Join our Discord Server
Avinash Bendigeri Avinash is a developer-turned Technical writer skilled in core content creation. He has an excellent track record of blogging in areas like Docker, Kubernetes, IoT and AI.

Secure Coding Essentials for SAP Business Systems

3 min read

In a fast-moving digital landscape, businesses rely more than ever on robust resource planning systems, such as SAP (Systems, Applications, and Products) business systems, to ensure that their operations run as efficiently as possible. SAP systems play a key role in managing critical business processes, from finance and administration to supply chain and client relationship management.

As helpful as these systems can be, many of which have become integral to modern businesses, a potential downside is how dependent and reliant companies have become on these systems. This dependence means that SAP systems are at greater risk of cyber threats, which is why the importance of secure coding cannot be overstated.

This article will explore why secure coding for SAP systems has become essential. We’ll also provide actionable insights into best practices that can help developers future-proof their applications against various security threats.

Understanding SAP Business Systems

SAP systems have become essential for organizations. The amount of business-critical data handled by these systems means that cybercriminals have taken an increased interest in trying to exploit potential vulnerabilities and gain access to this sensitive data. A single vulnerability can result in a business being unable to operate, all while putting confidentiality at risk — hurting the business’s ability to garner trust.

Below, we’ll look at some key areas that developers should keep at the forefront of their minds when working on their SAP security strategy. At the same time, returning to previous projects and checking through these points can be worthwhile to ensure that nothing critical has been overlooked.

Authentication and Authorisation

One of the most important aspects of secure coding regarding SAP system security is ensuring that you have robust authentication and authorization checkpoints. Developers should include password policies beyond the bare minimum and include multi-factor authentication for increased security.

We’ve seen role-based access become more common recently — and for good reason. This principle ensures that users only have access to tools and data relevant to their specific role, reducing the chances of malicious parties gaining unauthorized access. This is similar to the principle of least privilege, which provides users with what they need to function but nothing more. These permissions will be regularly reviewed to ensure they are viable but provide a framework that can be easily implemented and adapted when needed.

Secure Communication

As you’d expect, SAP systems will communicate with other components of the business, internally and externally, pulling information from various sources. Developers should ensure that all communication is secure, especially over the Internet, and that best practices are always followed. The new Transport Layer Security protocols should be used to protect data when it’s in transit, preventing it from being intercepted.

It’s also wise to be cautious about including any sensitive information, such as login credentials or encryption keys, within the SAP system’s code, as this could be found by anybody willing to manually search for something specific. Employing secure key management practices and creating environment-specific files helps protect against unauthorized access.

Code Reviews and Analysis

As we’re sure you’re aware, just as much work should go into reviewing your code as is spent writing it in the first instance — it is a crucial stage in any robust coding process. Regularly reviewing your code gives you a better chance of identifying glaring vulnerabilities or errors within the system. As a coder, you should be able to identify areas where vulnerabilities are most likely, making the process much easier and more time-efficient.

There are code analysis tools that can help developers undertake a code review by automatically scanning the code for potential vulnerabilities. These tools can identify security issues early in development, allowing for timely amends before the code goes live. By integrating code testing and analysis into your workflow, you can ensure that security checks are performed consistently before and after launch.

Patch Management

Vulnerabilities being uncovered are just part of a SAP system’s lifecycle. However, you are responsible for keeping components up-to-date with the latest updates and patches. The software providers will regularly release patches to address specific security concerns that have been uncovered. Often, these patches will expose more vulnerabilities, prompting further patches, but this is simply how things work.

It’s always wise to test any patch updates in a secure environment if possible, especially if this is a patch that you’ve worked on yourself. Ideally, these patches should solve more issues than they cause, but an interim patch is sometimes needed if there is an immediate need for something to be changed. Regardless, staying ahead of the curve and taking a proactive approach is always a good idea, and this should form the basis of your patch management strategy.

Taking a Proactive Approach to SAP Security

Secure coding is a cornerstone for safeguarding SAP business systems against a wide and varied range of new digital threats. Developers should aim to employ different strategies to protect the SAP system and ensure that all sensitive data is adequately protected. This requires a proactive approach but can save a lot of time and worry later, even if you simply set aside a specific amount of time each week to review code and note any potential issues that could arise.

Have Queries? Join

Avinash Bendigeri Avinash is a developer-turned Technical writer skilled in core content creation. He has an excellent track record of blogging in areas like Docker, Kubernetes, IoT and AI.
Join our Discord Server