While layers of security were built around on-prem SAP systems to fortify the digital fortress, things took a massive U-turn right after the pandemic. Businesses, big and small, quickly migrated to a distributed hybrid cloud model to sail strong through unpredictable market changes and steer their digital transformation journey. But when companies prioritize speed over security in their business transformation roadmap, cyberattacks are bound to happen.  As a result of this aggressive move to cloud and digitalization, businesses often did not implement SAP security best practices. In an effort to grow fast and limit disruption, they created vulnerabilities in their core operations. With SAP slowly becoming a Pandora’s box, cybercriminals have not left any stone unturned to launch sophisticated attacks, ranging in complexity and size. If that’s not all, 64% of enterprises have faced at least one major breach in their SAP critical systems within last 12 months. The business impact of SAP breaches can be as far-reaching as the hackers having full control over critical data and processes and crashing an entire organization to the ground.

So, what are the best, cost-effective approaches to safeguard SAP systems against malicious threat actors and integrate them with enterprise cyber control measures? Deep dive into the blog to learn about the SAP security environment, strategies, technologies, tools, and best practices.

Exploring SAP Security Environment

SAP Security solutions are specifically designed to secure a company’s data and system by enabling internal and external access controls. By deploying an array of tools and procedures, SAP security management encompasses all aspects of security management including secure server configuration, leveraging security logs, mapping system communications, and monitoring user authorizations.   Added to this is another layer of secure code that involves overseeing SAP code and security in custom code. For any enterprise using SAP applications, safeguarding data, resources, and processes should be of paramount importance. In short, SAP security management should not be kept in a backseat!

SAP Security Models: Uncompromised Security, Uncompromised Resilience

SAP Security Models comprise a set of processes that are responsible for detecting, analyzing, and deploying security policies for risk-proofing operations and enterprise assets powered by SAP. . Given below are 6 SAP Security Models:

SAP Identity Management

This model ensures that only authenticated and authorized users get access to systems by granting them confidential access rights. Companies deploy this model to assign appropriate roles to the users and manage their overall accounts, passwords, and user authorization.

SAP Access Control

Organizations can implement access governance policies to enable total compliance with access control regulations and laws.

SAP Risk Management

Companies can detect potential security threats by analyzing system weaknesses, reporting their impact, and creating strong defense mechanisms against threat actors. At the same time, this model ensures that the existing as well as the new security measures function as expected.

SAP Authorization and Auditing

Under this model, enterprises can assign privileges and authorize users to access SAP applications and systems. In addition, auditing ensures that these access privileges are documented and monitored on a timely basis.

SAP Security Monitoring

Watches out for any suspicious activity within the SAP systems by identifying data modifications and unauthorized log in attempts.

 SAP Security Logging

The Security Audit Log offers a round-the-clock view into the events occurring within the SAP systems that are crucial to security. At the same time, it allows organizations to monitor users with rigorous authorizations. Auditing ensures that organizations facilitate compliance with its internal security regulations and external laws.

Decoding the Elements of SAP Security Management

Due to the interconnected nature of SAP systems, managing security can be a hard nut to crack. Here is an easy and a detailed version of the components involved in SAP Security infrastructure.


A STAD Data can safeguard organizations against unwanted transaction access. It basically keeps a record of which users accessed what systems and at what time. Using STAD data can help in monitoring, auditing, and maintaining the security of the SAP systems.

Cryptographic Library

With SAP Cryptographic Library, companies can integrate different SAP server applications through establishing Secure Network Communication systems. This is because SNC helps companies deploy additional security measures offered by a security product that typically does not come with the SAP systems.

Internet Transaction Server (ITS)

ITS makes SAP applications readily accessible through a web browser. This middleware component can help run the Agate and Wgate on different hosts. Usually, the Wgate gets requests from the Web browser and sends them to Agate through a TCP/IP connection. The Agate, on the other hand, sends this request to the SAP systems.

