Data security is a major issue for businesses in just about any industry these days, because breaches can happen when executives least expect it. And because they can come from just about anywhere, those with legacy ERP systems might face unique threats that more recent adopters or upgraders do not. That is to say, by investing in the latest ERP technology, rather than using years-old programs, manufacturers may be able to significantly increase their readiness to handle threats both online and in the real world.

While many companies are perfectly content to use legacy ERP systems that live on in-office computers, that may make the businesses susceptible to unique risks. For instance, if a computer or server crashes, that data isn't as likely to be backed up anywhere or accessible in the event of a catastrophe, according to The Real Time Report. But by making the switch to more modern systems, that problem typically goes away, because the latest ERP options live in the cloud rather than on physical, in-office systems. Simply put, that just adds more layers of security between a breach or outage and the potentially devastating effects their fallout can have for things like inventory management software.

Added flexibility helps too
Often, companies don't make the switch to modern ERP simply because they're worried about the effects of a wholesale change, and what that might do to their production or efficiency, the report said. However, the good news is that ERP developers understand this potential hurdle, and typically make it so that data from existing ERP systems can be transported over with ease, or even that new options can be built on top of existing ones. That, in turn, may help to unlock acceptance by executives who might have been on the fence.

And in making that switch, the security of all the data those ERP systems constantly process and churn out is increased almost overnight, the report said. Moreover, because cloud providers typically provide their own security services, it's no longer wholly incumbent upon busy manufacturers themselves to keep security tight when they should be worrying about things more directly related to their production process.

Real-world security as well
Meanwhile, because the latest ERP systems give executives and workers alike a top-down view of all aspects of the production process and supply line, it also gives them a good idea of where inefficiencies crop up, nearly in real-time, according to Beta News. Consequently, they may be able to better spot when materials go missing for any reason, whether it's simple misplacement or employee theft.

The basic idea here is that ERP helps provide actionable information for decision-makers on an ongoing basis, and having the latest technology improves both the quality and accessibility of that data. That, in turn, helps inform better decisions to improve production processes and bottom lines as time goes on. And with the latest versions of ERP software, security is even easier to manage.

Learn how to define your ERP strategy by downloading the white paper entitled "ERP in Manufacturing: Defining the ERP Strategy" from the Insight Works website.