Critical Challenges Associated With Legacy ERP Logging

    ERP applications provide the most relevant information about enterprises’ financials, business reports, personally identifiable information (PII) of staff, suppliers, clients, associates, job applicants, and more. ERP systems can now be accessed from any device and any location with the introduction of corporate networking, enabling users to engage with the most important company data at any point in time.

    The expansion of the spectrum of networking and access has resulted in the expansion of the network boundary that is now being extended to users and their mobile devices, establishing a new perimeter of user identity. The easiest option for malicious parties to gain access to confidential information is to compromise an end- user’s identity and ERP login credentials. Threat patterns indicate that attacks from social engineering, accompanied by insider data leakage and abuse of privilege, are at an all-time high – reaffirming that most ERP data attacks are likely to result from the manipulation of legitimate login credentials.

    In addition, data protection challenges are recognized by organizations worldwide. Legal and regulatory standards have become highly stringent, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), etc., and require specific input into how corporations manage, use, and process PII. Under these regulations, organizations are expected to respond within a specified period of time to audit requests and report violations or face monetary penalties. Enterprises should also monitor and record granular data access information at all times, such as users in ERP applications accessing extremely sensitive data fields, where they access it at what frequency, and the like. By integrating additional regulatory criteria and the changing climate of threats, it is clear that identity and operation are the new common denominators for information security expertise.

    Organizations should be prepared with deep insight into user behavior in view of the proliferation of access, the transition to user-centered risks, and strict regulatory criteria. User behavior monitoring and tracking within ERP applications may help organizations analyze the usage of ERP applications, strengthen the functionality of real-time auditing and monitoring, and provide actionable information to security teams for faster threat and incident response detection.

    Let’s look into the challenges of legacy ERP logging.

    Legacy ERP logging was not intended for monitoring user activities.

    Legacy ERP logging features have been developed mainly for debugging and troubleshooting. Legacy ERP logs, created in an age before the proliferation of user-centered threats, lack the features required for today’s advanced security and enforcement requirements. For testing and development, system-focused, voluminous, and unstructured-out-of-the-box, ERP logging is all right but impractical for use in production environments. In their production environment, due to the output impact and the amount of “unactionable” data they produce, most organizations will turn off logging or restrict logging to the most basic functions such as tracking credential login and logout operations. As native logs are not intended to provide user experience information and any related contextual data, they restrict the ability of an organization to respond to user-centered threats. Although triggers may be introduced via custom development, these custom triggers see changes in data. However, they do not have any insight into data exposure (whether a data field has been accessed by a user). In addition, to these custom triggers, the maintenance cycles of software add additional work.

    Inadequate capabilities for incident response.

    Attacks have been increasingly targeted at obtaining login credentials of users in recent years. The key causes of breaches are brute force assaults, phishing, and other social engineering techniques, along with insider threats such as misuse of rights or accidental data leakage. Security teams often manually review network and database logs, and then assumption-based decisions are made. As a consequence, the detection of suspicious events becomes a time-consuming process in the event of a breach, delaying incident response, and remediation efforts.

    Legacy ERP logs provide limited data for audit and compliance.

    Strict guidelines on how organizations store, handle and use personal data have been established through data privacy regulations such as the SOX, GDPR, CCPA, and others. Since ERP systems with Personally Identifiable Information (PII) are abundant, they are a critical component of the compliance strategy of an organization. In terms of fines and remediation actions, failure to comply with data protection laws will cost organizations significantly. Most of these mandates are wide-ranging and have an effect on companies despite their geographical position (i.e., if, despite their location, US companies have EU citizens’ data, they must comply with the GDPR). Organizations must have good visibility into user behavior within their ERP applications in order to keep the compliance audit-ready. Who accesses what data, from where, when, and on what devices, for instance. These details are not supplied by the default logs from legacy ERP systems. Some data privacy regulations (e.g., GDPR) allow data subjects at any point in time to request an audit. Details about who accesses their info, what they do with it, and even online identifiers such as IP addresses will be searched for by these subjects. Businesses would be unable to respond to such audit requests in the absence of user-centered transaction records, placing them at risk of non-compliance. Organizations must also be prepared to address many questions simultaneously – a lengthy, unsustainable procedure with legacy system logs.

    Ultimate data security and analytics technologies help organizations overcome all these challenges by equipping them with tools to easily and responsively control access and provide granular insight into user actions.

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