Some software applications are more critical to the function of a business than others. For example, if video conferencing via Zoom is not possible, alternatives such as RingCentral or Microsoft Teams can be utilized. However, some applications are critical tools that keep a company running – that keep the business in business.
What are business-critical applications?
Business-critical applications are used to accomplish essential tasks. Not only is line of business software integral to operating efficiently, but the applications are also difficult, if not impossible, to replace. Business leaders must make certain that business-critical applications are always accessible to employees and strongly protected against data compromise by cyberthreats.
A 2020 study by the Ponemon Institute highlights the need to prioritize the security of business-critical applications, especially the higher cyber-risks associated with remote and hybrid work models. Some key findings of the study include as follows:
- Remote work has increased the number of devices with access to business-critical apps, both small tools and specialized apps
- Organizations have, on average, 51 business-critical applications; 56% accessed using smartphones and tablets
- Only 35% of surveyed respondents report being required to enable multifactor authentication (MFA)
Why increased access to business-critical applications creates security risk
With the growing popularity of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, more and more workers are using personal devices to accomplish tasks, store business data, or communicate with colleagues. The change in platform from computer to smart device has resulted in an increased number of access points to business-critical apps. Security protocols must be tightened to address the associated increase in risk – but The Ponemon Institute’s findings do not show businesses strengthening defenses.
Business leaders must implement security policies such as enabling multi-factor authorization (MFA) when accessing company apps. MFA, or the process of requiring a user to present two or more proofs of identity before gaining access to a program or application, is key to enhancing data security.
Reasons to prioritize the security of business-critical applications
It is urgent to secure business-critical applications for several reasons.
Organizations collect vast amounts of critical data
An example of business-critical applications are electronic health record (EHR) apps used and accessed by healthcare providers. EHR systems collect large volumes of patient and other medical-related information. Should this data become lost or compromised, the practice could suffer financial loss and legal difficulties.
Healthcare practitioners need constant access to EHR data to help treat patients. The onus to protect EHR systems and the hospital’s IT infrastructure falls on the hospital’s IT team or IT partner.
Loss of data results in disrupted services
Financial transaction applications, whether for accounting, inventory management, or payments processing, are crucial to business operations. For accounting firms that use any number of financial reporting apps like SAP, NetSuite, QuickBooks, Dynamics 365, etc., the loss of data or inability to access these apps would be detrimental to business operations.
For companies operating in other economic sectors, not being able to access business-critical financial apps would prevent managing funds, completing transactions, recording pertinent financial information, etc.
Remote working has increased
For many organizations, remote working has become the norm. It is more important than ever to implement mobile-specific security measures and impose strict security rules for remote employees accessing business-critical apps on personal devices.
Related reading: How to develop an effective security awareness program
Businesses should also review new potential entry points for cyberattack. When employees primarily worked in an office building, applications only had to be secured on office computers or company-issued mobile devices. In today’s remote and hybrid work mode, measures must be expanded to secure personal and company-issued devices. IT managers must also review access rights for business-critical apps and evaluate who should retain administrative access.
With growing cyberthreats due to increased remote work, organizations must bolster security posture. If a company’s IT security measures are geared toward fighting threats for a largely office-based workforce, it is time to assess and adjust.
Work with the Roebuck Technologies’ IT professionals to help your business successfully protect your most critical business data and applications. Ask our experts to develop customized cybersecurity solutions for your organization today!