Why cybersecurity is important in today’s digital world

Today’s digital world is reliant on SAP for business-critical tasks, including financial processes that can mean the difference between life or death for certain industries. SAP customers are increasingly aware of the security risks facing their SAP landscape and are looking to SAP for integrated solutions to these challenges. With the increasing complexity of cyberattacks against SAP applications, understanding what types of attacks exist is crucial to building an effective defense strategy.

“It’s no secret that SAP often holds an organization’s crown jewels and needs to be given the utmost protection. However, according to the latest research 43% of data breaches are at the application layer and we are finding that this is the greatest area of weakness,”

Doug Pastrich, CEO of 1st Basis.

Understanding the Cyberattack Life Cycle Stages

SAP Cybersecurity professionals need to be aware of the entire attack cycle in order to protect SAP systems and customer data. Cybercriminals have a chain of tools available to them, which SAP security professionals will need to understand in order to protect SAP systems and SAP customer data.

A cyber-attack’s life cycle is a process that begins with an attacker gaining access to a system and culminates in the attacker extracting data from it. A complete understanding of this life cycle can help you identify, prevent, detect and respond to attacks as they happen.

The following are the lifecycle stages:

The Reconnaissance Stage

The reconnaissance stage of the cyber-attack life cycle is where the attacker gathers information about the target. This can be done through a number of methods, such as scanning for vulnerable systems or reviewing publicly available information about the target. The goal of this stage is to gather as much information as possible about the target so that the attacker can plan their attack.

The Weaponization and Delivery Stage

The weaponization and delivery stage is where the attacker takes the information they gathered in the reconnaissance stage and turns it into a tool that can be used to exploit the target. This can involve creating malware or ransomware that will infect the target’s systems, or crafting a phishing attack that will trick the target into giving up their credentials. The goal of this stage is to get the malicious payload into the target’s environment so that it can start doing damage.

The Exploitation Stage

The exploitation stage is where the attacker takes advantage of any vulnerabilities that they discovered in the reconnaissance stage. This can involve using the malware or ransomware that they created in the weaponization and delivery stage, or it can involve exploiting a vulnerability in the target’s systems. The goal of this stage is to take control of the target’s systems and start doing damage.

The Installation Stage

The installation stage is where the attacker installs any tools or malware that they used in the exploitation stage. This can involve installing a backdoor on the target’s systems so they can continue to access them later, or installing ransomware that will encrypt the target’s files and hold them for ransom. The goal of this stage is to make sure that the attacker has a foothold in the target’s environment so they can continue to do damage.

The Command and Control Stage

The command and control stage is where the attacker starts to take control of the target’s systems. This can involve installing a rootkit on the target’s systems so they can keep an eye on what the target is doing, or setting up a server to act as a proxy for sending commands to the target’s systems. The goal of this stage is to gain full control over the target’s systems so that the attacker can do whatever they want with them.

The Data Exfiltration Stage

The data exfiltration stage is where the attacker starts to extract data from the target’s systems. This can involve copying files to a remote server or downloading them to a USB drive. The goal of this stage is to extract as much data from the target as possible so that the attacker can use it for their own purposes.


The Final Stage

The final stage of the cyber-attack life cycle is where the attacker completes their attack and leaves the target’s systems. This can involve erasing their tracks so that they can’t be traced back to them, or simply exiting the target’s environment and leaving them to deal with the aftermath. The goal of this stage is to make sure that the attacker is safe and that they have what they need from the target’s systems.

Understanding SAP Cybersecurity

Understanding these threats allows SAP customers to integrate preventative measures
into their daily operations and prioritize response strategies should attacks occur. We’ve
compiled some important tools to use to keep your organization secure against today’s
threats:

1. R-Score assessment – is a valuable tool that can help organizations gauge their
preparedness to repel and recover from ransomware attacks. Assessment
scores range from 0 to 1,000, and provide users with steps to take to improve
their score.The R-Score is generated through HYCU, and evaluates an
organization in five key categories:

  • backup process
  • backup infrastructure
  • security and networking
  • restore processes
  • disaster recovery

2. SAP Security Notes – SAP provides SAP Security Notes cover SAP products and
include information on how hackers break into SAP systems and APO software
as well as what SAP customers can do to protect themselves from possible
cyberattacks via SAP security updates.

