Keep Regular with Security Audits

Routine Security Audits can help things stay routine.

Security audits are one of the most important things you can do to protect your network. Security breaches happen all the time, and it’s up to you to stay ahead of these breaches with regular security audits. Security auditing is not just about checking logs – it’s about actively looking for changes on your network so that if something happens, you’ll know what was changed and how it happened. Security audits also provide peace of mind by showing that the right level of security is in place at any given time.

An audit includes reviewing firewall settings, software updates, antivirus/anti-malware status, account permissions (including Active Directory) domain controller health checks, password strength requirements, file share permissions including NTFS[1] permission changes, DHCP/DNS/WINS settings, user rights, Windows Security auditing settings, SharePoint Security Settings, anti-malware scanners to ensure virus signatures are up to date, patch statuses (including WSUS[2]) change logs and even checking for unauthorized software.

What is a security audit

A security audit is a process of evaluating the effectiveness of information security policies. Many businesses now depend on technology for their day to day operations and consequently, they expose themselves to various risks. Security audits are now an integral part of the security policy and it is important that they be made routine. The scope of the audit is determined by the level and type of risk identified in the organization and also is based on certain standards that have been developed.

Types of Security Audits & Auditors

Security audits are an important part of keeping your company safe. But there are many different types to choose from, and each type has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The process begins with analyzing the environment that needs to be audited, then matching the audit to the need. That’s why it’s crucial to understand what kind of security audit is needed before getting started. And while some audits may seem more difficult than others, they all have their place in a comprehensive security plan.[3]

Internal Auditors

These employees work inside the company looking for vulnerabilities or signs that something could go wrong within their departments or areas of responsibility which can be anything from the water cooler to the data center. They are employees who are trained in spotting red flags or inconsistencies that, when addressed early on, can prevent crisis situations down the road.

External Auditors

These auditors don’t work for your company but examine your systems and equipment regularly to look for security gaps in policies and procedures. These audits are performed by a hired third party or government agency.

These audits can also take the form of either Black Box or White Box (or Glass Box) Penetration Testing. With Black Box, the auditor has no knowledge of your systems and is testing from a position outside your network, looking for vulnerabilities by attacking them from the internet. With White Box, the auditor knows everything about how your systems are put together.[4] Each method has its pros and cons, but the goal with both is to harden[5] the system.

Manual Audits

A manual audit can be performed by an internal or external auditor. During this type of auditing, the interviewer will interview your employees to evaluate physical access and vulnerability scans for security as well as application, network and operating system controls that may need adjustment if necessary in order to make sure you’re up-to-date on best practices. These audits require extensive knowledge of the type of environment being audited and the ability to generate reports based on their findings.

Automated Audits

Automated audits are a Computer-Assisted Audit Technique, also known as CAAT that produces comprehensive, customizable reports. They can be used internally by management and externally for auditing purposes. Advanced programs will monitor the IT environment continuously so you’re always in the know about any suspicious activity taking place within your networked devices.

IT Audit Standards

The security audit standards ISO, HIPAA Security Rule, PCI DSS Compliance and SOX Compliance are designed to help businesses comply with their own internal data security protocols.

ISO Compliance is a process of verifying that an organization meets the requirements of the ISO/IEC 27001 standard. This standard covers the Information Security Management System (ISMS).[6] An ISMS is a framework that allows an organization to manage and control its information security risks. ISO Compliance is necessary for organizations that want to protect their customers’ data.

The HIPAA Security Rule is a set of regulations that are designed to protect the privacy and security of electronic health information. The Rule requires covered entities to implement a variety of security measures, including:

  • Access Control
  • Audit Logging
  • Password Management
  • Data Encryption 

PCI DSS compliance is a requirement for any business that accepts credit cards. In order to be PCI compliant, a business must implement certain security measures to protect its customers’ credit card data. These security measures include things like firewalls, anti-virus software, and data encryption.

Businesses that are not PCI compliant can face fines and other penalties from the credit card companies. It’s therefore important for businesses to ensure that they are PCI compliant at all times, especially if they hand credit card data.

