Test Before You Patch
For ERP administrators today, security is always on their mind. Check out this post to learn more about how you can speed up testing and implement new patches.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
For ERP administrators today, security is always on their mind. But, recent warnings from the US Department of Homeland Security about ERP vulnerabilities make securing your Oracle and SAP applications even more urgent. Data breaches and unauthorized access can disrupt business-critical processes and negatively impact your customers. Staying up-to-date with security patches is the best way to make sure this doesn't happen to your organization, but good protocol requires that you first test patches against a separate test instance of SAP to confirm that they won't impact operations of your production instance.
So, how can you speed up testing and implement these important patches as soon as they're available? Automating the SAP system copy process is one way to clear the path of the obstacles that keep you from better security.
Break the Barriers that Keep You from Updating
In the report I mentioned above, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (part of the Department of Homeland Security) warns businesses that ERP applications are a tempting target for cyber attackers who have been taking aim at known vulnerabilities in SAP and Oracle. ERP software in on-premises, public, private, and hybrid cloud environments are all at risk, as are environments that don't have direct Internet connectivity. While this sounds alarming, the recommendation for protecting your ERP applications is simple: always implement the updates in the security patches that Oracle and SAP release regularly for customers.
The challenge of patch implementation comes when patches include new or updated functionality in addition to security updates. That updated functionality could break something if pushed forward without testing and needs to be vetted first. The usual approach is to do so on a copy of the production system and test the patch there. Making SAP system copies is, therefore, an important part of the testing process but can be slow and cumbersome, sometimes taking up to ten days to complete manually.
Introducing automation to the SAP system copy process allows for the creation of an identical image of any environment you need in half the time and removes the complexity barrier of testing changes to an SAP system. This makes it possible to test without interruption, de-risk consuming patches more quickly, and ultimately improve the security compliance of your ERP system.
Other Ways to Boost Security
In addition to staying up-to-date with automated SAP System Copy, there are other ways you can boost the defense of your business. For instance, utilizing workload automation can limit the number of users with login credentials, which creates fewer points of entry for outsiders to access your systems and limits permissions creep. You can also make use of continuous, real-time monitoring techniques with application performance monitoring solutions, which constantly check the status of your systems and can help you catch the early signs of security breaches.
Don't let your enterprise be compromised by preventable attacks; build security into your systems by automating the processes that slow you down.
Published at DZone with permission of Dan Zentgraf. See the original article here.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.