ERP systems are complex solutions that handle business-critical processes and manage sensitive data. These factors alone are enough to make them an attractive target for cybercriminals. Despite it being common knowledge, businesses often opt for simpler and cheaper solutions that do not address the issue at the system level. Below is an in-depth look at the main factors that erode corporate cybersecurity and ways to prevent cyberattacks.
Cyber Threats On the Rise
Today, both large enterprises and small businesses are turning to ERP solutions to boost performance and enhance customer experience. This means that more and more sensitive data ends up in a system that is vulnerable to attacks. Numerous reports by cybersecurity organizations show that not only the frequency of attacks increases each year, but that cybercriminals are increasingly focusing on enterprise software as their targets.
This trend is echoed in recent surveys, which indicate that the majority of business leaders are concerned with the growing risks of cyberattacks. In fact, the threat is so significant that government organizations issue alerts that warn about malicious activities against ERP applications and encourage users and managers to address the matter.
Risks for Businesses
Cyberattacks can affect businesses in multiple ways. The most apparent is the financial risk. A substantial amount of funds can be managed online, so criminals may try to gain access to corporate bank accounts. However, the economic impact does not end there – there are many indirect ways businesses can incur losses:
- Exposure of customers’ financial information
- Disrupted business operations
- Loss of sensitive corporate information
- Expenses on settling legal proceedings
- Loss of customers
- Damage to brand reputation
As can be seen, the effect of some risks is relatively short-lived, whereas others impact long-term development. For instance, after the breach of security, it takes years to restore customer trust, which has a profound impact on profits.
Attack Surface: How Vulnerable Are You?
To defend against cyberattacks, a good place to start is to assess the magnitude of the threat. A helpful concept for this is the attack surface – an umbrella term for all entry points that can be used by a malicious entity to breach the system. Technically, these entry points fall into four main categories:
- Software vulnerabilities
- Devices with access permissions
- Insecure SSL certificates
- Open network ports
Complex ERP systems with multiple elements across the organization increase the likelihood of such issues, which translates to larger attack surfaces. Simply put, the more sophisticated system you have in place (and the less you pay attention to security maintenance), the higher the threat of a breach.
A Way Out: Web Application Best Practices
Protecting against cybercrime requires a comprehensive approach that covers the system itself as well as policies within the organization.
Develop an implementation plan:
Enterprise web development, implementation, and maintenance is a complex process. This complexity alone is enough to invite vulnerabilities, not to mention technical difficulties and additional expenses. Fortunately, in most cases, the process can be effectively managed by using the services of digital transformation consulting firms.
Consider a private cloud:
Cloud-based services have become a mainstay of the digital business world due to their versatility, ease of use, convenience, and performance. Unfortunately, they are also among the most often targeted elements of the enterprise data infrastructure. In this light, private clouds, which boast higher levels of safety and security, are a perfect option for the storage of sensitive information like business intelligence data. While they do come at a higher price, the minimization of profit losses in the long term justifies any initial expenses.
No matter how tightly assembled and secured, any ERP system will eventually have new vulnerabilities discovered. Some may go under the radar in the development phase, others will be introduced later as more elements are integrated with the system. So, to maintain the desired level of protection, your business should have regular audits in place that would discover vulnerabilities and guide the maintenance efforts.
Hire professional web development services:
Large organizations often rely on their own IT department in all aspects of digital transformation. In the case of ERP systems, the success of this approach varies depending on the scope of the project and the tasks such a system is intended to accomplish. For extensive projects spanning across several departments, hiring a business web application development team will yield better results and minimize the attack surface.
Educate employees on cyber hygiene:
No matter how tight your system is in terms of security, you still have to deal with the human factor. In fact, most serious attack vectors, from weak passwords to mishandled devices, stem from human error. Educating employees on principles of system security will not only minimize the risk of cyberattacks but may also boost engagement with the system, resulting in improved performance.
Cybercrime is an unfortunate side effect of digitalization, and, because of their complexity, ERP systems are among the most likely targets. This is why achieving the adequate level of security of business data and processes cannot be achieved through piecemeal interventions. It is only through a comprehensive, enterprise-wide strategy covering all stakeholders that you can deter cybercriminals and live up to the trust put in your company by customers.