One of the most important audit standards is SOX compliance.[7] This stands for “Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002” and it demands that any company with over $10 million in assets or sales must produce an annual report, or ER. One of the mandates is to establish an internal control to keep track of risks and vulnerability to fraud, waste and abuse. There are many other mandates in the SOX standard to help protect a company and its stakeholders from fraudulent activities.

How to conduct an audit

When it comes to auditing your network security, there are a few key steps that you need to follow in order to get the most comprehensive results. Here’s a quick overview:

  1. Start by assessing your current security posture. This will help you to identify any weak spots that need to be addressed.
  2. Next, perform an audit on the devices that are being used to manage security. You need to know exactly how many of each type of device you have, what they do, and where they are. This step will help you to create a standardized configuration across your entire network.
  3. After creating a standard configuration for all of your devices, you can run vulnerability scans against them in order to see if any holes have been opened up due to lack of updates or new patches.
  4. Once everything has been inventoried and patched as needed, it’s time for another assessment so that you can see if the changes had the intended effect and whether there were any unexpected consequences.
  5. Finally, review your firewall and Active Directory settings to make sure that they are configured correctly.
  6. Rinse; repeat…

How often to do audits

How often should you do security audits? It depends on your organization’s risk level. If you’re dealing with sensitive data, you should probably be doing audits at least once a quarter. If your organization is less risky, you can get away with doing them every six months or even once a year. However, it’s always a good idea to be proactive and do audits more often than you need to. This way, you’ll catch any issues before they become a problem.


A security audit is an important component of network management. It’s also one of the most overlooked areas in many organizations. Without regular audits, you can’t be sure if your system is secure enough to protect data and meet compliance requirements. You don’t want to wait until there has been a breach before taking action. If you’re interested in learning more about our services or would like help with designing a custom security plan tailored specifically for your organization, contact us today!






[5] “In computing, hardening is usually the process of securing a system by reducing its surface of vulnerability, which is larger when a system performs more functions.”



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Press Release

Ingolstadt, Germany, February 22, 2022 – SAP security provider SecurityBridge—now operating in the U.S.,—today announced a partnership with Wisconsin-based 1st Basis SAP Services Group, (1st Basis). The partnership enables 1st Basis to provide SecurityBridge’s integrated SAP Security platform and services—the most advanced cybersecurity to SAP managed services, and S4HANA migration projects—to their customer base.

“It’s no secret that SAP often holds an organization’s crown jewels and needs to be given the utmost protection. However, according to the latest research 43% of data breaches are at the application layer and we are finding that this is the greatest area of weakness,” said Doug Pastrich, CEO of 1st Basis.

SecurityBridge provides the most advanced cyber-platform with real-time threat detection, vulnerability management, custom code scanning, and patch-management in a seamless one-stop-shop solution, built on a single technology layer. With real-time dashboards based on SAP Fiori, SecurityBridge provides actionable intelligence that can be relied upon to make critical security decisions.

“SecurityBridge provides the most comprehensive functionality and seamlessly integrates within the SAP technology stack. Its agile and holistic approach enables us to provide transformation and managed services very quickly and smoothly. 1st Basis will be building on our solid reputation of providing our clients with the utmost quality of managed services as security is becoming more urgent. With this partnership, we will provide significant speed to security in our ability to reduce the attack surface for our customers by utilizing the power of SecurityBridge,” added Pastrich.

“Threats against SAP systems are becoming more prevalent and more sophisticated. The most effective, proven approach is to combine constant real-time threat monitoring and vulnerability management into a holistic security process’’, said Christoph Nagy, CEO of SecurityBridge.

“The partnership with 1st Basis will be highly synergistic for both parties, as we see the increasing migration towards managed services for SAP clients. We value the expertise and excellent reputation that 1st Basis provides, and we look forward to an exciting year ahead.”

