Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are designed to help companies maintain an efficient and consistent level of business operations. Formerly the job of numerous, disparate systems, ERP software integrates many tools into one, coordinating and maintaining the most important business-related tasks and financial transactions. With all these integrated programs and process, ERP systems require attention, not just for maintenance and updating but to ensure that attention is given to all security issues, even those that can easily be overlooked.
ERP software systems decrease the need for multiple independent applications, helping business improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their daily business operations. However, as ERP systems are so comprehensive and cover such a broad spectrum, system weaknesses, security issues, and vulnerability are inevitable. Here are four ERP security issues that businesses can easily overlook.
ERP systems maintain some of the most important often critical data business stores. A security issue that businesses often overlook is who has access to these data. Creating a regular practice of reviewing the access granted to staff can decrease the risk of a serious security threat. In addition, full access should be limited to a few employees. Creating guidelines for access and which permissions the organization should grant based on department, employee level, and job description can further decrease security risks.
When a business uses multiple software programs at the same time to achieve a single goal or outcome, it’s referred to as Frankensteining. Examples of Frankensteining include using ERP software to maintain sales data or expenses, then running the final reports in Microsoft Excel. As the primary goal of implementing an ERP system is integrating several disparate systems, Frankensteining becomes unnecessary; in fact, it can become a security risk. When critical or sensitive information is shared among applications, it then exists in more than one location. Not only will this additional location not be updated and maintained, but there is also a chance that the information will be intercepted, accidentally shared, or deleted. In addition, when information is transferred, the chance of errors increases errors that can be dangerous or costly.
ERP systems have grown and evolved since their origin. The systems of today can handle a larger amount of information from a wider range of sources and of a more sensitive nature. While the systems have grown, what businesses do to protect their information may not have grown with them. For example, many still use a simple password or single authentication to access their system and thus all their most important information. One of the easiest and most common forms of hacking is simple password cracking. Often, anyone with even the simplest knowledge of the company and its employees can guess a password. Using two-factor authentication is often enough to decrease the risk from this often-overlooked security issue.
Another easily overlooked security issue is inadequate configuration. When setting up an out-of-the-box system, companies often take for granted that the default settings are adequate for their needs. Inadequate configurations can lead to custom code vulnerabilities, lax access permissions, and open ports. Such security issues can be serious because they open businesses to hacking and cyber-attacks and leaves them exposed to both external and internal threats.
ERP software has continued to evolve and shows no signs of slowing down. Companies rely on their ERP software to run their business processes more effectively and efficiently and so decrease expenses and increase profits. To ensure that their ERP software can function at an optimum level, businesses must maintain the software, update it regularly, and be proactive with any potential security issues even those that can easily be overlooked.