One cyberattack in the SAP landscape can cost millions of dollars for the company. The worrisome part is that despite a security operations team, most cyber threats go undetected in the SAP systems. To put this into context, imagine a manufacturing company is using SAP to host highly confidential information like customer information, supplier details, financial records, bank data, and intellectual property. One fine day, it discovers that its SAP systems fall prey to an identity fraud where the cybercriminals have successfully managed to deceive the employees into transferring funds to offshore bank accounts. But before it could take any proper corrective actions, it was already late. Due to this breach, the business faced massive losses and eventually had to cease all its operations.

This is why carrying out an SAP security audit is paramount for running the SAP infrastructure effectively to ensure zero security violations and compliance. Let’s deconstruct the world of the SAP security audit in great depth. But before that, let us explain what an SAP security audit is.

Secure Risk-proof: Introducing SAP Security Audit

SAP security audit refers to a systemic and independent assessment of the company’s SAP environment, encompassing systems, processes, data, and controls. The reasons for conducting an SAP audit include detecting potential risks, gaping holes, and improvement areas as well as analyzing the efficiency of SAP-related activities.

Taking a Closer Look at the Components of the SAP Security Audit

Security Audit Log and Read Access Logging are the two core security elements of the ABAP platforms.

Read Access Logging

Read Access Logging (RAL) is used to monitor, and log read access to sensitive data. This data may be categorized as sensitive by law, by external company policy, or by internal company policy. The following typical questions might be of interest for an application that uses Read Access Logging:

Read access logging evaluates and monitors highly sensitive data. Data can either be categorized as sensitive by external company policy or internal policy. Following questions are asked during Read Access Logging:

  • Who has accessed the data of a particular organization?
  • Who has accessed private data?
  • Who has accessed employee’s personal information?
  • Which business/personal accounts have been accessed by the users?

Purpose of Read Access Logging

Enabling read access logging helps companies comply with changing public standards and legal regulations, especially for data privacy. This is because some countries have data privacy laws that mandate reporting access to personal data. Sometimes, industries that deal with sensitive data like government, banking, and healthcare need to check who has accessed what data. Without any log, it becomes difficult to trace the person who is responsible for data leakage to external sources. For these reasons, read access logging should be implemented as they offer this information. In addition, they help organizations comply with other legal obligations, assess fraud and data theft, and facilitate auditing.

Security Audit Log

The SAP security audit log is a tool designed for auditors who need to take a detailed look at what occurs in the SAP system. By activating the audit log, you keep a record of those activities you consider relevant for auditing.

The main objective of the audit log is to record the following:

This tool is specifically built for auditors to give them a complete 360- degree view of the activities that take place within SAP systems. An audit log helps to record

  • Security-related modifications in the SAP environment
  • Classified and confidential information
  • Information that includes reconstruction of a series of events

How is the Audit Security Log Prepared?

The log stores security-related events in SAP Netweaver Application Server (AS) ABAP-based systems. How does the log determine which information should be stored in the audit record? Well. The audit log enables a series of filters that are retained in a control block. Whenever an event takes place that matches with the filter, the log produces an audit message and then records it to the audit record. This alert can also be passed down to the Computing Center Management System (CCMS) alert monitor or an external tool via the API. The key details of this event are recorded in the audit analysis report of the log.

Audit Analysis Report

By enabling the audit analysis report, organizations get a comprehensive view of the audited activities. They can assess the events that took place in the SAP systems and in the host servers of the ABAP systems.

Security Alerts

The audit log sends security alerts to the CCMS alert monitor or to an external API.

Security Alerts in the CCMS Alert Monitor

As the security audit log tracks events, it also prompts a security alert in the CCMS alert monitor. While monitoring these security alerts, companies can detect security problem areas in the systems. By enabling the on-alert action to fix the alert, teams can refer to the audit log files for gathering information on the specific event that triggered the alert.

Accessing Security Alerts via API

To enable other applications to access the security audit log, we provide the class CL_SAL_ALERT_API. Auditors get to access the applications with CL_SAL_ALERT_API to assess the system. They even use CL_SAL_ALERT_API to also remove files and entries that are not required.

