SAP Database Protection: A Blueprint to Guarding Your Important Information

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The modern business ecosystem increasingly relies on SAP systems. At the heart of this technology is an SAP database, which manages information for an entire enterprise. While this pivotal technology makes businesses more agile, it also exposes mission-critical data to cybersecurity threats. So, well-designed database protection is essential.

Managed security protection covers organizations against the growing menaces they face. The only way to stay ahead of the threats is to employ industry-leading practices.

For instance, Approyo’s 24/7 threat detection enables instant response times. It protects the SAP database as well as your network and connected devices, covering vulnerabilities and identifying risks. In addition, Approyo’s Overwatch technology monitors both cloud and on-premise environments to secure your enterprise data. Real-time reports and expert consultations keep your team abreast of SAP database security.

The key to navigating the modern threat landscape is knowing who’s doing what with your data. Let’s explore the most common database threats that businesses face, along with best practices to protect your sensitive data.

Threat Landscape for SAP Databases

The leading cybersecurity challenges come when bad actors threaten to steal or destroy sensitive information. With businesses now reliant on their data, such breaches affect their survival prospects. An attack that breaks into an SAP database could lead to severe problems such as fines and litigation, lost customers, and stolen trade secrets.

What’s more, the threat landscape constantly evolves, with new attacks developing to counter available defenses. One of the more common threats is phishing. Basically, cybercriminals trick employees into revealing sensitive information like database passwords. Numerous variants have also developed, including spear phishing. This targets a specific individual rather than casting the net among several victims.

Ransomware is a particularly pernicious attack in which data is encrypted so your enterprise can’t access it. The perpetrators then demand payment to unlock your data—a bargain they may not uphold. Ransomware falls under the broader category of malware, which is malicious software that harms a system.

Another category of attack is distributed denial of service (DDoS). These crimes use overwhelming traffic to defeat a system’s normal defenses. An SAP database hit by such an attack may become slow or unusable due to the massive influx of connections.

Many hacks are conducted by individuals or groups unknown to the victim. But in some cases, insider threats occur from employees, contractors, or others who have access to your infrastructure. These threats impose additional challenges, since it’s harder to tell if employees are using their credentials properly or improperly. It’s also tougher to limit insider permissions while still letting people do their jobs.

SAP Database Threats

All these threats to your database can strike at any moment. For instance, hackers actively scan SAP ports to find security holes they can take advantage of. There are more than a thousand such weaknesses.

A complex environment contains an SAP database as well as applications and configurations. The custom code that enterprises commonly use exposes yet more SAP vulnerabilities, which hackers then exploit. One security flaw enabled attackers to completely take over unpatched systems, reading and writing any SAP database record.

New cloud deployments can be located and attacked in just three hours. Within a day of finding a vulnerability, the attackers can develop a break-in tool. And in under three days, they can clean out your organization. Given the great risks to business, you must be proactive and prepare for attacks.

Blueprint for SAP Database Protection

Securing your SAP database takes a multi-faceted approach, integrating various protective measures. Techniques like access controls and encryption work together to shield the database comprehensively. Approyo CEO Christopher Carter outlines these techniques and more in his book, Mastering SAP: Protecting Your SAP Environment in Today's Cybersecurity World.

Carter shares a five-step blueprint for protecting your SAP database. These best practices will solve your security problems and streamline your processes to improve your overall efficiency. It’s like having Approyo’s certified SAP consulting services in your back pocket. Let’s dig in.

1. Establish Robust Access Controls

Access control lets you restrict who can use which resources in an SAP database. There are multiple approaches, such as role-based access, in which users are assigned to permission groupings. For example, your organization could have roles for cashiers, managers, marketing, HR staff, and so forth.

Robust access controls limit privileges to only those necessary to do specific jobs. These controls can prevent unauthorized access, minimizing the risk of insider threats.

Access controls can also limit the damage done by other attacks. Say a hacker uses phishing on a naive secretary. Most of your organization’s data will remain protected.

2. Strengthen Password Policies

A common way for attackers to gain access to sensitive data is by taking advantage of weak or default passwords. An improved password policy addresses this issue and bolsters SAP database protection.

Your system should enforce a minimum password complexity and length, with frequent expiration. That way, employees will have varied passwords that are difficult for criminals to guess. You should also advise employees to not reuse their SAP database passwords for other systems.

Strong password policies serve as an initial line of defense against attempts at unauthorized access. They complement access controls to prevent people from abusing your resources, enhancing your overall database security. Another related measure is not storing passwords in plain text, which brings us to encryption measures.

3. Deploy Encryption Measures

Database encryption is the application of mathematical techniques to conceal information. It’s a highly secure way to protect passwords and other sensitive material. Any private data should be encrypted. In many cases, such as financial or medical data, encryption is a legal requirement.

SAP database technology includes functionality for encryption. This applies to data that’s both “at rest” (in storage) and “in transit” (being moved). You can encrypt individual columns like credit card numbers or the entire database.

When used correctly, encryption measures prevent data exposure—even in the event of a breach. The attacker won’t be able to see the contents of the stolen data.

4. Enact Security Monitoring and Routine Log Reviews

To ensure your other measures are working as desired, it’s important to have proactive security monitoring and routine log reviews. If you have a misconfigured access control policy—or if someone’s cracked a password—you’d want to notice as soon as possible. Security monitoring detects unauthorized access attempts and other anomalies.

Real-time monitoring enables you to detect unusual activity or violations. It’s like having a security camera system for your SAP database. Suspicious activity triggers a response, identifying problems before they become unmanageable.

5. Execute Patch Management

Any software can have vulnerabilities, so developers create “patches” that fix these vulnerabilities when they’re found. Regular patch management is a critical step in maintaining the security of your SAP database. Unpatched vulnerabilities are often exploited to break into a system.

All too often, organizations delay or ignore patches. SAP publishes frequent updates as it discovers new vulnerabilities. In a given year, it may release over a hundred SAP Security Notes with patches.

An unpatched database can grant criminals access to your complete database, along with the underlying operating system and connected systems. It’s the worst security outcome, revealing why it’s necessary to use the best protection: working with a demonstrated technology partner.

Secure Your SAP Database With Approyo

SAP database protection is critical for the many enterprises relying on this software. The threat landscape poses a broad range of challenges, including dangerous attacks like ransomware and denial of service.

Use industry best practices such as access controls, strong password policies, and encryption to tackle these problems. Security monitoring ensures these measures work properly, and patch management keeps your software up-to-date.

Database security is an ongoing process. You must be vigilant and adaptable to survive in an ever-evolving environment. Approyo’s 24/7 monitoring and best-in-class security processes protect hundreds of SAP deployments. Plus, the secure-by-design philosophy means problems are identified and fixed faster and at a lower cost.

Our dedicated team of experts is on hand to provide your organization with unparalleled defense. Contact Approyo now for a free security consultation that’s tailored to your unique requirements.

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