In today’s modern enterprise landscape, data is the lifeblood of modern organizations, and the secure exchange of information plays a critical role in maintaining data security and protecting connections between two end-points of a communication.

Enter SAP Secure Network Communications (SNC) — a comprehensive component of SAP’s technology stack dedicated to ensuring the integrity, confidentiality, and authenticity of your critical business data and driving Secure Network Communications-protected communications across existing systems.

In this article, we’ll discuss the key features and components of SAP SNC, how it drives efficient communication across the SAP network interface, and where our team of expert SAP consultants can come in to help.

What is SNC?

Secure Network Communications (SNC) is a fully integrated software layer in the SAP system architecture that offers a protected interface to connect the internal SAP server with an external security product. This external security product in the SAP System architecture allows users to implement additional security features not provided directly in SAP systems to strengthen security protection and ensure critical business data remains secure.

By providing an external security product at the application level, SNC allows users to facilitate secure connections between various components of their SAP system architecture, such as SAP GUI and the SAP Application Server, and protect the data communication paths between predefined client and server components.

SAP SNC Overview

SAP Secure Network Communications provides integrations between SAP NetWeaver Single Sign-On (SSO) or other external security products with an existing SAP system. SAP SNC configuration allows users to build more robust data communication paths between client and server components in their technical SAP landscape and leverage various interface protocols, including RFC and DIAG.

The Secure Network Communications platform in the SAP system also provides cryptographic algorithms that have been implemented by various security protocols and can be applied to data for improved data security and protection across the entire technical landscape.

Levels of Protection for the SAP SNC Module

With SAP Secure Network Communications (SNC), companies can leverage three different levels of security protection to protect their business data. Here’s a closer look at each level:

1) Authentication only

Authentication-only is the minimum protection level offered through Secure Network Communications. When using the authentication-only protection level, the SAP system verifies the identity of critical communication partners, ensuring proper user authentication for protected areas of the system.

2) Integrity protection

With the integrity protection level, the SAP system detects any data manipulation or changes that have occurred between the two end points of a communication.

3) Privacy protection

The privacy protection level involves the encryption of messages being transferred between systems and allows users to combine both integrity protection and privacy protection features in one place. This is the maximum level of protection offered by using SNC.

Key Components of SAP Secure Network Communications

Here are a few key components that make up the SAP SNC module:

Advanced data encryption

SAP Secure Network Communications (SNC) provides advanced data encryption protocols to protect critical business information and secure data in transit.

By leveraging data encryption features, companies can encrpyt and protect the data being exchanged between clients and internal SAP systems and ensure only authorized users have access to sensitive business data.

Secure authentication

With secure authentication methods and connections to Single Sign-On (SSO), Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols companies can ensure their data remains protected and only accessible for authorized users.

Connections with other data security and authentication protocols also verify the identity of users, components, and systems and ensure SNC protects the integrity of data as it moves across complex networks and the SAP system architecture.

Integration with other SAP solutions

SAP SNC provides pre-built integrations with other SAP solutions, like SAP NetWeaver, SAP Application Server PSE, and other SAP Business Suite applications, to ensure efficient communication across a company’s entire SAP landscape.

Centralized security and compliance

Organizations can use SNC to maintain data security and integrity, providing advanced auditing and logging capabilities to monitor system access attempts and track security-related issues.

SAP SNC also adheres to industry-specific security regulations, ensuring organizations maintain compliance with data privacy, security, and protection requirements even as they change over time.

Remote function call capabilities

Remote function call (RFC) capabilities are essential for SAP system integration, and SAP Secure Network Communications (SNC) ensure RFC communications are conducted properly and securely.

By leveraging secure RFC communications, organizations can prevent unauthorized access to data and remote functions, making it easier to maintain secure network communication and establish robust data security across their entire technical landscape.

Understanding SAP SNC Implementation

SAP SNC implementation is a complex process that requires close collaboration between security experts, SAP administrators, and IT teams. By following predefined steps and maintaining a proactive approach to security, organizations can ensure the integrity and confidentiality of data and communications within their SAP system.

Steps and considerations for implementing SAP SNC

Here’s a closer look at the main steps required for SAP SNC implementation:

1) Assessment and Planning

Before beginning the SAP SNC configuration process, users should assess their critical security requirements, identify the SAP systems that must be secured, and determine which existing communication channels and interfaces require additional protection.