About Security Bridge

SecurityBridge is an SAP Security Platform provider, developing tools to extend the SAP ecosystem. The company takes a radically different approach to traditional security tools, believing SAP applications and custom code will be infiltrated no matter how diligently security hygiene is applied. In response to this belief, SecurityBridge created the world’s only natively integrated real-time solution for constant monitoring. Powered by anomaly detection, the SecurityBridge platform can differentiate between accurate results and false positives so that security teams can better focus on real issues. For more information, please visit

About 1st Basis

1st Basis Logo

Founded in 2006, 1st Basis provides affordable, high-quality SAP Basis managed services at SAP Best Practices standards. For over a decade, we have kept that promise. We leverage our unmatched expertise to keep our customers’ SAP systems secure, stable and highly available. For more information, please visit

Security Concerns with Zoom and SAP

This is a companion piece to our other post on TikTok and potential security concerns with SAP. The geopolitical background issues are the same. China has a history of corporate and other espionage and a history of inserting its interests into the affairs of corporate entities, even technically private ones, at home. It is also the world’s most developed surveillance state, and recently, it and the United States have been increasingly at odds on a variety of issues.

Unlike TikTok, Zoom is not headquartered in China. Its owner, Eric Yuan is originally from China, but moved to the United States in 1997.

The Rise of Zoom

As most people now know, Zoom has been one of the greatest beneficiaries of CoVid lockdowns, seeing an almost twentyfold rise in usage over the past year. People isolating to slow the spread of ‘the virus’ have flocked to the platform for social and work purposes. The subsequent discovery by many workers (and some businesses) that much of what they do doesn’t depend on their being on-site has contributed to its continued expansion. Lots of educational institutions and social services and primary medical services have adapted to employ video as well.

The ease with which Zoom can be accessed and its full but intuitive feature set have spurred its widespread adoption, but that same broad suite of functionalities and ease of access have made it a broad target for hackers and other online bad actors.

The Problematic History

There have been a series of security issues with Zoom that are, perhaps, not surprising given the nature of the platform. Early on, many people using the platform were declining to use the password option, which gave an opening to bombers and grifters to bust in to meetings and wreak havoc. In one infamous example, a major university’s graduation, held online because of CoVid, was interrupted with racial invectives. The platform has been used for information scraping, malware injection, password stealing, and just about anything else a hacker might want to do. At one point, Zoom partnered with a Chinese firm to generate cryptographic keys, which threw up warning signs among politicians and security experts. Additionally, Zoom agreed to de-platform several well-known Chinese dissidents at the request of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The list of exploits and possible vulnerabilities is very long, and you can read about them in depth in this excellent compilation at Tom’s Guide. The most problematic thing about Zoom, though, has been its lack of candor at times, for instance claiming to have inaugurated end-to-end encryption when it hadn’t done so. In response to various criticisms, Zoom has taken steps to mitigate its vulnerabilities, but very few of these steps seem, from an outside perspective, to have been taken proactively. A variety of alternatives to Zoom are available. If you share sensitive information on such a platform, you might be better off to look elsewhere until Zoom has established a more robust security track record, and this is probably more likely to be true of businesses that employ SAP services than those that do not. Zoom’s vulnerabilities make it not just problematic in view of the Chinese, but also corporate espionage, sabotage, and sundry black-hat exploits. As with TikTok, your vulnerability profile will depend entirely on the potential value of the information that you share to those who shouldn’t have it.

TikTok Security Concerns and SAP

Geo-Political Background

Recently, the Trump administration has kicked around the possibility of banning the use of TikTok in the United States. This comes against a backdrop of increasing tensions between the United States and China due to China’s emergence as a military and economic rival superpower, and exacerbated by what some in the West view as China’s military and economic expansionism against a backdrop of long-time institutional infiltration, technological and other espionage, and unfair trade practices. Recently, relations have been further strained by internal Chinese crackdowns on civil dissent, reneging on the conditions of its treaty with Great Britain regarding the status of Hong Kong, and what some (though not all) view as blame for not having blown the whistle earlier about CoVid-19, which has had devastating health, social, and economic consequences around the globe.

India, which has recently clashed with China above the disputed Galwan Valley between China and Indian-administered Kashmir, has banned the popular short-form video plus sound application. There have been rumors, though denied, that Australia and the Philippines might also follow suit. Both of those nations have been alarmed by Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea.

Does TikTok Pose a Danger?

Does the application pose a danger? It’s hard to say. Like most such applications, new versions often are filled with security issues that need to be patched, and TikTok does a comparatively decent job of doing so. The company that owns TiKTok, ByteDance, is headquartered in China, but not ‘owned’ by the government per se. ByteDance swears up and down that it would never convey any user information to the Chinese government, but the rights and responsibilities of ‘private’ corporations in China vis-a-vis the government are more . . . negotiable, let us say, there than they are in the West.