Network Ports

SAP helps in the deployment of distinct SAP security tools like Firewalls, DMZ, SAPRouter, and Network Ports. By deploying SAPRouter and SAP Web Dispatcher, organizations can filter the SAP network traffic.

Enterprise Portal Security

By deploying a security technique like the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), the server and the client can enable an encrypted connection. By establishing encryption measures, companies can verify the parties (client and server) with SSL. Data that is sent between the client and server is highly protected as it strictly follows the protocols of the enterprise portal.

Single Sign-On

Using a single sign-on, IT teams can configure the same user details with different SAP applications. It not only reduces administrative costs and security risks but ensures data confidentiality through encryption.

AIS (Audit Information System)

This auditing software helps organizations conduct business and system audits to delve deep into the security posture of the SAP systems.

4 Stages of SAP Security Management

Attune your Security Setting with the Company Guidelines

The security standards for SAP environments should be in sync with the company standards with regards to who can have access to data and what data needs to be protected. Organizations should make sure that they implement basic security controls like creating usernames/passwords or limiting access to a particular database after it has undergone failed password trials.

Keep a Note of the Contingencies

In case of any potential security problems, network administrations should be allowed to remove or change privileges from other SAP systems and applications.

Review and Housekeeping with Due Diligence

Updating frequent changes to security access lists can make them prone to errors. This is why it’s mandatory to monitor this access list to ensure good housekeeping

Leverage High-performing SAP Security Tools

By deploying automated security technologies, organizations can monitor and detect vulnerabilities in SAP systems and processes in real-time. For instance, implementing Symmetry Access Control Suite helps examine SAP risks, manage access controls, solve segregation of duties issues and manage SAP software access. This comprehensive SAP security management helps companies sail through compliance and data breaches. The security reports generated are in strict compliance with standards like SOX, GDPR, PCI DSS, HIPAA, CIJS and more.

How SAP Security Solutions Operates?

Given below are 6 SAP security measures to harden a SAP environment:


The longer the SAP systems stay unpatched, the wider the security gaps will become. For this reason, it is imperative for companies to update their SAP systems and enable patching consistently. With patch management in place, organizations can detect, categorize, and deploy software patches or updates to combat security vulnerabilities within the SAP systems. In this way, timely patching helps companies maintain integrity and resilience across their business operations.

Transaction Monitoring

Authorization assignment plays a critical part in transaction monitoring as it helps in limiting the use of transactions. At the same time, transaction executions, SAP reports, and RFC models should be tracked regularly in real-time. In addition, external access to SAP systems via interfaces should also be monitored.

Code Security Management

Usually, developers look after ABAP code security. To elaborate more, the coding that is assembled in transports is sent from the development to the production systems without undergoing a detailed analysis of the coding. This opens the way for code injections - a security attack that takes place in the SAP environments. What hackers do is manipulate the transports to inject a highly malicious program into the SAP applications, going undetected and untraced.  Based on this, SAP comes with a code inspector that deploys features like Code Vulnerability Analyzer to assess the coding.

Security Settings

Did you know that only 5% of the files remain protected? The SAP system needs to comply with specific standards for system settings, which are laid down in the SAP Basis operating manual. This operating manual outlines how organizations can implement security standards in the SAP systems, grant or deny access, and define the communication paths for SAP systems. Each layer of the SAP including the database, operating system, and application system needs to be accurately configured with these security settings.

RFC Firewalls

RFC can be defined as an SAP internal firewall that requires to be configured properly to prevent unauthorized remote access from applications and systems. The configuration settings and test catalogs are coherently jotted down in the SAP best practices framework.

SAP Audit Logs

The SAP Security Audit Log (SM20) comprises an assortment of security and audit events. It stores read and write access for exclusive reports, programs, and transactions, thus helping companies to meet guidelines under the EU Data Protection Laws such as GDPR, DS-GVO, and so on and so forth. On top of this, the log helps to also monitor access to SAP within an appropriate set of rules.

