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Securing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Software for Manufacturers

Within the complexity of the manufacturing industry exist many security threats, including threats to Internet/intranet communications, intellectual property, global supply chain, proprietary business data and more. The $2.03 trillion-dollar manufacturing industry is built on mission-critical technology, including massive applications to manage the beast, such as ERP software.

What is ERP Software?

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software attempts to streamline and consolidate the many aspects of the core systems of manufacturing companies, including support for financial, accounting, human resources, supply chain, customer data and other functions.

As a comprehensive system designed to manage the many moving parts of a manufacturing enterprise, ERP software standardizes and shares data across a company using just one piece of software. Below is a Sage ERP software screenshot, showing a dashboard of primarily financial data:

ERP Screenshot

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Security Controls

With that in mind, controlling security access to ERP systems should be top of mind for enterprise executives. While the advantage of using a single piece of software may outweigh the hassle of integrating many different solutions together, without security, ERPs lose their power.

Security controls need to be in place to manage enterprise system risks, including those around external threats, data center operating and end-user security, as states.

Some of the obvious security steps to take include updating software to ensure manufacturers are running on the most current version of their ERP systems. Some systems may need to meet PCI DSS compliance, a problem for older ERPs that store or process payment card data.

Threats to Manufacturing Industry Systems

Verizon IP Threats

As Verizon’s IP (Intellectual Property) Threat Landscape Research Report: Manufacturing, Services and Technology found, attackers would steal credentials, and use malware or hacking in IP data breaches.

Sixty-two percent of intellectual property attacks involved stolen credentials, and another 48 percent involved phishing attacks or some other form of social engineering; making the case for strong authentication security for ERP software.

ERP systems are also part of evolving IT models - the switch to hosting some data and applications in the cloud, while keeping other IT assets on-premises. This hybrid cloud model raises executive-level concerns about trusting third-party vendors with critical data.

As hosting platforms diversify and increase in complexity, security needs to keep up - how can manufacturing companies improve their security profiles?

Improving ERP Security

Limiting data access, keeping user activity logs, maintaining firewalls and encryption are all traditional ways of securing ERP systems, as reports. But modern times call for modern security measures - one way to do that is with two-factor authentication.

Two-factor authentication means you don’t have to rely on just a password for application access security. By tying a second factor to your personal phone, users can secure their accounts with another layer of security, protecting against potential social engineering or phishing attacks.

Security controls aren’t always built into ERP software, so finding an efficient and easy-to-deploy solution that integrates smoothly is key to implementing security without any extra hassle. A cloud-based two-factor authentication solution frees you up from buying, installing and managing on-site hardware and software.

When seeking a modern two-factor solution that can cover a hybrid cloud, finding one solution that can cover both your on-premises and cloud logins can streamline your workflow and increase productivity. Find out more in Two-Factor Authentication for Cloud Apps.