Did you know that the average cost of a data breach in 2020 was $3.86 million USD? While that’s a 1.5 percent decrease over 2019, it’s still a hefty price tag. Lest you think that smaller businesses aren’t as much at risk, think about all the data that is in your ERP system. If the wrong person were to gain access through hacking or ransomware it could spell disaster for your business. Attackers could steal financials, manufacturing secrets, and other sensitive information. Cybercrime can even go so far as halting critical infrastructure, effectively crippling your business.
Most think of cybersecurity in the form of the internet or email scams, but ERPs are just as vulnerable to attack; their centralized functionality makes them an especially attractive target. Cybersecurity measures ought to be in place for ERP systems, too—not only to prevent attack, but to respond should a breach occur.
Common Misconceptions About ERP Security
It’s true that ERP systems have a lot of moving parts, which include some built-in security functions. But a dangerous misconception is that the built-in security is enough to protect your sensitive data. The built-in security prevents a cyber intruder from accessing sensitive HR data stored on the ERP, but that cyber intruder may still be able to access the underlying database that houses the sensitive data.
The built-in ERP security is also not likely to be robust enough to protect internet-based remote ERP access. Remote access has become more common due to the sharp increase in remote working, and offsite access to ERPs opens up a whole host of new security challenges. Security researchers regularly uncover vulnerabilities in ERP systems the creators didn’t consider or even know about.
5 Tips to Mitigating ERP Security Risk
Relying on built-in ERP security will likely not be enough to protect sensitive information. How else can you protect your data? Adding some best-practice planning and response systems can help mitigate risks and even prevent attacks from happening.
- Educate teams. Do employees understand all the vulnerabilities the company faces and how hackers can illegally access the systems? The more teams know about where threats exist, the more they can be aware and enact prevention measures. Enforce proper employee training that includes a certificate of training completion.
- Establish good practices. Threats may come from the inside as well if the wrong people have access to sensitive information. Enact role-based access control and segregation of duties, ensuring position-based security. Install security patches as soon as your ERP provider releases them; organizations that are behind on security patches are more vulnerable to attacks.
- Secure hardware. Software isn’t the only place attackers strike. Stolen physical hardware—laptops, phones, and more—can open more avenues for malicious access. Keep important hardware secured so it’s harder to steal.
- Encrypt information. Stolen information that is unreadable is unusable. Take the value out of sensitive information by encrypting it so outsiders cannot read what it says.
- Create a cybersecurity risk mitigation plan. No matter how much preparation you do, a breach may still occur. Keep a monitoring system in place that can flag unusual activity and access to sensitive information, then alert you to events as soon as they happen so you can enact measures such as forced password changes, locking down systems, and alerting impacted customers.
Enact Regular Preventative Practices
A breach is enough disruption to business activity; the prevention can’t be worse than the problem, or no one will want to make the time to follow preventative practices. Adding firewalls and multi-factor identification for remote login attempts can help mitigate the threats that appear between ERP security patch releases. VPN technology can also help companies validate new or unfamiliar devices accessing the network to ensure that only those with the appropriate credentials are allowed through.
Improve ERP Security With SYSPRO
Security built into ERP solutions is still useful and should not be ignored as a line of defense against cyberattacks. SYSPRO ERP security measures include governance, risk management, and compliance functionality to provide organizations with the ability to monitor and document information flows and business transactions to detect and prevent changes that would increase risk and compromise business operations.
No matter how much security technology you put in place, remember that your employees are an important line of defense, too. Be sure to implement company-wise best practices that employees are trained and certified in, including multi-factor identification and password protection.
Cybersecurity might not be something you think about every day. But the impact and cost of an attack can be devastating and affect your business long into the future. Maintain your ERP security and keep the backbone of your organization healthy.