2) Configuration and Installation

Once users ensure their SAP systems meet the technical prerequisites for the SAP SNC module, they will install the necessary SAP software components to their internal server.

System configuration tasks also include managing encryption methods, setting up security parameters, and establishing secure user authentication methods.

3) Key Pair Generation

With SAP SNC configuration, users can generate cryptographic key pairs for data encryption and digital signatures and store them in the SAP Cryptographic Library. The SAP Cryptographic Library storage makes it easier to authenticate key communication partners and protect critical business data in transit.

4) User Authentication Management

Organizations can then define and manage user roles and authorizations related to SAP SNC, ensuring only authorized users have access to encrypted communication channels.

5) Establish Secure Communication Channels

Once user authentication has been established, users can define secure communication channels by configuring SAP SNC for specific connections, such as RFC (Remote Function Call) and HTTP.

This way, organizations can ensure communication partners are properly authenticated and encrypted across systems.

6) Testing and Validation

In the next phase, users will conduct thorough testing to ensure their SAP SNC module functions correctly and securely. They will also verify that encrypted communications work as expected without compromising data integrity or authentication.

7) Training and Documentation

Users can create documentation for their SAP SNC implementation with the SNC SAP system component, including key configuration details and security policies.

Companies can also provide comprehensive training for administrators and users on secure communication practices, ensuring they understand the system and can operate it as expected.

8) Monitoring and Auditing

Once users have configured and tested their SAP SNC module, they can implement continuous security monitoring and auditing procedures to detect and respond to security incidents. This way, they can ensure security policies are enforced, and business processes are monitored properly over time.

9) Integration and Documentation

If a company’s SNC implementation involves collaboration with other SAP solutions, users must ensure proper integration and configuration between each system before continuing.

It’s also critical for companies to ensure their SAP SNC implementation adheres to industry-specific security standards and regulatory requirements, allowing users to maintain detailed implementation documentation and improve regulatory compliance.

10) Continual Support and Maintenance

Companies can leverage flexible and scalable capabilities to regularly update and maintain their SAP SNC module to address security vulnerabilities and adapt to changing security requirements and threats.

SNC also makes it easier than ever to establish backup and disaster recovery procedures for their systems, ensuring business continuity and integrity in the case of system failures or data loss over time.

Main Advantages of SAP Secure Network Communications

SAP SNC is a valuable tool used to help companies secure their critical SAP systems, protect sensitive data, and meet regulatory requirements while maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of their communications and information.

Here are the main advantages of SAP SNC for business users:

Data Security:

SAP SNC provides robust encryption and authentication mechanisms, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of data in transit. It also safeguards sensitive information from eavesdropping and tampering, protecting the organization’s intellectual property and facilitating better customer data management.

Compliance and Data Privacy:

By implementing SAP SNC, organizations can meet compliance requirements and data privacy regulations, enable organizations to protect personal and sensitive data, and reduce the risk of regulatory fines and reputational damage.

Protection against Cyber Threats:

SAP SNC acts as a shield against cyber threats and malicious actors, preventing unauthorized access to SAP systems and making it more challenging for hackers to breach the organization’s network and steal critical information.

Secure Remote Communication:

The SAP SNC module ensures secure remote communications, including RFC (Remote Function Call) connections. This is especially valuable for organizations with distributed or remote teams, as it allows secure access to SAP systems from various locations.

Trust and Reliability:

Implementing SAP SNC enhances the trustworthiness and reliability of an SAP system. It assures partners and customers that their data is handled carefully, fostering stronger business relationships and trust in the organization’s commitment to security.

How Can We Help?

Whether you need help facilitating secure communication between two SNC-protected components, additional support maintaining data security as system requirements change over time, or just a hand navigating integrations between SNC and other areas of your SAP system, Surety Systems can help.

Our senior-level, US-based SAP consultant team has the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to handle all your most important project needs, improve connections across systems, and maximize your overall investment across the board.

Partnering with the Best

Interested in learning how valid SAP Server SNC PSE functionality can enhance data security and protect operational integrity across the application server? Ready to get started on a project with our expert SAP consultants?

Contact us today for more information!