Key Security Risks of Legacy Inventory Management Systems & How to Address Them

  • Digital Transformation
  • Inventory/Warehouse
  • Security

Key Takeaways:

  • Using outdated inventory management software impacts operational efficiency in ways you may not realize.
  • Hidden dangers include ineffective management, cyber vulnerabilities, compliance challenges, and insufficient functionality.
  • Address aged-out software by upgrading to a modern inventory solution built on a configurable mobile platform.

Inventory management is the lifeblood of any business. It’s no wonder, then, that companies have relied on technology to help manage their stock and streamline operations.

However, as the world becomes more interconnected and technology evolves at a breakneck pace, companies must recognize the risks associated with clinging to outdated software systems. Inventory management software is no exception.

Aging inventory software weighs down operations, draining resources and output—and hindering warehouse efficiency in ways you might not realize. One such hidden area is security.

In this article, we’ll shed light on the key security risks of legacy inventory management systems and how to address them to ensure smooth sailing for your business.

2022 Digital Inventory Report

89% of companies think data security is highly important, according to the Digital Inventory Report.


The Hidden Dangers of Obsolete Inventory Systems

Inefficient Monitoring and Control

Older systems may not have the capabilities to track and monitor inventory effectively, leading to blind spots and inaccuracies in stock levels. Conducting routine inventory operations takes longer, requires more workers, and may not be altogether accurate. Additionally, older software often doesn’t let you expand the solution to unlock new capabilities.

While these issues stand out as areas of inefficiency, they can also compromise security as well. As cyber threats have continued to evolve, inflexible software past its prime can’t keep pace.

Vulnerability to Cyber Attacks

Outdated systems are often riddled with security loopholes, making them easy prey for hackers. Cybercriminals can exploit these weaknesses to gain unauthorized access, steal sensitive data, or disrupt your operations.

For organizations that run on the data stored in their ERP environment, all possible measures must be taken to protect such crucial software systems.

Archaic inventory software connected to the ERP, such as a barcode system or mobile applications, ceases to become secure as it turns into a liability. Continuing to use software that is no longer supported or that has reached end-of-life puts the entire tech stack at risk.

When it comes to mobile software, security is especially important. Any mobile application connected to your ERP can leave openings for intrusion from outside threats. Legacy mobile software may not be up to the task.

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Integration Issues

Enterprise software platforms have come a long way in the last 10 years. Older inventory solutions may fall short when it comes to integrating newer technologies, like IoT and advanced robotics. Inability to integrate new software or hardware can result in data silos and undue security risks.

Inventory software that is certified or validated by an ERP provider can help ensure future viability in the long term, both in terms of security and capability. Software that hasn’t been properly vetted may leave your tech stack exposed through unknown vulnerabilities.

Lack of Compliance

As regulations evolve, legacy systems may no longer meet the requirements for data protection and privacy, leaving your business exposed to legal and financial repercussions.

Certain manufacturers also require additional data granularity to meet compliance. Government contractors often require some form of traceability to ensure genuine parts or DoD billing compliance.

Food and beverage manufacturers must comply with the FDA’s FSMA traceability rules for food ingredients and finished goods.

In either case, being caught off-guard or non-compliant can result in significant negative financial impact.

Recall readiness, audit responsiveness, and the agility to pivot quickly require software capable of facilitating nimble action. Older inventory software tends to fall short in this area. Lack of agility translates to slow responsiveness to security threats as well.

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High Maintenance Costs

Maintaining a legacy system can be costly, draining resources that could be better spent on more robust and secure solutions.

Often, software that has been in operation for many years may have numerous modifications. Custom code builds up over time, requiring additional time to maintain. Retrofitting security protocols on old inventory software only adds to the challenge.

At a certain point, old software may consume more resources than it’s worth.

Addressing the Risks: How to Secure Your Inventory Management System

Keep Your Software Up to Date

Regularly updating your software can help prevent security vulnerabilities and keep your system running smoothly.

If you’re running enterprise inventory software, check with your provider if you have the latest version. Download any security patches that are available. Some software providers offer annual maintenance plans which include free upgrades and patches installed for you by the vendor.

