Cybersecurity and ERP

Published Nov 2, 2023

Cybersecurity: Safeguarding Your Business Assets With ERP

You understand the critical role that Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems play in streamlining operations and consolidating data across departments.  

In this article, we will guide you through practical steps to safeguard your organisation’s data and secure your ERP system, addressing concerns related to data privacy, security breaches, and data leaks. 

Understanding the Significance of ERP System Security 

Your ERP system acts as the backbone of your organisation, orchestrating the flow of information and resources across various functions. This central role makes it an attractive target for cybercriminals seeking to exploit vulnerabilities. 

The sensitive and confidential data stored within your ERP system, from financial records to customer information to proprietary information on pricing and products, presents an opportunity for financial gain or industrial espionage. It’s crucial to grasp the potential consequences of security breaches and data leaks within your ERP systems. 

Let’s dive into the common security risks you need to be aware of. 

Identifying Common ERP Security Risks 

Here are the common risks you should keep in mind: 

  • Unauthorised Access: Weak access controls may lead to unauthorised individuals gaining entry to sensitive data and functionalities within your ERP system, potentially resulting in data breaches and unauthorised transactions. 
  • Data Breaches: Given the volume of sensitive data that ERP systems store, breaches can expose personal information, financial data, and proprietary insights that cybercriminals can exploit. 
  • Malware and Ransomware: ERP systems are vulnerable to malware and ransomware attacks, making ERP cybersecurity solutions essential. Cyber attackers can encrypt data and demand a ransom for decryption, potentially halting your organisation’s operations. 
  • Insider Threats: Whether intentional or unintentional, employees with privileged access could compromise data security. 
  • Integration Vulnerabilities: Integrations with external applications introduce security risks, especially if third-party software lacks adequate security measures. 
Top 5 ERP Security Risks

Enhancing ERP System Security

When protecting sensitive data, consider these ERP system security best practices:

  • Strong Access Controls: Implement ERP data access controls like multi-factor authentication (MFA) and role-based access controls (RBAC). These ensure users only access the data, functionality and approval levels relevant to their roles.
  • Data Encryption: When implementing data encryption in ERP, secure data during transit and at rest. This helps prevent unauthorised access in the event of data interception or breaches.
  • Regular Patch Management: Keep your ERP system and connected software up-to-date with security patches to address known vulnerabilities. Cyber villains and their tools are always evolving, so do the responses from vendors in reacting to potential vulnerabilities.
  • Network Security: Deploy firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and network segmentation to prevent unauthorised access and network attacks. Consider a commercial Single Sign On (SSO) service integrated with your ERP, usually including an MFA mechanism.
  • Training and Awareness: Data privacy measures for ERP systems include your team members, too. Educate employees about cybersecurity best practices, raise awareness about phishing attempts, and conduct regular training sessions to foster a security-conscious culture.
  • Disaster Recovery and Backups: Develop a comprehensive disaster recovery plan and conduct routine data backups to ensure swift restoration in case of breaches or system failures. And, make sure you test it!!!

Preserving Data Privacy in ERP Systems

Maintaining data privacy within your ERP system requires strategic considerations:

  • Data Minimisation: Collect and store only the essential Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and sensitive data needed for your business operations.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Follow all ERP security compliance requirements. You are obligated to protect customer information under the law, often with liability to the organisation and even its officers, with significant potential for fines or damages in case of breach. Ensure your ERP system aligns with pertinent data protection and privacy regulations relevant to where you, your customers and your suppliers do business.
  • Vendor Evaluation: If partnering with third-party ERP vendors, thoroughly assess their data privacy practices and compliance measures.
  • Data Access Monitoring: Utilise monitoring tools to track access to sensitive data, promptly detecting any unusual or unauthorised activities.

A multi-layered approach to protecting your business from increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity threats is the best defense.

Many businesses see this strategic approach as part of their reasoning for accelerating a migration to a cloud deployed ERP solution. In this model, the security – physical and cyber – of the ERP is, effectively, not your problem.

The ERP provider should inherently include as part of their offering, a built-in and state-of-the-art security suite, fully operated and managed by the ERP provider’s security experts to:

  • Protect your business from cyber threats.
  • Detect and prevent modern threats like ransomware attacks and hacks.
  • Get reliable backups and rapid restores.

You are still responsible for ensuring that the right people have access to the ERP, possess appropriate permissions and access rights to its functions and data, and maintain the security of their connection to the cloud service. The ERP provider manages the security of the cloud service platform and builds the cost of that into their ERP offering.

ERP System Security and Data Privacy: A Strategic Imperative

In today’s evolving business landscape, the security of your ERP system and data privacy are fundamental for your organisational resilience and trust-building efforts. Staying continuously vigilant, adapting proactively, and implementing robust security measures are critical in navigating the ever-changing threat landscape.

By integrating these measures and fostering a culture of security awareness, you can help safeguard your valuable assets, maintain customer trust, and mitigate the impact of potential security incidents.

ERP system vulnerability management is an undeniable necessity, shaping the trajectory of business sustainability, growth, and enhanced customer confidence.


Inspired to Act?

Book a Discovery Call with one of our product specialists to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about ERP system security and safeguarding sensitive data privacy, or if you just want to learn more about how an ERP system can transform your business.
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