Many businesses focus on the most severe cyber threats, those that make the news. Businesses, however, need to consider all potential threats and vulnerabilities and ensure management has a strategy in place to secure their IT environment.
SAP, the world’s leading enterprise resource planning software, is widely used in business. Understanding roles and authorizations in SAP is critical to maintaining a secure environment for your business.
SAP System Authorization
A critical tenet of SAP security is the System Authorization Concept that ensures the system can handle all transactions and programs without creating any security risks for the business in question. Users are only allowed to execute programs within the SAP environment if they have been given specific permissions or access.
Such a structure ensures that only those who require specific access are provided with those permissions. By limiting the information and tools each employee can access, companies ensure a tighter net around their most vital transactions, data, programs, and other sensitive information.
Implementing authorizations within the SAP environment is done by creating users and roles, which we explain in more detail below.
Users and Roles
You can grant several roles to your various employees within the SAP Environment. These include the dialog user, service user, system user, reference user, and communications user.
Each role provides a specific level of access within the SAP environment. For instance, dialog users receive access to the interactive system that enables them to handle client work. A service user, in contrast, may only receive access to the system to handle a specific task or workflow. They would have much more limited access to the various files and programs within the environment.
Authorizations differ slightly from roles, as they may govern whether specific employees can access or edit particular files or datasets. Authorizations can be given out in several ways, including standard authorization and analysis authorizations. Employees performing more in-depth data gathering and analysis for the company would require analysis authorizations.
IT workers must continuously maintain user roles and authorizations in the SAP environment. Role maintenance ensures that new employees promptly get relevant access and that existing hires can swiftly access various systems if their workflows or tasks change.
Proper role maintenance also involves a periodic assessment of everyone at the company. Businesses need to ask: Are there employees who may have access to systems that are no longer a part of their workflow? While businesses are often quick to give employees more access as needed, removing access when an employee no longer needs to use specific data or programs often lags.
Continuous Employee Training
Roles and authorizations are a constructive way to compartmentalize a company’s digital infrastructure. Rather than providing every employee with unfettered access to your systems, files, programs, and other digital tools, you can segment access effortlessly within the SAP environment.
Even the best segmentation, however, can develop cracks if your employees are not careful. You mitigate many risks by ensuring employees only have “need-to-know” access to your most important files and systems, but you still need to educate them about avoiding cyber attacks.
For instance, a business must provide training to new hires and continued learning sessions for existing employees about cyber threats. Companies should ensure their employees can identify scams such as phishing, as these are often the simplest and most effective ways for hackers to access a company’s systems.
You can have the most complex tree of users and authorizations, but if one of your entry-level hires accidentally opens a phishing scam email on a company computer, your entire system could be compromised.
Cyber-attacks pose a massive threat to modern businesses. While you may think that brute force attacks are what will cause you the most problems, the reality is a little different. Most companies are vulnerable when it comes to access to information within their IT environment.
Too many employees have access to data that does not pertain to their job description, which can create security vulnerabilities for others to exploit.