Thursday, May 29, 2014

Common SAP BusinessObjects Security Mistakes - Securing Content

SAP BusinessObjects security consulting

By Rick Epstein
ResolvIT Inc.

This post continues the list of common security mistakes begun in my earlier post, Abuse of the Everyone Group.

Content is an asset. It has value for your organization, is frequently subject to regulatory compliance requirements, and can cause damage to your organization if it falls into the wrong hands. Securing content requires your utmost attention.

Mistake #4: Not securing all content within the CMC
You should be able to have confidence that any user logging in to the CMC can only see what you want them to see, and perform only those actions you want them to perform.

Mistake # 5: Setting explicit denials
There may be a place for explicit denials somewhere in your security model, but as a rule, you should avoid them like the plague. They are just too difficult to document. Once you set explicit denials, undoing them can be difficult. It's very difficult to know what unintended consequences you've unleashed through the cascading effects of explicit denials.

Mistake #6: Breaking inheritance without a clear plan and good documentation of such
Users will potentially have new rights which are not controllable from a higher folder and/or group level. An administrator would likely not be aware that this situation exists and would mistakenly think that content is secure. In other words, if there is a parent folder which has subfolders and the parent folder has inheritance broken, that folder and its subfolders will have a set of permissions that are likely not consistent with all desired security settings and certainly different from those on folders levels above them.

Mistake #7: Not knowing who has rights to what content and what a user can do with that content
What if granular rights have been set? What if explicit denials have been used? What if inheritance has been broken? Any one or more of these leads to confusion and not only makes maintenance difficult but makes it nearly impossible to know who can see and do what. Ask yourself, "What is the summation of all rights for this user on this object?"

Are you aware of other common security mistakes, or do you have questions about what is written here? Use the Comments section for this post, or email me directly at

More common mistakes in my next post.

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