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ERP Systems: Protecting a Prime Target from Cyber-Attacks

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

ERP Systems Are a Prime Target

ERP systems are connected to many other operations systems within an organization. If an ERP system is the victim of a cyber-attack, it could have devastating consequences on a business’s overall operations. With Cybersecurity threats on the rise, the chances of this becoming a reality have increased dramatically over the years. These threats can easily jeopardize an organization’s reputation and the long-term financial impacts of such an attack could be quite damaging. Organizations need to protect their systems against internal and external cyber threats to maintain confidentiality, availability, and integrity.

Common Causes for Security Vulnerabilities

The larger the company, the more users you have, and—consequently—more vulnerabilities exist in your system. Therefore, this makes ERP security a uniquely complicated issue due to the increased difficulty in maintaining it.

Here are a few reasons ERP systems are particularly prone to cyber-attacks:

  • ERP systems are the center of your business – ERP systems are integrated ecosystems, so a single breach can compromise an entire business operation. Having a large attack area, combined with a lack of general ERP security and knowledge, greatly increases the risk of attacks and makes ERP systems, such as PeopleSoft, a prime target for adversaries.

  • Lack of Internal Security Specialists – In today’s job market, there is a substantial shortage of security experts who are knowledgeable enough to run and practice safety within the organization’s systems. Most vendors provide an ERP security solution that does not often fit into an organization’s integrated Cybersecurity model. This creates a large blind spot for the security team and increases the cyber threat from internal and external actors.

  • Patching of systems – Another major problem is found in the lack of patching and overall maintenance of the supporting technology within the ERP ecosystem. When organizations fail to properly patch and keep systems up to date, this can allow breaches. And when it comes to password security, according to Dark Reading, only 64% of employees say they think their password habits are secure. Therefore, it is crucial to develop a patching and security policy that supports the needs of your ERP and supporting systems.

ERP Security Best Practices

To keep your ERP system protected and secure, it’s critical to establish appropriate controls by implementing ERP security solutions and integrating them with the rest of the security operations.

  • Stay educated – Keep your organization one step in front of potential threats by staying well-informed and maintaining current community issues. Cybersecurity threats evolve and develop fast. As such, your organization needs to ensure everyone from the top-level executives to the daily users in your ERP systems are educated on best practices to reduce the chances of threats.

  • Strong and safe password hygiene – Practicing safe and adequate password hygiene and employee training is essential considering the internal security risk posed by insufficient security knowledge. For example, breaches can often be traced back to an internal compromise, such as phishing attacks. An organization can easily prevent a superuser’s compromise by having two-factor verification, or more frequent software and security updates.

  • Stay secure from external risks – Beyond internal risks, it’s important to keep your systems secure from external adversaries, and the best way to do so is by monitoring and establishing the following:

    • Create an exploitation and fraud policy.

    • Monitor and identify unauthorized access.

    • Provide continuous and automated audits

    • Detect data leaks.

    • Create a centralized security monitoring system.

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