An Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP system is an expansive software that spans across business functions and departments in an organization. It bridges gaps, connects data silos, and integrates all digital processes into a single platform. While they enable better cooperation between departments, increase efficiency, reduce cost overheads, and ramp up performance through accurate decision-making, unsecured ERP systems can introduce vulnerabilities.
This blog will discuss ERP security, how it helps, its top vulnerabilities, and security best practices.
ERPs can leave security gaps
Today, 88% of organizations worldwide use some form of ERP software to store essential data and manage critical business functions. Organizations can risk losing their operation abilities if their software is targeted, leading to a loss of vital data and access as well as compliance and regulatory challenges. In addition, the organization's reputation could be irreparably damaged by such an attack.
Cybercriminals are altering the threat landscape, shifting from DDOS and data encryption attacks to disrupting production systems. While the increased threat levels have compelled companies to harden their security posture, a lack of focus on ERP security has left some gaps for threat actors.
What is ERP security?
ERP security is a cybersecurity practice that eliminates vulnerabilities in ERP software. It secures all the edges, so cybercriminals cannot infiltrate the system. It does this by covering four critical bases:
Operating system security
Since ERP combines data from across the length and breadth of the organization, even a tiny security gap can let in malicious actors. They can move vertically or horizontally to access valuable digital assets. Thus, ERP security doesn't just secure the software but encompasses all the underlying infrastructure.
Common ERP security vulnerabilities
ERP software consists of several different systems functioning together like a single unit. But if cybercriminals can find even one vector, your entire operation can come under attack. Your business can undergo significant damage due to unnecessary exposure such as:
Business operations get disrupted, forcing costly downtime
Costs associated with the data and system malfunction
Charges related to recovery and remediation
Regulatory fines if compliance is affected
Losses to reputation and brand
3 Most common vulnerabilities
To ensure the security of all the moving parts of your ERP system, you first need to account for all the existing vulnerabilities. Here's a rundown of the three most common vulnerabilities.
Vulnerability to stored cross-site scripting: When an ERP application receives input from a malicious user and stores it in a data store, it can become vulnerable to stored XSS attacks. The unfiltered stored information looks like a part of the application and gets executed under the ERP's privileges. Malicious players can exploit this vulnerability to hijack user sessions, deface websites, redirect users, and insert malicious content.
Weak password policy: Not having a strictly enforced and updated password policy can backfire against most brute-force attacks. According to the IBM X-Force Intelligence Index 2022, weak passwords constituted 7% of all initial attack vectors in 2022. Inadequate guidelines and poor enforcement allow susceptible users to use passwords that can be guessed or easily fall prey to brute force, dictionary, or rainbow table attacks.
Vertical privilege escalation: When an ERP application uses user-supplied input for accessing objects directly, it can allow malicious users to gain unauthorized modification rights via the resource's URL which they can leverage to access privileged information without requiring authorization.
Top 3 ERP security best practices
Identify your vulnerabilities: The first step is to gain visibility into all the underlying infrastructure that connects to your ERP system. Companies must evaluate all the processes, interfaces, networks, integration points, and master data for vulnerabilities. Businesses can do so by partnering with a certified penetration testing partner like
Packetlabs. Penetration testing uses the same tactics, techniques, and processes (TTP) as attackers to dig deep into your ERP system and fish out vulnerabilities. Companies can use a pen test report to modify and execute better protocols to solidify their posture.
Implement access restrictions: Proper governance and a data audit are necessary to understand where your sensitive data lies and who has access to it. Based on the governance report, a role-based access policy with granular permissions needs to be implemented based on zero-trust principles. Companies should reassess privileges whenever employees move within departments or out of the organization.
Multi-factor authentication:A firm password policy alone is not enough to protect against persistent attacks. Organizations require MFA to control and verify access, as part of a zero-trust policy, to limit exposure.
ERP systems are integral to a modern, agile workplace but can become a liability if not secured. Real-time monitoring and a detailed outlook of potential vulnerabilities can help security personnel better prepare against today's broad threat landscape. Packetlabs can help you gain greater visibility into your infrastructure and its underlying weaknesses and help you address them before threat actors. To learn more, contact Packetlabs now.
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