Ensuring Security During S/4HANA Migration

Organizations can achieve a risk-proof, fail-safe S/4HANA Migration by implementing these 4 steps:

Benchmarking data:

This includes assessing existing usage data from SAP ECC during brownfield migration so that the projected data usage within S/4HANA can be calculated.

Syncing usage data:

Though S/4HANA transaction code changes, aligning usage data can help to define the business process designs, especially for those processes that need to be retained.

Deploying Assess standard roles:

SAP has developed 170 standard roles that define critical access and SoD risks. So, be it a brownfield or greenfield migration, analyzing the 170 standard roles within S/4HANA is crucial to meet the required access needs and diminish risks.

Managing SAP Fiori:

Since Fiori has emerged as the new user interface, embedding the security measures of S/4HANA migration into this interface remains a challenge. While creating roles for the back-end, user interface security should be managed and monitored.

Formulating the Best Practices for SAP Security Infrastructure

Emphasizing the vulnerability management program

Threat actors are evolving and so are their modes of attack. They have the potential to infiltrate into your system configurations, custom code, and missing patches and access SAP systems. Identifying and remediating security threats can safeguard the SAP environment.

Investing in application security testing

By making security checks an integral part of the SAP development and management procedures, issues can be fixed before they go to production. This not only helps to reduce costs but lessens the negative impact on compliance, security posture, availability, and performance.

Making continuous monitoring a practice

Since SAP is a hotspot for malactors, it is imperative to keep track of unauthorized access, misuse, suspicious activities, and attack indicators.

Gaining end-to-end visibility into access risks

Gaining complete visibility into access risks can enable organizations to implement data-driven decisions for remediation.

Deploying an Integrated Identity Platform

To enforce SAP IAM, organizations need to first invest in an integrated platform with commons governance procedures that helps to draft a very detailed Segregation of duties (SOD) to meet the evolving business, security, and compliance requirements.

Implementing access governance processes

Firefighter, recertifications, and JML- these should be easy to establish, monitor, and maintain as users in most cases, will oversee the overall governance process.

Focusing on Operating System

One of the common mistakes that SAP customers often make is they mostly invest their efforts in bolstering the security measures of their applications. But what about the infrastructure on which this application is hosted?  To strengthen the overall SAP landscape, the highest standards of security should be consistently applied to both the infrastructure and application layers.

Embedding security into S/4 HANA project from scratch

Neglecting or overlooking security during the early stages of S/4HANA conversion will lead to highly expensive remediation projects in the later run. Adding security measures and controls into the migration project from day one can save the companies from incurring such huge expenses.

SAP Security Management Will Not be a Concern Anymore! Opt for Cloud4C

It’s a do-and-die situation when it comes to securing the SAP Landscape. What does it mean? With SAP becoming more prone to evolving security threats, risks, and compliance regulations, most organizations grapple with poor remediation audit results and implementing continuous monitoring and prompt incident response management. Collaborating with a SAP managed security services partner can make the implementation of SAP security services an easy ride. Not only do they offer cutting-edge protection and risk migration solutions, but they save enterprises from burning a hole in their pockets and maximizing great value from security investments.

Cloud4C, a leading managed services provider, offers an array of advanced SAP services and solutions that empower successful and future-ready business transformations. This integrated SAP solution suite comes with security capabilities and features like Security Assessment and Remediation, Security Architecture Design and Implementation, and Central User Administration (CUA) Systems. Cloud4C’s SAP security services and compliance experts work as an extended, taking care of all the compliance and audit requirements while letting the organizations focus on key strategic areas. Not only that, our MDR, Managed SOC, ATP, Threat Intelligence, Security Automation, and Compliance-as-a-Service services along with the Self-Healing Platform (SHOP) help businesses protect their IT landscape from persisting threats.

To gain a detailed insight into our SAP security services, get in touch with our representative today or visit our website.

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Team Cloud4C
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Team Cloud4C

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