At present, there’s no reason to believe that TikTok collects any more information than other ‘free’ social media applications, such as Facebook and Twitter, which monetize metadata from their users to target ads and such, but following revelations of what Cambridge Analytica was able to infer from access to Facebook’s information during the 2016 election, there is some concern about how China might use such information for similar purposes (or worse) such as: wargaming, propaganda/disinformation and election meddling. We have already seen that they take a very aggressive line against their own citizens at home and abroad who use online platforms to criticize the government, and like the Russians they seem to be cultivating their own troll farms.

With Regard to SAP Users . . .

The problem here is that many SAP users are companies whose information is not only valuable to themselves, but potentially also to others. One of the things that TikTok was criticized for was maintaining access to clipboard information. They were criticized, when found not to have fixed the problem. They excused the delay by saying that there was a conflict with the spam filter. Theoretically, a government with access to such information might leverage it either through simple data mining or blackmail. A surveillance state such as China might exploit or introduce backdoor methods of accessing data on devices with the TikTok application, as they are said to have done with Huawei, their 5G cellphone network.

So there is no clear-cut answer on whether to prevent employees from using TikTok on devices that also might be used for work purposes. As a precaution, and partly because of the conflict, India has banned certain Chinese apps (including TikTok). The State Department would like Microsoft or some other US-based company to buy it. They have given a deadline before it is banned. For the moment, we advise caution.

How COVID-19 Is Affecting Tech

The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the lives of almost every American. With stay-at-home orders in place, and nonessential businesses closed, the internet has become the place where we work, shop, learn, worship, bank, communicate, and socialize. The demands of the COVID-19 crisis also translate into greater mechanization in laboratory testing, hospital settings, logistics and delivery. The need to secure databases and provide completely secure servers means that businesses will be investing in Enterprise Resource Planning and enhancing the landscapes already in use. Technology is already playing a huge role in keeping our society going; its importance will continue to grow when the pandemic is over.


Information Technology Services

Remote working has quickly become the norm around the country; now that we know it works, it may become more common even after the COVID-19 outbreak subsides. The demand for cloud infrastructure services, and specialized software will continue to grow as well. The hardware that supports it needs to be in place and the telecom systems must meet the demand. Businesses either need to develop their own top-flight in-house IT team, or they need to work with organizations that specialize in ERPs and SAP systems.  Most organizations do not have a dedicated IT department in place for a reliable business-continuity plan (BCP). Those that do have IT departments will need to supplement them with help from IT service providers in procuring devices, setting up a resilient, flexible and secure network, disaster recovery systems, and IT security.


Data Protection

In the current environment, more health providers are offering tele-health services. That, combined with the extraordinary numbers of people ordering online, as well as those registering for jobless claims, means that the need for data protection has never been greater. The recently published ABI Research report “taking Stock of COVID-19 ” notes the vast quantity of personal data available, and the danger that it could end up “in the hands of a few entities with no visibility, no legislative barriers, no surveillance limitations, and no biometric revocation options for the foreseeable future.” Governments and biometrics vendors are responsible for creating person-centered solutions and utilizing the proper security measures to prevent this.



One concern that has arisen with this pandemic lies in the area of biometrics. In general, biometric AI and ML algorithms are working well to protect networks and data. However, many governments have invested tremendously in biometrics in everything from passports to security clearances. Almost all rely, at least in part, on fingerprint recognition; that kind of physical contact poses an obvious health risk. There needs to be a shift away from contact-only applications and the likelihood is that facial and iris recognition will become the norm. This will create a myriad of additional problems “because a great deal of law enforcement, Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS)/Biometric Identification Systems (BIS), border control, visa and immigrations applications are also based on fingerprint identification” (ABI Research).