3. SecurityBridge Platform – The SecurityBridge Platform is the most innovative
and complete SAP threat detection solution available for organizations running
SAP. SecurityBridge offers protection against the most sophisticated and
growing threats to SAP systems. SecurityBridge is the only solution that offers
complete coverage for all phases of the attack lifecycle, from reconnaissance to
post-exploitation.

Understanding Integrated SAP Cybersecurity

One important part of this strategy is to monitor your system for any signs of malicious activity continuously. This can be done with a real-time threat monitoring solution, which will allow you to detect and respond to threats as they happen.

Another important part of protecting your SAP environment is keeping up with the latest vulnerabilities. A vulnerability management solution can help you do this by scanning your systems for vulnerabilities and providing patch management updates.

By combining a real-time threat monitoring solution with a vulnerability management solution, you can create a comprehensive security process for your SAP environment. This integrated approach will help you to monitor your system for threats constantly and vulnerabilities, and respond quickly to any potential attacks.

Threats against SAP systems are becoming more prevalent and more sophisticated. The most effective, proven approach is to combine constant real-time threat monitoring and vulnerability management into a holistic security process’’

Christoph Nagy, CEO of SecurityBridge

To learn more about how to protect your SAP environment, contact us today. We offer a range of real-time threat monitoring and vulnerability management solutions that can help you secure your business-critical data.

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In the case of videoconferencing during the time of COVID, necessity is the mother of adoption as much as invention. Video Conferencing platforms have been around for awhile, and they’ve been used in business quite a lot, but the pressure to continue day-to-day operations as much as possible while preventing the spread of the Coronavirus and protecting the health of employees has spiked their popularity for day-to-day use in all kinds of business settings.

Prior to COVID, many businesses were reluctant to have their employees regularly work from home. Management was concerned that they would not be as productive as in a normal work setting, where they could be monitored. They were concerned that employees working from home would be easily distracted and spend more time, unproductively. Studies have shown that both assumptions are probably untrue, but managers were reluctant (wish some notable exceptions) to try working from home in large numbers without a significant reason to attempt such an experiment—COVID-19 has given them that reason.

Working from home has significant advantages, however. People in densely populated areas save themselves the expense and aggravation of tedious commutes to and from work, which saves a lot of psychological wear and tear. In cases of bad weather, provided broadband stays up, people can still ‘get to work.’ In many cases, it is the workplace itself that offers more distractions than the home. From home, you are much less likely to spend time socializing with co-workers or being interrupted by micromanaging supervisors. Getting a meal is easy (maybe too easy) rather than a one-hour lunch break. During break times, employees can attend to personal business, freeing up more of their time after their work is done for the day; a win win.

The past decade has seen a lot of government policies and directives aimed at pushing people into cities to minimize urban sprawl and other negative environmental impact. The severity of the pandemic in urban areas is causing some people to reconsider living in cities and the emergence of work-from-home options afforded by videoconferencing and other platforms and systems for tracking, aiding, and integrating workflow, may fuel a reversal of this push. Less commuting means less congestion and pollution. Less time spent at physical sites means less need for expensive of offices.

Many of the IT tools that companies rely on work much better on non-portable hardware than on highly portable devices such as smartphones. This is one area of opportunity for IT developers. Improvements to predictive text and voice-to-text transcription will be key to this next migration. Videoconferencing is also limited in conveying people’s full presence, though it is certainly closer than text or audio-only. Some developers are working to move meetings from video conferencing platforms to virtual reality platforms. What seemed a futuristic pipe dream when Princess Leia was imploring Obi-Wan for help in an R2-D2 holographic projection may soon be coming to the virtual business space—sans the droid.

Let’s hope that COVID-19 is in our rear view mirror soon, but some of the changes it has wrought to how we work are certain to persist.

Steve Jobs did not let his kids have iPhones. Google built a woodworking lab for their employees. Why? They realized the consequences of overusing technology. While the digital age has opened so many doors, over indulgence has many serious repercussions on our health, relationships, psychological wellbeing and many other aspects of our lives.

