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The current regulatory compliance and cyber threat landscape is constantly shifting. With the rise in data breaches and stringent regulatory compliance mandates, coupled with digital transformation projects like S/4HANA migrations, securing sensitive information within SAP systems is more critical than ever. Did you know that a whopping 80% of data breaches involve unauthorized access to privileged accounts? Traditional security methods often rely on static roles, leaving them vulnerable to insider threats and compromised credentials. According to recent studies, data breaches have increased by over 30% in the last year alone, costing businesses billions in damages and tarnishing their reputations.

Moreover, regulatory bodies such as GDPR, PCI DSS, and ITAR are imposing stricter rules on data privacy and security, instilling urgency for improved data security across many organizations. Considering these challenges, businesses are turning to innovative solutions to fortify their data protection strategies. To secure sensitive SAP data effectively, organizations must implement data-centric security controls like Dynamic Data Masking and Attribute-Based Access Controls (ABAC). 

Attribute Based Access Control (ABAC) is a dynamic security model that manages access to SAP data, resources, and transactions based on pre-defined and customizable policies. Unlike traditional, role-based access control (RBAC) methods that rely on static user roles, ABAC grants access based on granular attributes relevant to each individual user and the context of access.

Additionally, Dynamic Data Masking (DDM) is a technique used to secure sensitive data by obfuscating fields and transactions in production SAP environments, rendering sensitive information indecipherable to unauthorized individuals. Ultimately, integrating ABAC with DDM enables robust data protection and granular access control in SAP applications. 

ABAC Enables Granular and Dynamic Access Control

ABAC grants or denies access based on the attributes associated with a user, resource, and environmental factors. For example, a user with a ‘manager’ role may be granted access to sensitive financial data only during business hours, while a ‘developer’ may only have access to source code within a specific project. However, if either of these users request access or try to perform a task from an unrecognized IP address, ABAC will deem the request as risky and block the access or action. This offers more granular control over resource access when compared to role-based methods, allowing organizations to define and manage access policies in a fine-grained manner.

Dynamic Data Masking Safeguards Sensitive Data at Risk

Dynamic Data Masking complements ABAC by obscuring sensitive data based on these dynamic access control policies. In scenarios where a user’s access or action is indicative of risk, the sensitive data is obfuscated. This ensures that only authorized individuals that satisfy the dynamic ABAC policies can access the actual data. It acts as a failsafe to protect sensitive information from unauthorized users, even if someone manages to gain access to a dataset. For instance, an individual with limited access rights may see partial or randomized data while the overall functionality of the applications and databases is maintained.

Integrating DDM and ABAC for Enhanced Data Security and Governance

Integrating ABAC with Dynamic Data Masking allows organizations to ensure that only authorized users can access sensitive data, regardless of their role or level of access. This integration provides an additional layer of protection by masking the data’s true values unless specific criteria are met. By combining these two techniques, organizations can have fine-grained access control and data security, preventing unauthorized users from viewing, editing, or exfiltrating critical data, even in case of a breach or compromised credentials.

Streamline Regulatory Compliance by Integrating ABAC and DDM

Additionally, integrating ABAC with Dynamic Data Masking enables organizations to comply with various regulatory compliance and data privacy requirements, such as GDPR, PCI DSS, or ITAR. These evolving regulations require businesses to protect sensitive information. Integrating ABAC with DDM can automatically satisfy compliance for these regulations by ensuring your organization has robust and scalable data security and access control policies in place. Another, less apparent, benefit to the ABAC security model is the ease of adjusting policies as your organization scales, adopts new applications and architectures, user roles expand, and regulatory compliance requirements evolve. The flexible and dynamic nature of the ABAC model ensures security teams can proactively address these changes without the need for arduous role redesign efforts and reactive policy updates.  

The Need for an Automated Solution

Although integrating ABAC with Dynamic Data Masking offers significant advantages in terms of access control and data protection, implementing these policies effectively can be difficult without an automated and optimized solution. ABAC and DDM solutions ensure that the complex rules for dynamic masking are carefully crafted to maintain the usability, functionality, and security of SAP applications and databases. Additionally, a solution’s ability to automate thorough testing and monitoring is paramount to identify any potential issues or vulnerabilities that may arise from implementing these techniques, as well as measuring efficacy.

Secure Sensitive SAP Data with ABAC and Dynamic Data Masking from Pathlock

The Dynamic Access Controls (DAC) module from Pathlock is built on an ABAC security model. This enables a customizable and scalable, policy-based approach to data security, governance, and access control. The module’s centralized ABAC policy administration capabilities ensure that you can easily define and apply granular, dynamic access control policies without the need for redundant policy administration efforts on a per-role basis. With an intuitive user interface, customizing the out-of-the-box policies or creating your own is as easy as selecting filters to apply and requires no technical expertise for configuration.

Since the module’s dynamic data masking capabilities are governed by these easily configured ABAC policies, you can ensure that sensitive SAP data and transactions will be obfuscated without fail in scenarios where user access or actions indicate risk as defined in your organization’s custom policies. Ultimately, the DAC module provides a least-privilege security approach that goes beyond traditional access controls, allowing organizations to ensure data security while still allowing employees to perform their necessary duties on a need-to-know basis.

Ready to see how Pathlock can transform your SAP data security, governance, and compliance processes? Sign up for a demo today to see how Pathlock can install directly on your ABAP server and to protect your critical data within hours.

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