How to Secure Your Data in SAP BW/4HANA with Data Masking and Encryption
Data is a valuable resource for any organization, but it also comes with risks if it is exposed to unauthorized users. Data breaches can cause financial losses, reputational damage, legal liabilities, and regulatory penalties. Therefore, it is essential to secure your data from both internal and external threats, especially in data-intensive applications such as SAP BW/4HANA.
SAP BW/4HANA is a modern data warehouse solution that enables fast and flexible analytics on large volumes of data from various sources. However, SAP BW/4HANA also stores and processes sensitive data such as personal information, financial records, trade secrets, and intellectual property. These data need to be secured from unauthorized access, especially in scenarios such as testing, development, training, reporting, or analysis.
There are two main techniques to secure your data in SAP BW/4HANA: data masking and encryption. In this blog post, we will explain what these techniques are, how they differ, and how they can be applied in SAP BW/4HANA.
What is Data Masking?
Data masking is a technique that changes sensitive data into meaningless or partially visible values for unauthorized users, while still looking real and consistent. Data masking can be applied at different levels of detail, such as columns, rows, tables, or applications.
Data masking is useful for scenarios where users need to access some data but not all of it, such as testing, development, training, or reporting. For example, a developer may need to access a table containing customer data for testing purposes, but he does not need to see the actual customer names or credit card numbers. Data masking can mask these sensitive fields with dummy values (such as John Doe or 1234-5678-9012-3456) while keeping the original data format and integrity.
Data masking can also be used to comply with data protection regulations such as GDPR or HIPAA, which require organizations to minimize the exposure of personal or health-related data. For example, a hospital may need to share patient data with researchers or third parties for analysis purposes, but it must ensure that the patient identity is not revealed. Data masking can mask the patient name, address, or social security number with random values while keeping the medical information intact.
What is Encryption?
Encryption is a technique that converts sensitive data into unreadable or scrambled values using a secret key or algorithm. Encryption can be applied at different levels of storage or transmission, such as disks, files, databases, or networks.
Encryption is useful for scenarios where users need to access the original data but only with proper authorization and authentication. For example, a bank may need to store customer data in a database that is encrypted at the disk level. This means that even if someone steals the disk or accesses the database server physically, they cannot read the customer data without the encryption key. Similarly, a bank may need to transmit customer data over a network that is encrypted at the transport level. This means that even if someone intercepts the network traffic or hacks into the network devices, they cannot read the customer data without the encryption key.
Encryption can also be used to comply with data protection regulations such as PCI DSS or SOX, which require organizations to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access or disclosure. For example, a retailer may need to store customer credit card information in a database that is encrypted at the column level. This means that only authorized users who have access to the encryption key can view or modify the credit card information.
How to Apply Data Masking and Encryption in SAP BW/4HANA?
SAP BW/4HANA offers various options to apply data masking and encryption depending on the use case and requirement.
Data Masking Options
- SAP HANA Data Masking: This option allows you to mask sensitive data at the column level of tables or views in SAP HANA database. You can define a mask for each column using a SQL expression or a predefined function (such as randomize or anonymize). You can also assign an unmasked object privilege to users who are allowed to see the original data. SAP HANA Data Masking only scrambles data during execution and does not encrypt data on the disk layer. For example, you can create a mask for the column CREDIT_CARD_NUMBER in the table CUSTOMER_DATA using the following SQL statement:
ALTER TABLE CUSTOMER_DATA ALTER (CREDIT_CARD_NUMBER MASK USING '****-****-****-####');This will mask the credit card number with asterisks except for the last four digits for unauthorized users.
- UI Data Protection Masking for SAP S/4HANA: This option allows you to mask sensitive data at the field level of UI elements such as SAP GUI, WebClient UI, Web Dynpro ABAP, SAPUI5 and SAP Fiori applications. You can choose from different field-level actions such as mask, empty value, disable edit, or hide. You can also configure attribute-based authorization policies to determine how to protect sensitive data based on the context of a field or data element.For example, you can configure a field-level action for the field CREDIT_CARD_NUMBER in the SAP GUI transaction VA01 (Create Sales Order) using the following steps:
- Go to transaction /UI5/FLP_CONF_UI
- Select the application ID VA01
- Select the field ID CREDIT_CARD_NUMBER
- Select the field-level action MASK
- Save and activate the configuration
- Data Anonymization: This option allows you to anonymize sensitive data at the table or view level of SAP HANA database. You can use different anonymization techniques such as generalization, suppression, or perturbation to reduce the identifiability of data. You can also define different anonymization levels and rules for different user groups or scenarios. Data Anonymization creates a new anonymized table or view and does not modify the original data. For example, you can create an anonymized view for the table CUSTOMER_DATA using the following SQL statement:
CREATE ANONYMIZED VIEW ANONYMIZED_CUSTOMER_DATA AS SELECT * FROM CUSTOMER_DATA WITH ANONYMIZATION ( ANONYMIZE CREDIT_CARD_NUMBER USING RANDOMIZE ( SEED = '1234567890', LENGTH = 16, FORMAT = '####-####-####-####' ), ANONYMIZE CUSTOMER_NAME USING GENERALIZE ( HIERARCHY = 'CUSTOMER_NAME_HIERARCHY' ) );This will create a new view that randomizes the credit card number and generalizes the customer name using a predefined hierarchy for unauthorized users.
- SAP HANA Encryption: This option allows you to encrypt sensitive data at the disk or column level of SAP HANA database. You can use different encryption algorithms such as AES or RSA to encrypt data. You can also manage encryption keys using SAP HANA secure key store or external key management systems. SAP HANA Encryption protects data from unauthorized access or disclosure on the disk layer. For example, you can encrypt the column CREDIT_CARD_NUMBER in the table CUSTOMER_DATA using the following SQL statement:
ALTER TABLE CUSTOMER_DATA ALTER (CREDIT_CARD_NUMBER ENCRYPT);This will encrypt the credit card number using AES algorithm and store it in an encrypted format on the disk.
- SAP BW/4HANA Encryption: This option allows you to encrypt sensitive data at the application level of SAP BW/4HANA. You can use different encryption methods such as symmetric or asymmetric encryption to encrypt data. You can also manage encryption keys using SAP NetWeaver secure key store or external key management systems. SAP BW/4HANA Encryption protects data from unauthorized access or disclosure on the application layer.For example, you can encrypt the characteristic CREDIT_CARD_NUMBER in the advanced DSO CUSTOMER_DATA using the following steps:
- Go to transaction RSA1
- Select the advanced DSO CUSTOMER_DATA
- Select the tab Encryption
- Select the characteristic CREDIT_CARD_NUMBER
- Select the encryption method Symmetric
- Save and activate the advanced DSO
Data masking and encryption are two important techniques to secure your data in SAP BW/4HANA. Depending on the use case and requirement, you can choose from different options to apply data masking and encryption at different levels of detail, storage, or transmission. By using data masking and encryption, you can enhance the security and compliance of your SAP BW/4HANA solution.
Disclaimer: This content is generated by AI.