ERP Security: Best Practices to Protect Your Data
Discover how to fortify your ERP system against cyber threats and protect your data with confidence.
Securing your ERP data is a critical necessity in today's digital landscape. Protecting sensitive data from potential cyber threats, breaches and unauthorized access not only protects your data but also safeguards your business’s reputation, financial stability, and ensures compliance with data protection regulations. To help you build a strong ERP security plan, we’ve put together 12 best practices for protecting your ERP data. By implementing these best practices, you can fortify your ERP systems and ensure the utmost protection of your invaluable data assets.
Why ERP Data Security is Important
ERP systems host a wide range of confidential information, including financial records, customer data, and proprietary business strategies. Without strong security measures, this valuable data becomes vulnerable to unauthorized access, cyberattacks, and data breaches.
The consequences of a security breach in an ERP system can include financial losses, a damaged reputation, and regulatory non-compliance that could result in legal repercussions. By prioritizing ERP security and implementing these best practices, you can safeguard your company’s data, facilitate smooth operations, and maintain the trust of customers, partners, and stakeholders.
12 Best Practices to Protect Your ERP Data
1. Establish Strong Access Controls
Regularly reviewing and updating access privileges based on changing job roles and responsibilities helps maintain a secure ERP environment. By implementing a principle of least privilege, you can ensure that users are granted access only to the parts of the system that they need to perform their specific roles and responsibilities. This approach limits the potential damage caused by insider threats or external attackers.
2. Adhere to Secure Configuration Guidelines
ERP vendors and partners often supply specific guidelines and recommendations to configure their systems securely. By following these guidelines, you can optimize the ERP system’s security settings, mitigate potential vulnerabilities, and reduce the risk of security breaches.
Related Article: ERP Partner vs. ERP Vendor: What's the Difference?
Secure configurations typically involve enabling essential security features, disabling unnecessary services, setting strong password policies, and implementing encryption protocols. By staying up to date with the ERP vendor’s security recommendations, you can keep your ERP system running smoothly and securely.
3. Implement Regular Security Audits
ERP security audits involve comprehensive assessments of the ERP system’s security measure, policies, and controls to identify potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses. By conducting periodic audits, organizations can proactively detect and address security gaps before they are exploited.
Additionally, security audits help you stay compliant with industry regulations. The insights gained from these audits enable you to continuously improve your security posture and strengthen their defenses, safeguarding the integrity and confidentiality of their ERP data.
4. Employ Data Encryption
Encryptions transforms data into an unreadable format that can only be deciphered with the appropriate decryption key. By encrypting data both in transit and at rest within the ERP system, you add an extra layer of security, ensuring that even if data is intercepted or accessed by unauthorized individuals, it remains indecipherable and unusable.
Whether data is being transmitted between ERP modules or stored in databases, encryption safeguards against potential data breaches, helping you comply with data protection regulations and instilling trust in customers, partners, and stakeholders that their valuable data is secure and confidential.
5. Construct a Secure Network Architecture
A well-designed network architecture isolates the ERP system from less critical components and external networks, creating a secure perimeter that restricts unauthorized access. Implementing firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other security devices helps monitor and control incoming and outgoing traffic, identifying and blocking suspicious activities in real-time.
Additionally, segmenting the network and limiting communication between different parts of the ERP system reduces the potential attack surface. By carefully designing and maintaining a secure network architecture, you can establish strong barriers against cyber threats, ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your ERP data.
6. Require Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection beyond the traditional username and password combination. It requires users to provide multiple forms of identification before gaining access to the ERP system. This can include something the user knows, like a password, something they have, like a smartphone or token, and something that is a part of their unique personhood, such as fingerprints, facial recognition, or other biometrics.
By implementing multi-factor authentication, you can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access, since access is only granted if all factors are verified. Multi-factor authentication also helps combat common security threats such as phishing and password guessing attacks, providing an effective safeguard for ERP data and ensuring that only authorized personnel can access sensitive information within the system.