For complex environments, updates may hinge on compatibility with interconnected systems. It is advisable to reach out to your inventory software provider before making any major updates. Share your compatibility concerns.

Conduct Regular Security Audits

Regular security audits can help identify potential weaknesses and ensure that your system is compliant with industry standards and regulations.

If your workforce uses mobile software, review standard operational procedures for possible security risks.

Mobile devices that exit the four walls or use cellular data in the field may expose connected databases to the outside. This will necessitate close scrutiny.

Train Your Employees

Educating your employees on best practices and security protocols can help prevent accidental breaches and improve overall security. Mobile platforms like RFgen Mobile Edge™ come with an extra security layer and built-in best practices for data collection. But for other platforms, regular trainings are a must to minimize risk.

Embrace Next-Gen Mobile Platforms

The most effective way to secure your inventory software is to adopt a modern mobile solution. Unlike last-gen and older technologies, modern inventory systems are more efficient, more adaptable, and more secure.

For instance, RFgen Mobile Edge™ is hardened against external threats. Architected with security in mind, RFgen leverages the latest encryption and data protection technologies, making it one of the safest mobile inventory solutions on the market.

Beyond security, the RFgen platform itself can be molded to fit specific or unique processes. New mobile apps or backend automation can be created at any time. Organizations have the option to run RFgen Cloud or as on-premises software, depending on security needs.

This unparalleled flexibility classifies it as a future-proof software solution that can be upgraded, configured, modified, or scaled at will.

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Implement Additional Security Protocols

Inventory software can be protected by adding the latest security protocols into your stack, making it more difficult for unauthorized users to access your system.

For example, while a mobile platform can inherit certain security protocols from the ERP, frameworks like RFgen Mobile Edge™ add an additional secure layer to protect the ERP itself. Additional protocols like SSL and single sign-on (SSO) help create a web of protective components.

Don’t Leave Your Organization at Risk

The key security risks of legacy inventory management systems can have severe implications for your business. But there are practical solutions to address them.

By keeping your software up to date, conducting regular security audits, training your employees on security best practices, and embracing a next-gen mobile platform with the latest security protocols, you can mitigate these risks and ensure a secure and efficient inventory management system.

It’s time to let go of outdated inventory software and embrace modern, secure solutions to safeguard your business and drive growth. Investing in a robust inventory software system today can save you from potential disasters down the road.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the key security risks of legacy inventory management systems?

Inefficient monitoring and control, vulnerability to cyber attacks, integration issues, lack of compliance, and high maintenance costs are some of the key security risks.

2. How can I address the key security risks of legacy inventory management systems?

By keeping your software up to date, conducting regular security audits, training employees, embracing a next-gen mobile platform, and implementing additional security protocols you can address these risks.

3. Are cloud-based inventory management systems more secure than legacy systems?

Generally, yes. Newer inventory management platforms tend to be more secure than legacy systems. Cloud-based mobile inventory software can be beneficial if it fits your organizational needs. The key is to buy a modern mobile solution that can be deployed in a way that best fits your business.

Inventory software connected to a cloud-based ERP benefits from the latest encryption and data protection technologies of that ERP platform, making your environment more secure. At the enterprise level, software can be deployed in the cloud or on-premises. Certain companies, like DoD contractors in the aerospace and defense sector, are highly selective about what software systems deploy to the cloud.

4. How often should I update my inventory management software?

It’s crucial to update your software regularly, ideally as soon as updates are available, to help prevent security vulnerabilities. If you’re concerned about compatibility, contact your software provider before installing updates. Enterprise software providers may offer an annual maintenance plan that includes free assistance with complex upgrades.

5. Is employee training essential for securing my inventory management system?

Absolutely. Educating employees on best practices and security protocols can help prevent accidental breaches and improve overall security.

6. What is single sign-on (SSO), and how can it help secure my inventory management system?

SSO, or Single Sign-On, is an authentication process that allows users to access multiple applications or systems with a single set of login credentials. For example, using the same credentials for an ERP application and the mobile version of that application. SSO helps streamline access control with centralized authorization and management, making it more difficult for unauthorized users to gain access to your ERP system.