The procedure is well-known at SMEs and large companies: Every year, the auditor comes around for the IT audit, which is carried out as part of the annual overall review. The general objective is to ensure the security and integrity of the audited system (usually the SAP system used for accounting) and to identify potential risks. A management letter then describes follow-up measures to mitigate these risks in future. But does this approach still make sense today?
Wherever electricity is flowing through a cable or data is being transmitted over a fiber optics cable, HellermannTyton products are never far away. Over the last 85 years, the company has developed into a leading global provider of cable management solutions and is on track to continue this growth both nationally and internationally. This expansion is also reflected in its SAP systems and authorizations, which have grown alongside its success. Today, systems with this level of complexity are expected – internally and externally – to comply with strict requirements.
The authorization structures at many companies have grown organically. Over the course of time, users have often been granted wider authorization privileges than they actually need for their everyday work. As a result, data availability and integrity, as well as system availability, can be critically endangered. Authorization managers see an increasing need for action to minimize the risk of SAP security incidents. After all, many more IT incidents still remain unreported compared to published cases.
Companies all over the world rely on SAP as their central enterprise software suite. That’s why it’s becoming ever more important for them to protect these SAP systems, along with the enterprise values they contain, with a professional cybersecurity and access governance strategy. Many international companies already trust the SAST SUITE to help them manage their international rollouts, and for good reason.
One of our long-standing customers, the largest forklift manufacturer in Europe, uses the SAST SUITE for its SAP authorization management alongside a variety of IT services from akquinet AG. As part of a compliance project, the SAST Consulting team was commissioned to redesign and re-engineer all SAP authorizations for nearly 900 users in Germany. In this guest commentary from Sascha Heckmann, together with external SAP consultant Bernhard Radermacher, he tells how the “Ticket Monitor” a custom-developed add-on for the tried and tested SAST Safe Go-Live Management helped the project become a full success.
Companies that use SAP are required to describe controls and procedures in documents that reflect the current status of the system and the general compliance guidelines. The concepts for framework and application authorizations are essential elements of this documentation, for both internal requirements and annual reviews by external auditors. Good documentation templates can help get you where you need to go much more quickly.
It is well known that SAP systems present an attractive target for hackers and manipulators. After all, SAP systems gather all the sensitive company data in one place, making it all the more important to protect them against unauthorized access. In addition to conventional measures for improving SAP security and compliance, this includes extensive anti-virus protection adapted specifically to the requirements of SAP systems.
Berliner Wasserbetriebe, Berlin’s water supply and wastewater disposal company, is a public institution and is therefore subject to special legal requirements. High security standards apply to both business processes and its IT operations. As a consequence, setting up transparent SAP authorization management company-wide to meet all of these requirements was one of the water company’s most critical tasks.
To secure and encrypt customer networks, SAP offers the SNC (Secure Network Communications) interface with which users can log in to SAP systems without having to enter a user name or password. In the standard system, SAP login credentials are transmitted in clear text. The SNC interface routes calls through the SAP Cryptographic Library, to encrypt all communications between the SAP GUI and the SAP server. This enables secure individual logins for SAP.
Structured security planning and streamlined authorizations are just two elements of protecting SAP systems against cyberattacks and manipulation. In this interview, Ralf Kempf (CTO SAST SOLUTIONS at akquinet AG) talks about the pitfalls to avoid during an SAP S/4HANA migration and what you can do to use SAP S/4HANA securely.