Why is ERP Data Security Critical to Organizations?

    Living in a data-driven world as we do, ensuring data security has become critically important. In the recent past, instances of data breach have been rather more frequent. The recent cyberattacks on the Australian government agencies is a case in point.

    Consider this:
    • An independent market survey by IDC in 2019 revealed that 64% of ERP deployments (SAP & ORACLE) had been breached in the preceding 24 months.
    • In the wake of increasing cyber threats, the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) in the U.S. issued guidelines and recommendations for protection against ransomware.

    The ability of organizations to safeguard personal information has come into question with many high-profile data breaches in recent years. Therefore, it is pertinent, in this context, to consider ERP data security. These incidents point to a need to reexamine the security features of ERP. But before delving into it, let’s try to understand why ERP is so important for institutions across the globe.

    With a rapidly globalizing world, the geographical boundaries have shrunk, and multinational corporations have expanded to many locations. With the spread of technology, organizations have become more interconnected. Entities, ranging from small companies to large corporations, rely today on ERP for efficiently managing their businesses.

    An ERP system unifies and integrates business processes within and across functional and technical boundaries in the organization. It allows for the automation of fundamental business processes and applications like supply chain management, financial management, human resource management, CRM, enterprise performance management.

    ERP system, as a valuable asset of many organizations, offers multiple advantages. It makes data from various departments easily accessible. It also leads to lesser operational costs. With cutting-edge analytics, it allows businesses to generate reports as and when required, thus leading to better business insights. With all the automation and centralization it leads to enhanced efficiency and productivity.

    In today’s digital age, cloud-based ERP solutions have enabled business process management from multiple platforms, thus enabling businesses to forge effective collaborations. These advantages ultimately translate into happy clients.

    With all its pluses, the ERP system has its own vulnerabilities as well. ERP systems, more than ever before, are increasingly coming under direct cyberattacks. U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), in an alert on July 2018, cautioned against an increase in the instances of exploitation of ERP system vulnerabilities.

    Integrating many disparate systems as it does, ERP consolidates a company’s most crucial and confidential information. Through ERP, hackers can have instant access to the most critical data spanning various departments, including financials, manufacturing blueprints, client information, etc. This becomes especially critical for businesses with highly sensitive records, such as medical offices, research data, etc.

    As it has a complex system architecture with many interfaces and integrations, an ERP system can be very challenging to secure. The different facets of the ERP system, which are vulnerable from a security standpoint, fall under three distinct categories: network layer, presentation layer, and application layer.

    Thus, ERP data security is extremely important as a data breach can cost companies huge sums of money, compromise organizational policies, and result in significant business losses. It’s high time organizations considered putting in place robust data security measures to safeguard their own as well as clients’ data.

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