Historically Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementations have been secure inside the firewall but interconnectivity and data enrichment needs have evolved the threat matrix. Security Managers, Auditors and Compliance Managers need to look deeper than classic segregation of duties and Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) requirements when analyzing risk. The dialogue has recently expanded to include inquiry into how SAP, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and other ERP software implementations can be folded into an overall Security or Cybersecurity Program. These large scale ERP software packages are the backbone of corporations, governments and supply chains across the world. They manage everything from human resources, financials, production creation and delivery, customer maintenance and archival.
Connectivity to internal ERP software has increased and the network firewalls and perimeter no longer defend the application. Cloud connectivity and data enrichment through sales, purchasing, human resource management and other applications in the cloud are new avenues for hackers. Mobile devices accessing core ERP data and the need for portions of the application to be available to the internet have opened new vulnerabilities. The risk to corporate intellectual property, customer, vendor and employee critical data is high and knowledge of how to protect against threats is low. Organizations need to understand and respond effectively step ahead of the hackers and protect the business critical data housed in ERP systems. Education and security are critical in order to reduce risk and train staff to maintain a Cyber Secure ERP implementation. Application level security is not the hot topic that chasing hackers on the network is, but it's a vital component of an overall Cybersecurity program.
The next generation of Cybersecurity Leaders will need to take a holistic view of the threat matrix; including network, firewall, server, application, and user level risks into account. A secure environment starts with strong and enforceable security policies, threat detection and response, patch and upgrade programs, and access management processes.