SAP Audit Information System (SAIS)

With SAP Audit Information System, the information is provided in the audit information structure that helps to define which activities are yet to be executed or have already been executed. Note that the SAIS is specifically created for business and system audits. The SAP AIS systems perform the following operations:

  • Auditing documentation and processes
  • Auditing evaluations
  • Auditing data downloads

How Does Audit Logging Work for  SAP HANA?

Since SAP HANA forms the core component of the SAP S/4HANA systems, it needs to be included in the audit. By employing robust auditing mechanisms of SAP HANA, companies can monitor activities and actions executed in SAP HANA systems.

SAP HANA Database

By facilitating SAP HANA database instances, audit logs are stated in an internal database table to ensure complete data privacy. The auditing feature can also be utilized to track crucial security events in customer systems.

Data Lake in SAP HANA Cloud

In the case of managed lake relational engine instances, the auditing feature of SAP HANA can help in logging the data access. Whereas, in the scenario of standalone data lake regional engine instances, a file container is deployed to save auditing and diagnostic log files.

How Does SAP Cloud Security Services Fortify the Auditing Process?

The SAP Cloud Security services help to conduct regular audits of cloud storage permissions and configurations to ensure they are in sync with the best practices. Especially, in the case of data exfiltration. This holistic SAP cloud security suite also helps in managing and monitoring the data backups that are encrypted and kept in a secured location. Furthermore, it sees if the steps involved in the incident response plan have been followed and have successfully contained the security or data breach.

Outlining the Best Practices for SAP Security Audit

Collect and Assess Data for the  SAP Audit

Organizations need to collect the data related to their SAP environment including user access rights, transaction data, and system configuration settings. This is why it’s important to enable a structured approach to data gathering.

Check the Effectiveness of Company’s Internal Controls

To evaluate the effectiveness of the company’s internal controls, it is critical to review policies, systems, and procedures to mitigate risks and ensure continuous security and compliance.

Assess the Efficiency of Segregation of Duties

To evaluate the efficacy of the segregation of duties, teams should assess user rights, responsibilities, and roles within the SAP systems to ensure that the checks and balances are implemented correctly. This includes examining access controls, role assignments, approval workflows, and historical data to detect any events of unauthorized access.

Evaluating Existing Data Security Policies

While assessing data security, be mindful of password policies, encryption, network security, and monitoring and logging security events. At the same time, enable continuous monitoring of the organization’s incident response and DR policies.

Assessing Compliance

Check if the company’s compliance policies abide by global industry standards and data privacy laws like the General Protection Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and industry-specific standards like Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)

Best-in-class SAP Audit Tools

Point of Difference SAP Audit Tools
SAP Solution Manager Offers a centralized platform for overseeing the SAP environment that comprises monitoring, optimizing, and auditing techniques.
SAP Access Control Monitors access and authorization controls in the SAP environments.
SAP Process Control Manages and monitors SAP business processes ensuring they are secured and compliant.

Leave it to the Experts! Secure Your SAP Environments with Cloud4C

Managing and monitoring an SAP landscape can be a tedious, burdensome, and grueling task. An SAP Managed Services Partner will help in monitoring the health of the SAP applications and the systems to ensure availability and integrity. Not only this, but they will assist in building a strategy to remediate the vulnerabilities in the SAP systems depending on the requirements and the budgets of the company.

Cloud4C, one of the leading cloud-managed services providers, helps to implement SAP security services like Security Assessment and Remediation, Security Architecture Design and Implementation, and Central User Administration (CUA) Systems. We take care of establishing other security features like vulnerability assessment and management, security planning, endpoint security, perimeter security, single sign-on and security information, and event management (SIEM). Our SAP security services cover risk profiles in SAP environments. Based on this, we carry out the internal audit and risk assessments and utilize the results to prepare the right strategy to make the SAP landscape secure and risk-proof.

To know more about SAP security solutions and services, visit the website or get in touch with us today.

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Team Cloud4C
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Team Cloud4C

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