You’ve read the data sheet. You’ve listened to the sales spin. You’ve even seen the demo. But before you fire off the PO, ask yourself one question: Is there an alternative?
In recent years, there have emerged a wide number of third party security tools for SAP systems. Such tools perform vulnerability checks for SAP systems and enable customers to detect and remove security weaknesses primarily within the NetWeaver application server layer. Most, if not all, are capable of reviewing areas such as default ICF services, security-relevant profile parameters, password policies, RFC trust relationships and destinations with stored logon credentials.
The need to secure and continuously monitor such areas for changes that expose SAP systems to cyber threats is clear and well-documented. However, the real question is do organisations really need such solutions? In 2012, the answer was a resounding yes. In 2013, the argument for such solutions began to waiver and was, at best, an unsure yes with many caveats. By 2014, the case for licensing third party tools has virtually disappeared. There are convincing reasons to believe that such tools no longer offer the most effective and cost-efficient solution to the security needs of SAP customers.
The trigger for this change has been the rapid evolution of standard SAP components capable of detecting misconfigurations that lead to potential security risks. The most prominent of these components is Configuration Validation, packaged in SAP Solution Manager 7.0 and above and delivered to SAP customers with standard license agreements. Configuration Validation continuously monitors critical security settings within SAP systems and automatically generates alerts for changes that may expose systems to cyber attack. Since third party scanners are typically priced based on number of target IPs, Configuration Validation can directly save customers hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in large landscapes. The standard Solution Manager setup process will meet most of the prerequisites for using the component. For customers that choose to engage professional services to enable and configure security monitoring using Solution Manager, the cost of such one-off services is far less than the annual licenses and maintenance fees for third party tools.
The second reason for the decline in the appeal of non-SAP delivered security solutions is a lack of support for custom security checks. Most checks are hard-coded, meaning customers are unable to modify validation rules to match their specific security policies. In reality, it is impossible to apply a vanilla security standard to all SAP systems. Configuration standards can differ by the environment, the applications supported by the target systems, whether the systems are internal or external facing and a variety of other factors. Therefore, it is critical to leverage a security tool capable of supporting multiple security policies. This requirement is currently only fully met by Configuration Validation.
The third reason is security alerting. While some third party solutions support automated scheduled checks, none can match native capabilities in Solution Manager capable of the near-instant alerting through channels such as email and SMS.
The fourth and fifth reasons are shortcomings in reporting and product support when compared to the powerful analytical capabilities available through SAP Business Warehouse integrated within Solution Manager and the reach of SAP Active Global Support.
More information is available in the Solutions section including a short introductory video and a detailed Solution Brief that summarizes the benefits of Configuration Validation and professional services delivered by Layer Seven to enable the solution in your landscape. To schedule a demo, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.