Supply Chains

One thing that this pandemic has demonstrated with painful consequences is our over dependence on foreign supply chains. With most of the manufacturing of hardware for technology concentrated in Asia (for instance with 5G phones) the results of the months-long lockdown there will be a delay in the launch of new smartphones and other upgraded devices. Supply chain constraints apply to the raw materials as well. At the same time, hardware companies may see major demand coming from businesses that are placing large orders for laptops and mobile devices to support employees now working from home. In order to create resilience in the supply chain, significant changes need to take place. Sourcing must become both more local and more diffuse. Instead of a couple of suppliers in China producing the majority of semiconductors, for instance, we should have a number of manufacturing plants throughout the U.S. producing them.


Now that the world has discovered that it is indeed possible to work remotely, and truly take advantage of the technology available, there’s no way to stuff that genie back into the bottle. In order to make sure that your business is ready for the world, post-pandemic, contact the experts at 1st Basis to remotely supplement your Basis resources during these trying times.

Online SAP Courses Offered Amidst Coronavirus Outbreak

SAP systems provide the highest quality integrated management system keeping your databases, financials, inventory, logistics, and other resources working smoothly and securely together. In order to optimize your use of the SAP systems, it’s wise to have your people expanding and refining their education in SAP offerings. With most of the country in lockdown and working from home, this is an ideal time for professional development. And SAP is assisting in this endeavor by making it easier than ever to access online learning.


The following content was originally sourced from an external website (SAP SE Newsroom) and is the copyright of the external website owner.

WALLDORF – 22/03/2020: SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced a new digital learning initiative offering innovative, interactive educational content to support students, professionals and anyone wishing to continue to learn during this challenging time.

“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are impacting everyone around the world,” said Christian Klein, co-CEO and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE. “We want to make sure education does not take a back seat during this time. Students and subject-matter experts need access to safe and healthy learning environments to continue their education virtually. SAP is expanding its commitment to support the next generation of professionals and users by broadening access to some of our best digital learning offerings to facilitate the continuity of innovation and enablement.”

This dynamic initiative is based on three educational pillars – massive open online courses (MOOCs), learning journeys for universities and the SAP Young Thinkers program – as part of SAP’s comprehensive learning and enablement program. SAP will respond and adjust to participant feedback and requirements to improve and adapt the courses continuously.


openSAP Is Open to Everybody.

The award-winning openSAP platform provides MOOCs to anyone interested in learning about leading technologies, the latest innovations and the digital economy. Course topics include automated robotic process automation, data science, machine learning, ethical artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), sustainability, Java programming and more.

Offered free of charge on the openSAP platform, these enterprise MOOCs use proven classroom learning concepts, including gamification and discussion forums with peers and experts, all delivered in an online format. Courses can be accessed without restriction, anytime, anywhere and from any device. Podcasts and micro-learning formats provide users with self-contained, bite-sized content that is easy to consume.

To register, you must be older than 16 years of age, but the courses themselves are suitable for learners of any age. To find out more, please visit


Free Learning Offering for University Students With System Access and Global Certification from SAP.

SAP provides 90-day access to four selected learning journeys for students interested in preparing digitally for a career in the SAP ecosystem and studying at one of the over 3,800 member universities in the SAP University Alliances program. Areas of study include scope and business processes specific to SAP S/4HANA, the SAP S/4HANA Cloud Finance solution, the SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central solution and modeling in SAP HANA.

The offering is specifically designed for students and is available for free. It includes various learning formats in multiple languages as well as free access to training systems for hands-on practice. These tools help students prepare for an exam to achieve SAP global certification from SAP on specific subjects. One exam attempt is included free. The package can be accessed here .


SAP Young Thinkers Program Available to Everyone.

To support students and teachers facing school closures and other disruptions, the learning courses in the SAP Young Thinkers program are available on one central, open-access website.

SAP Young Thinkers provides a foundation for digital literacy, inspiring the next generation to pursue careers in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) fields. Students and IT beginners can explore creative methodologies and technologies to help shape a better world.

For more information about the program or to register for the introductory course “Get Coding with SAP” please visit The SAP Young Thinkers program embraces a global network of engaged SAP employees and motivated partners. It offers learning opportunities for digitalization with a focus on computer science, economics and creative solution and learning methodologies targeting the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly.

How SAP and IT organizations are helping the 3.5 billion people without internet access.

