8 common ERP Security Best Practices to Implement

8 common ERP Security Best Practices to Implement

All-in-one ERP systems have the advantage of removing the need to use multiple software applications to increase data consistency and ensure that all aspects of the daily operation are compatible and easily accessible. As with any system that covers so many areas, there will be weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

Modern business is dependent on data. Enterprise resource planning (ERP), systems that manage this data, are vital to its survival. Cybercriminals love ERP software because it integrates data with business functions across multiple departments, including finance, marketing, sales, and manufacturing. Make no mistake: Cyber criminals are not slowing down after a U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency 2018 warning that they were targeting legacy ERP systems.

Accenture’s annual cybersecurity report for 2021 shows that cyberattacks on companies increased by 31% annually. Accenture also found that 81% of the nearly 4,750 CISOs surveyed said they were fighting to keep ahead of cybercriminals, and that the cost was not sustainable.

If you are responsible for managing or planning to deploy an ERP system, it is important to understand the most common security issues and how to overcome them.

These are eight common security issues in ERP systems. Here are some helpful hints to help you avoid them.

Related Updates

According to some reports, 87 percent of all business computers have outdated software. This includes ERP systems that aren’t up-to-date. It can be difficult to fix any problems, such as crashes if your version is not supported. It can also expose your business to risks. Software updates are necessary for several reasons. They may be required to add new features or fix flaws in existing software. Cybercriminals are constantly evolving and hackers find ways to bypass even the most recent security measures. It is therefore vital to install updates as soon as possible.

How to Avoid: You might want to avoid falling behind in installing ERP updates. An automatic updater will apply any available software updates.

Full Access Rights

External threats are undoubtedly the biggest threat to businesses, but we shouldn’t ignore internal risks. It’s not a good idea to have full access rights. Instead, you need to consider who has access to which data. Software developers would not need access to information about employee salaries in most cases. You should also check to see if employees have permission to modify the system. The needs of your business will determine the access rights and permissions you have, but it should not be an ‘unnecessary’ basis.

How to Avoid: Keep an audit log to keep track of any changes. It is also worth adding authorizations to checklists for new hires and promotions as well as any documentation relating to role changes.

 

Inadequate Training

It is worth taking a closer look at the security risks posed by internal sources, as outlined above. While the risk could be malicious or intended, in most cases it is due to a lack of knowledge. This could be due to a lack of understanding of the ERP system as a whole or a lack of understanding of what security expectations are for the organization. This is particularly true for new hires that do not have a deep understanding of internal processes. Even though mistakes may be deemed harmless, they still pose security risks to your business.

What to Avoid: Ask your ERP provider whether system training is included as a standard. Nominate staff to train new employees and make sure business protocols are readily available to all employees.

Failure to comply

Your ERP system must meet all local security standards if it is used to store sensitive sales information. If credit card information is involved, this could include PCI DSS requirements. The system should not retain the 3-digit security code and must store all details in an encrypted format. There are also requirements that the business follows. Secure passwords will be needed to protect your data, limit access to those who ‘need’ to know and keep track of access to what you have. Your sector may have regulations that you need to follow.

What to avoid: Make sure your ERP system is compliant with all regulations. It is important to update your vendor-issued password and to follow good security practices.

Unauthorized Systems

ERP’s main purpose is to integrate. This eliminates the need for what’s known as Frankensteining. Frankensteining is when multiple software programs are used simultaneously to accomplish a single goal. For example, an ERP can keep sales data and Excel can run reports. Even though it isn’t office protocol, this practice still occurs across many businesses. It all comes down to your familiarity with the application and how easy it is to use. Data could be stored in multiple programs simultaneously, which can lead to data being not properly maintained, updated, or secured.

How to Avoid: First, make sure you don’t export data unless it is necessary. If your ERP system isn’t performing as it should, it might be time to upgrade.

Automatic Trust

Cloud ERP systems are growing in popularity. Cloud ERP systems are becoming increasingly popular. This means that the data you enter is not stored locally but instead is stored on a third-party cloud hosting service. Cloud ERP has many advantages. They can free up your IT department to do more profitable tasks. They can also save you time and reduce the impact on your internal networks. There is one downside to cloud ERP: you have to give up 100 percent of your ERP system security. Businesses should have confidence that their data will be safe.

What to avoid:

Pay attention to the security and data regulations of your cloud provider. Ask around, review, and don’t be afraid of asking questions.

Single Authentication

ERP systems have become more capable of managing a wider variety of information and also more sensitive information. Although passwords are the standard authentication, we need to question whether 1FA (one-factor authentication) is sufficient for modern ERP systems. Password cracking can be one of the most common types of hacking. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense for us to protect our most sensitive, confidential, and important business data with passwords that can easily be stolen or guessed by experts.

How to Avoid: 2FA is the obvious solution. Good news: The 2FA industry has evolved in recent years, so there’s no need to have a physical device. An email address can receive a code instead.

Continuously improving attack vectors

Malicious actors constantly find new ways to attack. To stay ahead of the curve, they are constantly changing their strategy and game plan. Once they know the attack surface, they move to a different vector. Software vendors must be flexible and adaptable to stay ahead of the curve.

Conclusion

While there are many security considerations to consider when installing an ERP system, the benefits far outweigh any potential risks. A secure and reliable ERP system with high data consistency can make your business more secure and provide peace of mind to your clients and staff.

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