security | enterprise resource planning

4 tips for securing your enterprise resource planning software

In the Oscar-winning drama The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin are two Harvard college students working to create what is now the most widely used social networking site in the world: Facebook.

There’s a scene from the film where a crowd of students cheer on five nerdy guys furiously typing on computers. Zuckerberg looks on while Saverin approaches him, asking what’s going on.

“They have 10 minutes to get root access to a Python web server, expose its SSL encryption, and then intercept all traffic over its secure port.”

Saverin replies, “They’re hacking.”

Turns out, these five guys are participating in a “hackathon.” One where, according to the rules, they take a shot every 30 or so seconds.

To these students, hacking is a game. Something fun to do at a party. In the business world, it’s anything but.

The possibility of a cybercriminal breaching your business network and gaining access to sensitive company data is very real. And very serious.

One of the ways a hacker can do this is through your enterprise resource planning software. We’re here to help you prevent that from happening.

Why is ERP security important?

Enterprise resource planning software has the potential to give an overview of your entire company-wide operations, including everything from customer and financial relationships to personal data, HR information and intellectual property.

A data breach that includes ERP records would have sweeping impact. Productivity takes a hit, your reputation suffers, and revenue could easily dip. And if your business is subject to compliance regulations, you could be looking at hefty violation fines, too.

The key to avoiding these headaches is a robust network and application security designed specifically to protect all your data, including the information managed by your ERP solution.

Here are 4 tips to help you better secure your ERP software.

  1. Update, update, update.

Forgive the repetition, but this first tip is just that important. Update your network security and upgrade your application software to the most current release. Due to ERP’s integration into nearly every area of your company, a breach into one are of your network can expose your entire system to hackers.

Patching your system will protect against new malware threats and fix bugs. Plus, updates can introduce new software capabilities unavailable in previous versions.

Since enterprise resource planning software is massive, performing updates will take longer. Scheduling them outside of business hours will help you eliminate update-related downtime.

  1. Control user access.

If anyone in your company can access all the information in your ERP, then in the famous words of NASA Mission Control, “Houston, we have a problem.” Allowing every employee to see every module’s information is a security risk. And, depending on the data, a potential compliance violation.

“66% of data protection leaders admit that employees are the weakest link in an enterprise’s security posture.” – Ponemon Institute

To prevent internal attacks or accidental data removal, define permissions for different features in your ERP and require employees to frequently change their passwords. If an employee doesn’t need access to certain information to do their job, they shouldn’t have it. An experienced professional can help you set up these permissions.

  1. Train your employees.

Piggybacking onto our previous point, it’s essential to acknowledge that employees pose a substantial security risk, so be sure you take into consideration segregation of duties when allocating permissions. Sure, your staff means well. But humans, by nature, have a larger predisposition for error than machines.

“60% of respondents believe employees lack adequate knowledge of cybersecurity risks.” – Ponemon Institute

That’s why it’s critical to train your team on cybersecurity best practices. If your team knows how to spot and report unusual activity in your ERP, you can greatly reduce a cyberattack’s damage.

  1. Use active reporting.

Visibility is crucial. If an issue occurs, you’ll need to know where in order to resolve it. Real-time, internal reporting can help by letting you see problematic user activity as it happens and trace data quickly and efficiently. Run frequent audit reports in your most sensitive ERP modules.

For example, if users try to access data without the required permissions, you’ll know. Once you’re made aware, you can address the issue immediately, minimizing potential damage.

Securing your enterprise resource planning software.

Taking a preventative approach is always the best way to approach network and application security. While there’s not a universal solution, these tips should provide you with a solid foundation for securing the sensitive data in your ERP.

Related Blog: The Advantages of ERP for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses