Monitoring of security vulnerabilities is an important aspect of security in DevOps; in SAP development, this is no exception.
In this process, an organization's IT infrastructure, systems, and applications are continuously monitored for known and unknown vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cybercriminals. This requires identifying and assessing security risks and vulnerabilities in an organization's technology stack, including servers, network devices, databases, applications, and endpoints.
The goal of security vulnerability monitoring is to detect and remediate security vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by attackers. This is achieved through a combination of manual and automated security testing, such as vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and ethical hacking. All these test executions result in the creation of reports that are integrated with alert mechanisms, and analysis is done based on a threat assessment. Reports also provide risk mitigation approaches and guidance.
Security vulnerability monitoring involves vulnerability scanning, continuous monitoring, and applying best practices, as explained in the next sections.
Vulnerability scanning is a process of automated testing that checks for known security vulnerabilities in software, systems, and networks. The goal is to identify weaknesses in an organization's IT infrastructure that can be exploited by attackers to compromise the security of the system or data. It can be divided into the following topics:
- Asset discovery: Identifying all the systems, devices, and software that need to be scanned.
- Vulnerability assessment: Conducting automated scans to identify known vulnerabilities, such as missing security patches, weak passwords, or misconfigured settings.
- Prioritization: Prioritizing vulnerabilities based on their severity and potential impact on the organization.
- Reporting: Generating reports that summarize the identified vulnerabilities and recommendations for remediation.
- Remediation: Addressing the identified vulnerabilities by applying security patches, fixing configuration issues, and implementing other security controls.
There are two main types of vulnerability scanning: authenticated and unauthenticated. The latter doesn’t require credentials to access the system or application being scanned, while authenticated scanning does. Authenticated scanning typically provides more accurate results as it can test the system or application from the perspective of an authorized user.
Scanning can be performed manually or using automated tools. Many commercial and open-source vulnerability scanners are available that can automate the scanning process and generate reports with recommendations for remediation. However, this is not a one-time event but a continuous process that needs to be performed regularly to ensure the ongoing security of an organization's IT infrastructure. It’s applicable for all SAP systems to protect against security threats. The following are the key approaches for vulnerability scanning in the SAP landscape:
- SAP Solution Manager: SAP Solution Manager provides tools for vulnerability scanning, patch management, and system configuration analysis. It allows organizations to assess the security of their SAP systems and applications and identify potential vulnerabilities and configuration issues.
- SAP Code Vulnerability Analyzer: SAP Code Vulnerability Analyzer is a tool that analyzes ABAP code to identify potential security vulnerabilities. It can be used to scan custom ABAP code, as well as standard SAP code, to identify potential security issues.
- SAP Enterprise Threat Detection: SAP Enterprise Threat Detection is a security monitoring tool that uses machine learning and real-time analytics to identify potential security threats and vulnerabilities. It can be used to detect and respond to security incidents in real time.
- SAP Cloud ALM for security: SAP Cloud ALM for security is a cloud-based application lifecycle management solution that provides comprehensive security monitoring and management for cloud applications. It includes vulnerability scanning, patch management, and compliance monitoring capabilities.
- Third-party vulnerability scanning tools: Many third-party security vendors provide vulnerability scanning tools that can be used to assess the security of SAP systems and applications. These tools can scan SAP systems and applications for known vulnerabilities and provide recommendations for remediation.
Continuous monitoring can be used to detect and respond to potential security threats in real-time. This includes using tools like SAP Solution Manager to monitor systems and applications for security threats and vulnerabilities. Monitoring is required for all phases, including the deployment and upgrade phases. The deployment process should incorporate security best practices to ensure that security isn’t compromised during the deployment process. This includes using secure configuration management practices and implementing strict access controls for deployment. This process involves the following steps:
- Identifying assets: Identifying all the IT assets and systems within the organization, including hardware, software, and data
- Scanning for vulnerabilities: Conducting automated vulnerability scans of the identified assets and systems to identify potential security risks and vulnerabilities
- Assessing vulnerabilities: Analyzing the results of the vulnerability scans to prioritize identified vulnerabilities based on their severity and potential impact on the organization
- Reporting: Creating reports that summarize the identified vulnerabilities and recommendations for remediation
- Remediation: Developing and implementing a plan to address the identified vulnerabilities, including patching, configuration changes, and other security controls
- Continuously monitoring: Continuously monitoring the IT infrastructure for new vulnerabilities and applying security updates as needed
The following are guidelines for security vulnerability monitoring. Implementing these will help any organization minimize its risk of data breaches and security incidents:
- Regular scanning: Perform regular vulnerability scans on all SAP systems to ensure that any new vulnerabilities are identified and remediated in a timely manner.
- Prioritize vulnerabilities: Prioritize vulnerabilities based on their severity and potential impact on the SAP system and business operations. Focus on the most critical vulnerabilities first.
- Continuous monitoring: Use continuous monitoring tools to keep track of changes in the SAP system's security posture and detect new vulnerabilities as they are introduced.
- Patch management: Establish a patch management process to ensure that all vulnerabilities are remediated promptly and that patches are applied in a timely manner.
- Access control: Implement access control measures to limit user access to the SAP system based on the principle of least privilege. Restrict access to critical functions and data to only those who need it.
- Audit logs: Enable and review audit logs to identify any unauthorized access or activity in the SAP system. Audit logs also can be used to detect vulnerabilities and misconfigurations.
- Security awareness training: Provide security awareness training to SAP system users to help them recognize and report potential security vulnerabilities or suspicious activity.
- Test in a safe environment: Before conducting a vulnerability scan, ensure that the test environment is safe and that there are no negative impacts on the SAP system. Conduct the vulnerability scan in a controlled environment to minimize the risk of system disruptions or downtime.
Editor’s note: This post has been adapted from a section of the book DevOps with SAP by Raja Gupta and Sandip Jha.