In SAP’s patch round of February 2022, an SAP Security Note was released with a CVSS score of 10/10 named, “Request smuggling and request concatenation in SAP
3 most common types of SAP Patches
Installing SAP patches is crucial for maintaining a robust and secure enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. SAP, one of the leading ERP systems in the world, is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of businesses. As a result, SAP releases various patches to address issues and enhance the functionality of its software. However, installing SAP patches can present challenges for IT teams, such as ensuring minimal disruption to business operations, managing risks, and testing the non-implemented patches. Proper planning and testing of patches are vital to minimize downtime and ensure that the system runs smoothly after the installation. This article will discuss the three most common types of SAP patches- kernel patches, snote patches, and support packs – and the best practices for installing them.
What are SAP Kernel Patches?
Kernel patches are updates to the core system software of SAP, also known as the SAP Kernel. The kernel is the foundation of the SAP system and controls the system’s functions, such as managing memory and input/output operations.
SAP Kernel patches are typically released to address performance issues, fix bugs, and enhance security. For example, you can release a kernel patch to address a memory leak issue causing system slowdowns. Hackers could also exploit the kernel patch to exploit a security vulnerability.
Installing an SAP kernel patch involves several steps. In brief, it involves the following steps:
- Preparation of system
- Downloading the patch
- Applying the patch on the development instance
- Testing the patch
- A system restart (Downtime required)
- Deployment of the patch across the SAP stacks
What are SAP Notes?
SAP Notes, also known as SNotes, are essential for maintaining a stable and secure SAP system. They provide solutions to known issues and serve to deliver new functionalities. You can ensure that your system runs optimally and protects against known vulnerabilities by installing SAP Notes promptly.
The manufacturer releases SAP Notes to correct a specific issue. They can be in the form of manual instructions describing the steps a customer needs to take to resolve a problem, or they can be automated corrections directly installed onto the SAP system using the SAP system transaction SNOTE.
SAP releases SAP Notes regularly and groups them into Support Package (SP) stacks. An SP stack is a collection of SAP Notes released together to address specific issues or to introduce new functionality. Each SP stack has a unique number and the name of the intended version of SAP software it is meant for.
A special category of SAP Notes is the SAP Security Notes. These notes are published every second Tuesday of a month on the SAP Security Patch Day and are focused on addressing security vulnerabilities. It’s crucial to keep an eye out for these notes and install them as soon as possible to ensure your system’s protection against known security threats.
What is an SAP Service Pack?
An SAP Service Pack is a collection of all the patches and updates released for a specific version of SAP software. Generally, service packs include kernel patches and SAP Notes (also known as Support Packages) for a specific SAP product. Installing service packs is a convenient way to ensure that your SAP system is up to date, as they include all the necessary updates in a single package.
Installing a service pack involves several steps, including preparing the system, downloading the service pack, applying the service pack, and testing the service pack. It is crucial to plan the installation of an SAP Service Pack outside of business hours or during a maintenance window to minimize disruption to business operations.
It is also important to test the service pack in a non-production environment before installing it in your production system to minimize the risk of issues arising. Additionally, you should have a backup of your system before installing the service pack in case something goes wrong and you need to restore the system to its previous state. Before deploying this type of SAP patch to the production system, you should implement it on the development stack or a dedicated sandbox.
Not all service packs are equal, some may include more updates than others, and some may be more critical than others. Therefore, it is essential to review the release notes and patch instructions provided by SAP SE for detailed information about the service pack before installing it.
In conclusion, installing SAP patches is crucial for maintaining a robust and secure enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. SAP releases various types of patches, including kernel patches, SAP Notes, and service packs, to address issues and enhance the functionality of its software. However, installing SAP patches can present challenges for IT teams, such as ensuring minimal disruption to business operations, managing risks, and testing the patches before implementing them.
Proper planning and testing of patches are vital to minimize downtime and ensure the system runs smoothly after the installation. A risk-based approach to patch installation, prioritizing patches according to their severity or priority, as indicated by the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) score, can help ensure the installation of critical patches as soon as possible.
It’s important to have a patch management process to ensure the prompt installation of patches and the system’s protection against known vulnerabilities. A patch management process can also help minimize downtime and ensure the system runs smoothly after the installation.
One solution to simplify the patch management process is using specialized software, such as the SecurityBridge Patch Management software. This software can support the management, orchestration, and automation of SAP patches, helping to streamline the process and ensure the timely and efficient installation of patches.
In summary, maintaining a robust and secure SAP system requires regular patch installation, a well-planned approach, and a patch management process. By understanding the different types of patches available and implementing a risk-based approach to installation and prioritization, you can ensure that your SAP system is always up-to-date and running smoothly.
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Leiter des Forschungslabors ist Joris Van De Vis, Director of Security Research bei SecurityBridge und Mitgründer des SAP-Sicherheits-Spezialisten Protect4S, der seit September 2013 zu SecurityBridge