The average adult looks at their smartphone 150 times a day and spends more than 2.5 hours responding to their share of the 269 billion emails sent every day.  We feel obligated to be connected at all times, urgently (albeit reluctantly) jumping at every notification. This is so common that the term “nomophobia” has been added to the lexicon to describe the fear or the stress of not being able to access your phone.

The human brain is designed to respond to stimuli. When we see something shiny, we must investigate. Each notification sparks that instinctive urge to look. The unknown of what is hiding behind that alert provides a shot of dopamine, feeding our addiction regardless of the true payoff or the underlying frustration at the distraction.

Those of us glued to our phone are prone to many side effects including lack of sleep, burnout, increased anxiety, poor mental health, cognitive loss, strained relationships, eye strain, hearing loss, back and neck pain, and even carpel tunnel or tendonitis (texting thumb and selfie wrist are now diagnosable conditions). In addition, many of us risk our safety and security when we overshare by wrongly assuming that it will only be seen by our trusted friends. “Checking in” or sharing things that might not seem like sensitive information on the surface has led to stalking, assault, kidnapping, burglaries, and many other serious situations.

A few years ago, my parents “checked in” on Facebook, saying they would be stuck at the hospital for several hours. They returned to find their house ransacked—doors ripped off the hinges, holes punched into walls, and their hidden safe found and emptied. We later realized they had posted a photo a few days prior without noticing their address and street sign were in the background. The police concluded that they were one of many families targeted because of similar posts. As many as 1 in 12 individuals are burglarized after sharing their location on social media.

With the many side effects of the digital age, it is vital to set clear boundaries and be mindful of your digital wellness. One study proved that limiting your digital indulgence can increase your happiness by 91% . It is not practical for most of us to cut ourselves off completely considering all of the benefits technology offers. However, moderating your screen time with a “digital diet” can significantly improve your quality of life.

Top 5 Digital Diet Tips:

  1. Set Priorities
    • Decide which emails can be left unread or require a response.
    • Prioritize interactions that make you feel connected and happy versus drained, stressed.
    • Change ringtones for specific contacts to distinguish them as urgent, allowing you to tune out others.
  2. Limit notifications
    • Use “do not disturb” to avoid notifications when you are spending time with loved ones or taking time for yourself. You can even customize this setting with automated time frames and allowing “favorite” contacts or emergency situations to override the block.
    • Turn off notifications to noisy apps that do not require urgent responses.
    • Change email settings to funnel marketing emails into a separate folder to be checked only on a schedule that you decide and unsubscribe from any bothersome lists.
  3. Create a routine
    • Set a schedule to check your email, allowing you to focus on priorities the rest of the day. The average person takes 25 minutes to regain their focus after being distracted by 1 email notification.
    • Set time limits for apps demanding too much of your time with tools like Google’s Digital Wellbeing app and Apple’s Screen Time.
  4. Create a “phone home” such as the dresser or a basket on the counter
    • Leaving your phone in eye sight or in your pocket creates a reactionary pull to check every notification while leaving it in its “home” will lessen that urge.
    • Make a conscious effort to only pick up your phone when you choose to interact with it, rather than letting it control you with every buzz.
  5. Change how you use social media
    • Declutter your news feed by unfollowing or snoozing connections that increase your stress level, or that you don’t interact with regularly.
    • Become an active participant rather than mindlessly scrolling–share your unique ideas or reach out directly to your connections to have natural conversations and remind yourself why you care about them, instead of battling in the comments of an opinionated meme.
    • Remove shortcuts from your home screen and delete saved passwords—adding steps to log in will increase your awareness of your habits and help you cut back.

Ultimately, the most important thing to realize is that unplugging isn’t a test or a challenge to endure for a certain amount of time, but a lifestyle shift back to what is valuable to you. Moderating your digital life gives you back the ability to indulge in what you truly care about, whatever that may be. Enjoy the present and turn off the buzz in the background.

“People are not machines. For machines, downtime is a bug; for humans, downtime is a feature. The science is clear…there’s simply no way you can make good decisions and achieve your world-changing ambitions while running on empty.” Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global