SAP Runs Your Business; Make Defending it Part of Your Exposure Management Program

Posted by: Bill Bradley
June 13, 2024
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Lots of organizations across the globe use SAP to manage business operations and customer relations. Wait, did I say lots? I meant nearly ALL – like 99 of the 100 top Fortune 100 companies are consumers of SAP products. So it’s no exaggeration to say that SAP is truly a business-critical asset, relied on by millions of users. 

But also owing to the complex and interconnected nature of SAP deployments and environments, over the years SAP has had its share of associated security issues. Thus, ensuring it’s secured from issues such as unauthorized access and misconfigurations is really of paramount importance. 

Why is SAP Security Still Challenging?

SAP is an integral part of so many businesses, yet it is often a forgotten element of security. Why? There are a variety of reasons why the phrase “Some Security leaders can’t even spell SAP” persists. There are 4 key challenges that make SAP a unique element of cybersecurity, and elevate it on an attacker’s target list, even if the data contained weren’t enticing enough.

  1. SAP is pervasive – The “E” in ERP stands for Enterprise, it means often SAP runs throughout the organization, creating a complex interconnection of processes, but also linking the various business functions. When Security teams need to tackle SAP issues, it’s a company wide discussion, not just a single department.   
  2. SAP requires specialized expertise and teams. All software uses specific language to achieve its tasks, but SAP takes that to another level with ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming). ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming) is the name of SAP’s proprietary, fourth-generation programming language. It was specifically developed to allow the mass-processing of data in SAP business applications. “Specifically designed” is just another way of saying proprietary. It means the code is built to optimize SAP, but it also means different skill sets are needed to support it. 
  3. SAP is isolated from traditional cyber tools and processes. Because of SAP’s specialized nature, it’s almost treated as a unique element of the business and cybersecurity isn’t applied universally. This leads to it being a blind spot – and a costly one, if things go wrong.
  4. SAP is a legacy system using legacy processes facing new threats. The underlying elements of SAP are robust, but often based on legacy approaches. SAP understands that the hesitance to implement bleeding edge processes and can lag the latest tech advances. Attackers, however are not lagging, novel approaches are the battle Security leaders must keep themselves educated upon to keep their SAP operational.

To address these issues, XM Cyber has unveiled SAP Exposure Management. This new set of capabilities offers organizations continuous visibility and remediation guidance to protect their business-critical SAP applications. We conducted extensive research in collaboration with our SAP customers to understand how attackers could potentially target and compromise SAP environments. The research identified multiple attack techniques, all posing significant risks to business operations. These techniques focus on recent SAP versions and can facilitate lateral movement and remote code execution, or full system takeover leading to compromise.

Enhanced SAP Protection

With SAP Exposure Management, organizations can visualize and mitigate attack paths targeting SAP environments, ensuring the security and uptime of these crucial systems security, IT, and business leaders demand. It identifies and prioritizes threats targeting SAP ERP systems in real-time, enabling faster response times and enhancing overall security posture. It also offers continuous monitoring of SAP environments, allowing organizations to dynamically adjust their security posture and stay ahead of evolving threats.

By mapping attack paths and identifying exposures targeting SAP systems, organizations get visibility into potential attack vectors including high impact critical choke points. And Security and IT teams receive detailed guidance on patching, best practices, and system hardening. This ensures that remediation efforts are both effective and efficient.

By extending its industry-leading XM Attack Graph Analysis™ to SAP, XM Cyber enables organizations to visualize and prioritize risks across their entire hybrid environment. This unified view enhances efficiency and efficacy for Security and IT teams.


Learn More

For more information on XM Cyber for Continuous Exposure Management, click here.



Bill Bradley

Bill is Sr Director of Product Marketing for XM Cyber and brings a diverse background of sales, product management, and marketing to the role. He knows enough of cybersecurity to be dangerous, but also when to seek expert guidance.

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