Hardly a day goes by without news that a company, organization or government has been the victim of a cyber attack. Cyber crime has become a serious threat to every company. According to the digital association Bitkom, the German economy alone suffers total annual damage of 223 billion euros. 88% of companies in Germany report that cyber attacks have occurred on their corporate networks in 2020 and 2021.


Companies of all sizes are affected

Cyber attacks are among the most dynamically changing crime phenomena. Criminals are becoming more professional and adapting to social and, above all, technological developments. Whereas attacks used to be more random and disorganized, they are now much more concretely planned and victims are deliberately selected. The idea that only large corporations need to fear cyber attacks is also completely outdated. Smaller and medium-sized companies are equally affected – and sometimes even the more attractive targets, since the protective measures are often less comprehensive than in large corporations, which can draw on greater human resources when it comes to IT security.


What is cyber security?

Cyber security refers to the protection of IT systems and data against digital attacks. Cyber security measures aim to effectively combat threats to networked systems and applications and serve to protect software, data and hardware from malicious attacks and unauthorized access. However, corporate security managers must be aware that there is no such thing as 100% IT security. Therefore, costs and risks must be carefully weighed and it must be determined which areas are particularly worthy of protection, and appropriate measures must be taken to detect and defend against attacks. In addition, it must be determined what is to be done in the event of a successful attack, i.e., if cyber criminals have actually gained access to the system landscape.


SAP systems and cyber security

SAP systems play a special role in terms of cyber security. They are a worthwhile target for attackers because they process and store a lot of sensitive and critical data. In addition, SAP applications play an elementary role in the handling of business processes. In the event of a successful attack by cyber criminals, there is a risk of production downtime, data loss and damage to the company’s image. Due to their complexity, SAP systems are a challenge in terms of cyber security. They offer numerous potential entry points for attackers, which must be monitored and secured.


One goal of cyber security is to detect threats promptly so that the time between the attack itself and its detection remains as short as possible. To achieve this, continuous monitoring of all processes within the SAP landscape should take place in the background. This enables irregularities and conspicuous processes to be detected quickly and appropriate countermeasures to be initiated.


Two-pronged security strategy

It is advisable to take a two-pronged approach to cyber security so that preventive measures and continuous system monitoring are effectively combined. Preventive measures form a fundamental part of the SAP security concept because they make an external attack as difficult as possible. In the best case, attackers are not even able to overcome the security hurdles and penetrate the SAP system landscape to cause damage.


Despite all the precautions taken, cyber criminals may still manage to bypass the security measures and gain access to the systems. With the help of so-called SIEM solutions (SIEM = Security Information and Event Management), companies create the technical prerequisites for detecting, analyzing and defending against hacker attacks. Permanent monitoring improves security, identifies anomalies and suspicious activities, and thus detects threats to the company.


Conclusion: Thinking holistically about cyber security

Cyber security requires a holistic approach. Uncoordinated individual measures fall short and prove ineffective. Only a combination of different security measures, which are applied at different levels, can make the company’s protective shield more impenetrable for attackers. Each protective measure plays to its individual strengths in detecting and defending against attacks.


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