SAP Security - secure data protection

SAP securityA thorough understanding of SAP Security is important in order to understand the software and to fulfill the underlying promise of data security.

The best way to find out about SAP security is to read the documentation provided by the company. For many of those involved in the company, however, this is too time-consuming, especially without direct contact with SAP Security.

An overview of the most important aspects of SAP security is therefore a good start and is sufficient for some users: Which aspects make a SAP system secure? What is actually meant by SAP security?

What is SAP Security?


SAP Security is a system to protect SAP data and applications from unauthorized access and use. SAP offers a range of security checks to ensure that this data is protected. SAP Security ensures that the SAP functions are only used by users who are doing their job. SAP systems store sensitive and confidential information from customers and companies. Regular audits of the SAP systems are necessary to ensure the integrity and security of the data. This also applies to the processes and distribution of areas of responsibility: For example, an employee in a warehouse who is responsible for creating orders is not allowed to approve them. However, he can create and process as many orders as he wants. In this example, however, orders should be approved by a manager or other employee with a corresponding area of ​​responsibility - who are then not allowed to create orders, for example. This way of dividing areas of responsibility and correspondingly assigned activity restrictions is a standard security feature that can also be found in SAP Security, for example through SAP ACL. However, SAP Security goes far beyond that and also affects, for example, technical aspects of encryption, the deactivation of unnecessary network ports or the introduction of a security policy. For all of this, one thing is needed above all: specialist staff and trained employees.

SAP training with a focus on security


The diversity of SAP software is reflected in the further education and training options: One SAP training is usually module and level-specific, for example for users or consultants, for the SAP FI module or for the area of ​​SAP security. Large companies often have several employees who are responsible for a single module or a task in SAP. Example SAP FI: The module for financial accounting. This is where the company's balance sheets are drawn up. As a rule, there is at least one responsible person per country who must be familiar with all economic laws. In large companies, SAP LE / LES Logistics is a complex module that many employees are also often working on. Even in the area of ​​SAP security, medium-sized companies should already have a dedicated employee.

How SAP's Privacy Framework protects company data

SAP uses various security controls and ISO certifications in the development of cloud-based products. The three levels of the data protection framework encompass the basics, best practices, data protection and transparency. However, the use of SAP ERP in the company does not bring data security and data protection with it - there are simply too many interfaces that are outside the reach of SAP and that must be protected by the company itself as part of the system integration:

Encryption of data traffic

For example, SAP does not currently secure all communications between SAP systems and clients. This makes the data transmitted in SAP networks insecure and susceptible to eavesdropping measures. In particular, data transfers within the SAP networks are not protected by strong encryption. For this reason, it is recommended to switch to HTTPS / SSL for the connection between heterogeneous environments or Secure Network Communication (SNC) to use. SNC is a standard protocol for secure network communication that runs natively under Windows. It secures your connections between heterogeneous environments. In addition, web-based communication should be secured by secure protocols and users should use the latest versions of the SAP GUI with customized security settings and security rules.

Deactivation of unnecessary ports in the network

In addition to encryption, SAP also recommends deactivating unnecessary network ports and blocking connections between ABAP systems and end-user networks. In addition, administrative access should only be permitted via secure protocols. In addition, administrative access should be restricted to workstations and dedicated subnets. Finally, make sure that SAP GUI is running on 7.10 or 7.20 (as of January 2022) and that the security settings are activated.

Why is SAP ACL important for security?

Large amounts of sensitive data are stored in SAP systems. Employees must have access to all of the data they need to do their jobs, but they shouldn't be able to access all of the data in the system. This can create problems if employees accidentally access data that they should not be able to access. It can also pose a risk if someone maliciously or unauthorized gain access to the information. There is also a risk of data leakage or fraud. In addition, there is always the possibility that an employee could inadvertently gain access to sensitive information. It is important to protect this information from violations to ensure that the system stays up-to-date and secure:

The use of so-called ACLs (Access Control Lists) is therefore crucial for the protection of company data in a SAP system: An access control list is used to manage and restrict access to the SAP systems. It enables access to the relevant databases to be restricted. Organizations should never assign root or administrator rights to unauthorized users. In addition, access to technical SAP components should be restricted to authorized persons. This prevents attackers from accessing sensitive data by misusing an account with an unnecessarily large number of computers. In addition, an access control list should be used to completely exclude unauthorized users from operating the SAP systems and servers.

Introduction of security guidelines

Configuring secure network communication using a standard SAP configuration is the best way to ensure data security. In general, as part of SAP Security, a company should also introduce security guidelines and configurations that particularly take human factors into account: This means, for example, that the minimum length and strength of the password and the number of unsuccessful attempts allowed for a user are specified. The introduction of generic SAP user accounts also improves data security: It is particularly important to seal the user identities before distribution and to update them regularly. Some companies renew their identities daily or before each new login - and thus prevent a leak in the access data, for example because employees write down the data or Password manager to use. In addition to these simple measures, training courses on SAP security or corporate security are also an extremely useful instrument for establishing a strong and comprehensive security policy - which then also includes aspects such as social engineering and similar human-focused techniques that can lead to a security risk.

About Kevin Seeberger

Kevin Seeberger is a graduate economist with a focus on e-commerce & marketing. He takes care of various topics related to computer security, cryptocurrencies and reviews.

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