form of AI, machine learning examines data quickly and effectively, locating patterns and exceptions that people may not. Once you program the machine to recognise these anomalies as “bad”, then all future instances are flagged up.

This software provides a multi-layered approach to data protection and fraud prevention. There are both your existing manual controls as well as AI working together to accomplish goals.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to information technology, it needs to be leveraged to its fullest if you’re going to protect against the growing sophistication of procurement fraud. There is an abundance of modern solutions which, once programmed, can help identify and flag issues or anomalies in your data.

A multi-layered approach is by far and away the best decision for your business because it helps to guarantee a complex protective field around your procurement system. Manual controls are an excellent first response, but they should not be your sole protection – the system is not foolproof.

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