5 Ways Small Teams Can Protect SAP Systems

Jul 12, '19 by Joerg Schneider-Simon

SAP is your organization’s cardiovascular system. It allows mission-critical data to flow smoothly from application to application and from team to team, ensuring every limb of the company can function the way it needs to.

Protecting your SAP system, therefore, should be your IT team’s number one task—which may be easier said than done if your team is small and your resources limited.

What’s the answer? Small and medium businesses—particularly those having a hard time finding enough cybersecurity professionals—must look for creative ways to make the most of the resources they have so they can continue to protect the very heart of the organization. A smart strategy will also help small teams more effectively protect their entire risk surface, not just their SAP system.

Here’s how to protect your SAP system from cyberattack:

  1. Clearly define your roles
  2. Consider collaboration
  3. Create a culture of cybersecurity
  4. Know your strengths and your gaps
  5. Bring in outside help

Clearly Define Your Roles

SAP cybersecurity is neither fish nor fowl: Should it be the responsibility of whoever oversees SAP operations, or should it fall to the IT manager? In the grand scheme of things, what matters most is that someone oversees it and that their roles, responsibilities, and reporting are clearly defined.

When a team is already stretched, it’s vital to prevent any crises – which can only happen if everybody is on top of their specific responsibilities.

Consider Collaboration

Small and medium-sized organizations may have an IT team but may not have someone who is solely responsible for information security. Some organizations are getting creative and collaborating. For example, recently three US universities teamed up and established a shared Information Security Office, with a Chief Information Security officer and IS team, that will deliver on the information security needs of all three institutions.

If your organization already has partnerships or relationships with other, similarly sized businesses, pooling your resources may enable you to get the team you need.

Create a Culture of Cybersecurity

It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes an entire organization to protect its SAP system. When your IT or IS team is small, they can’t afford the pressure and extra work that’s required if a phishing attack is successful. Enlisting every staff member and contractor and instilling in them an awareness and respect for strict cybersecurity can slash the risk of a successful attack—and the corresponding workload for the IS team—exponentially.

It does take some time and effort up front to conduct this training and to keep the awareness level high, but when everybody from the CEO to the temp knows how to recognize a suspicious email or dubious attachment, the effort is worth it.

Know Your Strengths and Your Gaps

As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” When dealing with a small team, it’s vital to find out exactly what you don’t know.

Consider doing a team audit, where you carefully assess and note the strengths, skills, and experience of every team member. First, this will help you better identify how to assign responsibilities within your team. Second, this exercise will help you identify gaps. For example, perhaps you have a couple of people on your team who are geniuses at spotting weaknesses in your OS system, but nobody on your team who understands how SAP works.

Understanding the team’s blind spots not only gives you direction when hiring new team members, but can also help you decide where you should shore up those weak spots by obtaining outside help, which brings us to…

Bring in Outside Help

While your team may be small, they’re still part of a larger community of hard-working professionals who are diligent about thwarting cyberattacks and keeping mission-critical systems safe. And many of these professionals are experienced specialists, applying their skills and efforts toward highly targeted avenues of cybersecurity.

Outsourcing some of your more complex or time-consuming tasks to these professionals (or to the solutions they’ve created) can greatly alleviate your team’s workload while augmenting the overall strength of your cybersecurity protection.

With a small or even medium-sized IT or IS team, it can be easy to feel like David battling Goliath. But, much as a well-aimed stone felled that legendary giant, so can a well-aimed strategy defeat a swarm of cyberattacks, helping your small team perform legendary feats.

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