For many of us, living without constant access to the internet is unimaginable. We use computers—in one form or another—constantly. But what about those who have minimal, if any, access to the internet? Those who have never even touched a computer? Nearly half of the world’s population—3.5 billion people—did not have regular access to the internet this year.

Welcome to the Digital Divide.

Developing countries face major challenges incorporating technology into their infrastructure (cost, political unrest and the inability to service remote areas; to name a few). As of this writing, every area that could easily be connected to the internet is connected, yet in more than 100 countries around the world, less than 50% of their inhabitants have regular access to the internet. Even when they are connected, they experience significantly slower speeds as well as lack of content relevant to their culture or even in their language since few of them can contribute to online media.

Bridging the Digital Divide on the global scale will be a game changer for many countries—connecting developing nations has shown a significant increase in their GDP. On the local scale, however, the divide is more troublesome for many individuals. In areas with less than half of the population online, many families and employers are accustomed to this way of living because so few of them have access. It is very different in countries where internet access is as essential as running water or electricity. You are expected, often required, to be online.

Think about everything the internet offers us—job opportunities, connections to friends and family, necessary communications for work or personal responsibilities, researching products, education, and so many other advantages . Now imagine not being able to access any of that while everyone else continues around you, expecting you to keep up or get left behind. This is the reality for 7 million Americans.

This divide is primarily caused by socioeconomic factors. Students whose families do not have reliable internet access, or a computer, face a much harder time completing their homeworkand are far less likely to do well in school. Individuals who cannot regularly use a computer are less likely to develop their computer skills to the level required by most employers. It is a vicious cycle making it increasingly difficult to escape poverty.

Several companies are stepping up their corporate citizenship efforts to help bridge the divide through free WiFi hotspots, affordable satellite connection initiatives in rural areas, and digital literacy training. Facebook, for instance, is fighting the global divide with their “Free Basics” program which provides free internet in 22 nations. However, it only offers access to about 20 websites— Facebook, of course, being one of them. SAP is also helping by providing CodeWeekprograms around the globe—offering accelerated courses tailored specifically to the technological needs and ability levels of CodeWeek locations, aiming to create economic stability through education.

But how can you get the most out of these skills and connections if you don’t have a computer? One local nonprofit set out to fill this gap by getting affordable, quality computers into the hands of those that need them the most.

Meet Digital Bridge.

Jeff Hanson, executive director of Digital Bridge, realized the extent of the digital divide on a volunteer trip to Kenya as a student at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). While setting up a lab for a local school, it became clear to him that many of the students had never even touched a computer.

Once back in Milwaukee, Hanson heard from many nonprofit organizations desperately searching for affordable computers to connect patrons with resources available through online searches such as jobs, affordable housing, medical care, or education opportunities. Even if they could obtain a used computer, the computers were typically outdated and slow. Digital Bridge began to bridge this divide between those with access to technology and those without by creating an easy way for anyone to donate computer equipment to be refurbished and directed to those in need.

“In Milwaukee, or other major cities, you’re expected to be using technology. If you don’t have a computer or you’re not sure how to use it, it is really going to be hard to function in our society [where] Technology is a necessity, not a privilege… Our biggest goal is that people or businesses should be able to donate a piece of technology as easily as they would donate a shirt, knowing that it can and will be reused.”—Jeff Hanson, Executive Director

As a member of the National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) they follow the highest standards of data security to ensure the protection of their donors’ information. All equipment is under constant supervision by access employees until it arrives in their secure location. Before any equipment leaves this area, all drives and asset tags are removed, and the entire drive is written over with new data. Any drive that fails the wipe or is not in perfect health is destroyed to ensure security. Digital Bridge makes it easy for you to make a difference with the peace of mind that your data will be securely wiped.

Computers are cleaned, tested, repaired and returned to out-of-box mode with a fresh OS.  Eligible nonprofits and individuals are able to choose from several options in their online store, allowing them a similar experience to traditional consumers.

This year alone, Digital Bridge has distributed more than600 computers and redirected 70,000 pounds of e-waste, creating a true bridge to those in need.

They have already helped many people but there is always more to be done. Poverty can be further diminished through access to technology. Think about everything that technology offers us—education, employment, searching for resources, connecting to family and friends… How powerful that can be! If you can reach it.