Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have revolutionized the way modern businesses handle day-to-day tasks, enabling them to automate otherwise time-consuming processes. However, with an increased reliance on software, there also comes an increased security risk. While the advantages of ERP systems certainly outweigh the risks, a little vigilance and preparation to mitigate those risks is worthwhile. To help make the most of the ERP systems your business employs, here are some of the most common ERP system security problems and how to avoid them.
According to an article featured on CompareTheCloud.net, a disconcerting 87 percent of business computers contain software that is outdated. The tendency to delay software updates is not limited to ERP systems, but ERP is a primary concern as it touches almost all systems and often contains sensitive data. When security flaws are found in a system, updates are released to patch the flaws. If those updates are ignored or delayed, the security flaws go unchecked, leaving the system, and associated business, vulnerable. With this in mind, one of the most important steps you can take to keep your systems secure is to update them each and every time a revision becomes available.
Relying on One-Factor Authentication
As ERP systems have grown more extensive, the amount of information they are able to store has grown as well. Many ERP systems are storing data that is quite sensitive, confidential or subject to regulation. If protecting that information is a priority, you may want to consider how easy it is to access. One-factor authentication, such as a single password required, is not nearly secure as it used to be as password cracking has become one of the most common and easy-to-pull of forms of cyber-attacks. Instead of relying on one-factor authentication for your ERP and putting the system at risk, consider employing a two-factor authentication. As two-factor authentication systems have grown more advanced, they've become more convenient as well, leaving no real reason why they shouldn't be used.
Poorly Trained Staff
CloudTech says, "People tend to get hyped about the cyber part of ‘cyber security’ but they often don’t realize that actually, the weakest link in the system are humans." Without a doubt, properly securing your ERP system is a broader challenge than focusing on bits and bytes - in order to avoid security problems, you're going to have to make sure your staff knows how to properly use the systems you provide for them. Extensive security training should be a part of the implementation of any new ERP system. Without it, you run the risk of an employee making a costly blunder that could have otherwise been avoided.
Having Full Access Rights set as the Default
As a continuation of the theme that the human element is an important factor of ERP system security, it's a good idea to look at who has access to what in your ERP systems. When you first implement a new software, there is a good chance that the default setting will be to give anyone in your business full access rights. However, it is likely you won't want to keep this setting in place as most employees will not need full access rights in order to do their job. For example, there's no need for someone working in sales to have access to the salary information of other employees. Limiting access to an "as-needed" basis removes temptation from your employees, and also limits the number of mistakes they are capable of making. In addition, you may want to consider tracking changes in your ERP system so that you can know where they originated.
Not Performing Regular Cybersecurity Audits
Cybersecurity audits are an essential part of keeping your ERP, as well as all systems secure. ERP Solutions Review recommends that you, "think about them as regular check-ups at your doctor’s office – if you detect something is wrong at the right time, you’ll have much fewer problems fixing it." Performing regular security audits not only allows you to detect flaws in your security, it also enables you to spot security breaches that have already taken place. On average, it takes businesses six months to a year to realize that a security breach has occurred. During this time, a hacker has unfettered access to any information that is uploaded into your ERP system. By performing security audits at least twice a year, you can spot more flaws before they are taken advantage of, as well as limit the amount of time hackers who do pull of security breaches have access to your sensitive information.
In many ways, ERP systems represent the mode of modern business, and as they continue to grow more and more capable, the value that they offer will only increase. By taking the steps necessary to avoid common ERP security problems, you can ensure that your systems remain more of an asset than they are a liability and continue using them to improve efficiency and grow your business.