Cybersecurity & ERP

Effective cybersecurity is paramount to businesses and something that most IT and digital transformation teams take seriously. Today, data security is even more critical as cloud computing and remote work open more opportunities for cybercriminals to attack. Organizations with disparate employees accessing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) business data and IT networks from multiple remote locations now have to worry about cybersecurity in a way they haven’t had to before, making them more vulnerable to threats and substantial risks.

Attackers targeting your business management solutions, ERP solutions, and collaboration tools have the same goals as they always have: they want sensitive information.

The remote workforce has accelerated digital transformations and, in turn, the world of cybersecurity due to the sudden exposure and potential breach of confidential and sensitive information residing on local machines in someone’s home. These devices connect to your ERP’s shared central database, which stores sensitive company data like accounting info, credit data, payroll, intellectual property, logistics, as well as employee, supplier, and customer personal information. The list goes on.

If you’re undertaking the digital transition like everybody else, be aware of not only what applications and infrastructure you’re migrating to, but also how you’ll protect that infrastructure. Think beyond all the outside entities and hackers who want to attack your internal infrastructure, but also with remote employees accessing business data and systems in new and potentially risky ways.

How will cybercriminals gain access to remote devices?

In today’s world of remote workforces and cloud-hosted business tools, cybercriminals see increasing opportunities with individual user targets because they know employees are accessing systems remotely, often from company equipment housing sensitive data.

Here, they’re trying to attack a specific endpoint assuming your network security might be weaker without contending with a corporate firewall or other security provisions. If a criminal can gain access to an employee’s company device at home, they’re in.

Here are some of the current primary concerns:

Social Engineering

Ever hear of social engineering? Hackers get you to believe that they work for your company to gain trust to get users to share information they’ll need to access your data. For example, if your company has a help desk, hackers may attempt to social engineer your employees by calling or emailing, posing as your IT team requesting access. An unaware staff inadvertently grants access to their computer remotely or gives up a password.

Malware

Malicious software programs, like ransomware and spyware, use social engineering to fool users and evade security controls. Once a cybercriminal installs malware onto your network, you could be in a dire situation, depending on the hacker’s intentions.

Ransomware

Ransomware encrypts your network so you are barred access until you compensate the cybercriminal. When an attacker breaches an employee’s workstation to access your business software through social engineering or malware due to an unpatched system, they can encrypt all data within the ERP solution, accounting software and other business management tools.

What can you do to protect your business data?

Attackers never give up and they know the pandemic crisis has created vulnerabilities. Better data management and data security start with how employees currently enter company networks, business data, intranet, other access points, and the security you employ to protect them.

A lot of companies use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) but VPNs can be vulnerable if implemented improperly. Penetration testing, or pen testing as it’s often referred, involves examining your network security, staff training to expose areas vulnerable to penetration so you can fix. Have a vulnerability assessment performed on your external IP address range and external hosts as well as wherever employees connect to the network to ascertain how secure your data remains.

Multi Factor Authentication: Stronger authentication is key. Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) or two-factor authentication is extremely difficult to breach. The more obstacles between a hacker and your business data, the better.

Proper Staff Training: Human error is the leading cause of most cyberattacks. Through social engineering, hackers fool humans to breach networks that even the most expensive security protocols on the planet couldn’t protect against.

Automation: The less your ERP system relies on a human to conduct its business processes the better. Manual workarounds leave opportunities for human error and exposure. Automation also expedites detection and remediation when threats are uncovered.

Keep Software Updated: ERPs, antivirus and other business management solutions provide regular software updates, patches, and bug fixes that address vulnerabilities in their prior versions. These fixes are made public in the documentation and inform hackers who know that most organizations delay implementing new updates. Older ERP systems are especially at risk.

Have an Incident Response Plan: Preparation helps you respond to a cyber breach so your incident response plan enables you to prepare for, detect, respond to, and recover from cyberattack.

AI for Authentication: A mobile-centric zero-trust security strategy uses AI and machine learning to validate devices, define user context, monitor the authorization of applications, verify the network, and identify and address threats before secure access is granted.

ERP systems are the foundation of many businesses, so a cyberattack’s damage could be far-reaching. Effective data management looks slightly different today compared to five years ago. With so many shifts in the way we work and interact with our ERP and business management solutions, data security threats will always lurk, ready to create havoc. Take safety precautions, update your software and train your employees to ensure you’re prepared to detect and respond when an incident occurs.

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