7. Regularly Patch and Update
Software vendors regularly release security patches and updates to address newly discovered vulnerabilities and weaknesses. By promptly applying these patches, you can close potential entry points that could be exploited. Delaying or neglecting updates exposes the ERP system to known security risks, increasing the likelihood of data breaches and unauthorized access.
Systems running outdated software are often targeted as they are more susceptible to known exploits. Regular patch management not only improves the system’s security but also ensures compliance with industry regulations and data protection standards. By staying proactive in patching and updating, you can bolster the resilience of your ERP data and safeguard it against emerging threats.
8. Audit Logs and Continuously Monitor Data
Regularly reviewing audit logs allows security teams to identify anomalies, unauthorized access attempts, or potential security breaches in real-time. By participating in comprehensive logging, you can track and record user activities within the ERP system, providing valuable insights into potential security incidents or suspicious behavior.
Additionally, continuous monitoring of data traffic and system activity enables swift detection of any unusual patterns or deviations from the norm, altering administrators to potential threats before they escalate. By combining auditing logs and continuous monitoring, you can respond promptly to security incidents, investigate potential breaches, and take proactive measure to safeguard your ERP data from both internal and external threats.
9. Schedule Regular Data Backups
Backups create duplicate copies of critical information, providing a fail-safe mechanism in case of data loss due to hardware failures, human errors, or security breaches. By adhering to a consistent backup schedule, you can quickly recover data to its last known state, minimizing potential downtime and reducing the risk of data loss.
To ensure data protection, it is recommended to store backups in secure, offsite locations or leverage cloud-based backup services with robust encryption. To learn more about storing your secure data on the cloud, check out these other blog articles:
10. Develop a Disaster Recovery Plan
A well-crafted disaster recovery plan outlines the step-by-step procedures to be followed in the event of a data breach, system failure, natural disaster, or any other catastrophic event that could affect the ERP system. The plan should include detailed strategies for data backup and recovery, roles and responsibilities of key personnel during the recovery process, and specific protocols for communication and coordination.
Regular testing and simulation exercises of the disaster recovery plan are a key part of identifying potential weaknesses and fine-tuning the response procedures. By having a well-prepared disaster recovery plan in place, you can minimize downtime, swiftly recover ERP data and services, and continue your business operations with minimal disruption.
11. Prioritize User Training and Awareness
Providing comprehensive training on security best practices, data handling protocols, and recognizing potential cyber threats helps employees become more vigilant and better equipped to identify and respond to security risks. Regular awareness programs keep users informed about evolving cyber threats, as well as system updates, and reinforce the importance of adhering to security policies and procedures.
Additionally, training sessions help instill a culture of security, fostering a collective responsibility for safeguarding ERP data. Empowered and educated users become an integral part of the organization’s security strategy, mitigating the risk of human errors or unintentional data breaches and contributing to the overall resilience of the ERP system.
12. Establish Employee Offboarding Procedures
When an employee departs, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, it is crucial to promptly revoke their access to the ERP system and other sensitive data repositories. HR and IT departments should collaborate closely to ensure that access privileges are revoked in a timely manner, preventing any potential unauthorized access by former employees.
By promptly removing access rights and disabling accounts, you can mitigate the risk of data breaches, insider threats, and data leaks. Having well-defined offboarding procedures in place ensures that departing employees no longer pose a security risk to ERP data.
Partner With Secure ERP Professionals at Kwixand
Are you ready to fortify your ERP data and maximize the potential of your technology? Partner with a trusted Microsoft Dynamics Partner and unlock the full potential of cutting-edge ERP, CRM, BI and cloud technologies. At Kwixand Solutions, our team of experts will tailor a comprehensive plan to suit your business process, ensuring successful digital transformation and unparalleled data security. Take the first step with a free consultation, or gain deeper insights into your current systems with our free 1-day ERP assessment. Protect your valuable data and propel your business forward by partnering with Kwixand Solutions today.