With a sharp rise in data breaches and ransomware attacks over the past year, now is the time to consider your ERP security.
One of the most significant benefits of ERP software is that it uses a single, centralized system to store and manage your critical business applications and data. While this improves data access, visibility, and employee productivity, it’s also the very reason why ERP solutions are prime targets to cybercriminals.
Every area of your business is connected by your ERP system. From financials and sales to manufacturing and retail, your organization cannot function without everything working in tandem. On top of that, employees have access to sensitive customer data and financial information from every device. As a result, there are a lot of access points and vulnerabilities that make ERP systems ripe for the picking.
Is Your ERP System at Risk?
When we say ERP security, we are referring to the extensive range of measures that can be used to protect ERP systems from malicious cyberattacks.
ERP systems are being used by organizations of all sizes around the world to streamline business processes, reduce costs, improve operational visibility, and stimulate growth. But one successful attack against an ERP system can expose or corrupt highly sensitive data, disrupt system accessibility, trigger downtime, and cause permanent damage to your reputation. Essentially, it can cripple a business.
Last year, we saw a record number of ransomware attacks take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and prey on vulnerable small businesses and remote work technology. This year, the US government and the largest national pipeline system for refined oil products have been victims of malware attacks. Cybercriminals are not slowing down, and ERP systems are one of the biggest, most vulnerable targets.
Although ERP systems have evolved over the years, the IT environment has become more complicated, and there is more room for error. As a result, ERP systems are now considered “low hanging fruit” for hackers. Here’s why:
- Accessibility — Modern ERPs are cloud and web-based applications, which means they are always connected to the internet and have more demanding security requirements. For hackers who already know about common ERP security problems like which outdated patches to look for, they are easy targets.
- Value — ERP systems are databases that contain a wealth of valuable information. From financial information to medical data, these cyber criminals hit you where it hurts the most so they can extort the most amount of ransom from your business.
8 Common ERP Security Problems
As your ERP system and database continues to grow, it can be an endless challenge to protect your business operations and critical data from data breaches and ransomware attacks. How you train your employees, store your data, manage your network, and maintain your infrastructure impacts your ERP security. Here are some common weak spots to watch out for:
Out-of-date or unpatched software
Improper setup and configuration of an ERP system
Giving your employees an “all-access pass” to your data and systems
Inadequate security training
Use of unauthorized systems
Failure to comply with governance
Outdated business continuity and disaster recovery plans
Expert Tips on Securing Your ERP System
As an established Microsoft Dynamics ERP partner that offers managed IT services across the entire technology stack, we want to emphasize the importance of having your ERP system and data security measures fully up to date. Understanding your current ERP security environment is the first step towards protecting your data, preventing a cyberattack, and safeguarding your business.
There is an overwhelming amount of information out there, and not every partner has the in-house knowledge and expertise to provide a full assessment of your ERP system. We have tried to share some of our experience in the past, with informative blog posts on data security best practices and a Cybersecurity Checklist for our customers to follow. We have even partnered with the cybersecurity and data backup specialists at Datto for an on-demand webinar on business continuity and disaster recovery.
While there are standard IT security best practices that every business must have to prevent data loss and protect their critical systems, your ERP security approach requires additional fortification. Below, we have included a detailed list of 10 ERP security best practices that we recommend to our customers and use in our own business.
- Limit User Access with Permissions
Not every employee needs full access to the data and functionality in your ERP system. Take control over your ERP environment with user and role permissions.
- Stick to a Software Update Schedule
Unsupported or out-of-date hardware and software is a breeding ground for viruses and vulnerabilities. Keeping your ERP system current will ensure it stays supported and running on the latest security updates.
- Maintain a Firewall
Proper firewalls are designed to limit external and internal access to your business systems and are essential for securing your ERP database.
- Restrict the Use of External Systems and Applications
Modern ERP systems are internet-facing, which means you need to be even more strict about how users access other programs and share data.
- Install Antivirus Software on Every Device
Antivirus software on every computer and mobile device will stop known viruses from infiltrating your ERP system and network.
- Implement Mandatory Security Training
As attacks continue to evolve in frequency and sophistication, it never hurts to reinforce your ERP security with additional end-user training.
- Change Passwords Frequently
Non-expiring or weak passwords are a direct result of many global data breaches, so you should have company-wide multifactor authentication and password regulations in place.
- Ensure Your ERP System is Compliant
Out-of-date ERP systems are not able to keep up with changing financial and industry regulations. If your ERP is not effectively tracking and encrypting data, you’re putting your entire operation at risk.
- Keep Data Backups
Backup technology is used to restore and recover critical data. It’s an important component of your disaster recovery strategy, and if you are doing it correctly, it can save your business from significant business downtime during an attack. Learn more.
- Host Your ERP in the Cloud
There are a ton of reasons to move your ERP system to the cloud, and security is one of them. Cloud ERP systems are now considered the most highly secure software solutions out there today, with built-in security tools and controls.
Before you implement any of our ERP security best practices, it’s essential to have a plan in place that incorporates multiple layers of detection, prevention, monitoring, and recovery.
Not Sure Where to Start? Ask for Help from ERP Security Pros
At Tigunia, we have a highly specialized team of ERP and infrastructure experts who want to help you strengthen, prepare, and protect your ERP system and valuable data from unforeseen threats. With our combined expertise, we can easily evaluate your existing infrastructure and provide ERP security advice into any visible areas of weakness that need improvements.
Whether you need ERP security advice, product recommendations, or an ERP system assessment, we’re here to help. Just get in touch with our team below to get started!