Cybersecurity and ERP – What you should know

When it comes to cybersecurity, businesses are always at risk for cybercrime through data breaches, cyber-attacks or malicious emails. Whether you realize it or not, your data plays an increasingly central role in your business. The question is, are you using it to your benefit, or are you inadvertently giving someone else access to use it?

Cybersecurity is a topic we often think about when we hear of others being attacked. While it might not be a topic you think about daily now, if you ever become the victim of an attack, it’s all you will think about. It makes sense because the impact of a cybersecurity breach can be substantial—and extremely harmful from a cost and brand reputation perspective.

In recent years, high-profile cyber attacks have influenced how companies approach their own data security posture, including staff and customer personal data. That’s the silver lining, of course. When your ability to safeguard your business data and private information comes into question, you’re more motivated to take action and reevaluate your current data breach prevention methods company-wide, your enterprise software systems included.

The whole point of an ERP is storing and managing critical organizational data for growing companies. While all enterprise software carries risk, legacy ERP systems bring more concerns due to how customized and difficult to upgrade these systems commonly are.

Your ERP is the backbone of your business and the keeper of all your data. As the centralized database that provides an overview of business-wide operations, ensuring you have taken the proper security measures to protect your data is an essential component in any cybersecurity strategy.

How can you mitigate the cybersecurity risks you face to prevent a data breach from occurring? Follow these best practices:

Keep current on your security updates

Every ERP solution relies on keeping the entire system up-to-date. Periodic patch releases correct programming flaws, add capabilities, and address malware developments. Every section within your ERP databases must be kept up-to-date, including any integrated modules and critical add-ons that manage accounting data must be kept current to prevent an entry point into your whole network.

Keep staff cyber aware

Internal blind spots present significant risks to your data and that’s where your biggest cybersecurity threats linger. Employee negligence is the most common, so make sure employees have a basic knowledge of cybersecurity risks and understand the vulnerabilities you face. With the right employee training, you can reduce the chance of a breach. Share recent data breaches you find in the news, especially if they are similar examples of how a hacker might illegally target and access your systems.

Set up role-based permissions

Unfortunately, employees with access to sensitive data can do a lot of damage if they have bad intentions. Uncontrolled access allows anyone with a login a path to data stored within your ERP. Instead, a clear Segregation of Duties (SoD) lets you establish permission to access based on a user’s role and responsibilities. Role-based access control not only helps you segregate duties with your ERP but also ensures position-based security monitoring easier.

Don’t forget about hardware security

Most companies think of their network and software when considering where they are most vulnerable to a cyber attack. While attacks on these systems are common, your physical equipment’s theft or loss can represent a significant data breach. Since no organization can eliminate the risk of theft, encrypting your data and protecting all your devices with strong passcodes protects you against unauthorized data access.

Encrypt your data

A significant number of data breaches occur due to stolen or lost data that lacked appropriate encryption. Encrypting information is a safeguard in the event your physical hardware is lost or stolen. Sensitive information left unsecured is too common. Enable full-disk encryption tools and force staff computers to log out after sitting idle automatically.

Establish cybersecurity risk mitigation and response plans

What will you do if you are the victim of a cyber-attack or data breach? Don’t wait for a cybersecurity incident to establish a plan. Having a detailed monitoring system that alerts you of events coupled with a solid response plan will help you determine the cause of the violation, the extent of any damage done and help improve prevention efforts in the future. Cybersecurity plans define your current and future state while providing a roadmap for your IT defenses and clarity around your cybersecurity capabilities.

Most organizations rely on their data analytics to address bottlenecks and affect change. By digitizing your data, you’re able to automate repetitive processes, respond faster to customer demands, and make informed decisions. Without access to secure, real-time data, these mission-essential tasks are impossible. This is especially important as companies move towards more individualized models because the reliance on data will only increase. Anywhere you depend on your data, there’s an obligation for data security.

Lean on your ERP software vendor if you ever fall victim to a cyber attack to get your system back to working order and protect you going forward. If you need help determining which provider is right for your business and specific industry, contact us and speak with our ERP data security experts today.

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