Insecure SAP systems at risk with more employees working from home
It is virtually impossible to escape hearing about the Corona-virus – not only in media coverage, but also in our suddenly adapting workplace practices. Some companies – Google for example – have ordered their employees to work from home for the foreseeable future. This cautionary approach may well have repercussions. For example a potential impact on the security of SAP systems. There are several reasons why this might happen, giving attackers an opportunistic window to search for vulnerabilities and obtain valuable data.
Firstly, there will likely be many workers who are now newly working from home, in order to curtail the virus. Naturally, corporate IT does not have as much control over the home network than they do in the office. This opens up a potential for vulnerabilities. One example is smart home devices, or Internet of Things (IoT) devices. As we know, most devices in the IoT, especially in the smart home sector, are very insecure.
Realistically, most IT departments these days will have addressed and taken preventative action against most threats: the endpoint, i.e. the employee's laptop or computer, will have the latest Anti-Virus programs, firewalls, and the connection to the corporate network will likely be established over VPN. This should cover most of the threats that could originate from infected devices in a home network.
The same may not be true, however, for SAP systems, which are still not sufficiently hardened in many implementations. For example Secure Network Communications (SNC) encryption technology is provided by SAP free of charge and encrypts both the connections between SAP systems, and between an SAP client and the SAP system. SNC, however, is not always used, in other words: the communication between an employee’s laptop and the SAP system is often not encrypted, everything can be read in plain text. Capturing this traffic is easy for an experienced hacker. These exploit vulnerabilities which, if the SAP system is not sufficiently secured – are more likely to occur in an unprotected network than within corporate boundaries.
Coming back to the relationship with Covid-19. More employees working from home means a bigger attack surface for hackers. But what can you do about it? The most crucial measures are quite simple:
High Peaks Consulting can provide assistance to help you navigate these challenging times. We are able to analyse your SAP Security fabric and identify weaknesses that can be addressed to ensure your company is prepared for the new reality we find ourselves in. Having a clean and compliant system will allow your security team to focus on tackling oncoming threats instead of reacting to existing ones, keeping you agile and realizing the true cost savings of a secure environment.
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