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    Improving SAP Access Policy Management: Some Practical Insights

    The past year was a particularly difficult one for companies worldwide. It entailed a phase of intense turmoil and drastic changes. Employees were either laid off or required to take on larger duties. Also, the transition’s magnitude has been massive. A large proportion of the workforce now works remotely. These adjustments must be reflected in the ERP system of organizations and areas such as SAP Access Policy Management.

    The increased user provisioning places additional pressure on the management of the SAP policy and IAM teams, given that they are still burdened with maintaining remote access to applications for individuals working from home.

    Three different situations effectively occur in the user provisioning phase when employees are onboarded, when they switch roles/departments internally, and when employees leave the organization. Under such conditions, if provisioning is not done properly, companies are vulnerable to an onslaught of cyber-attacks.

    A compromised account can cause significant harm until it is detected, thanks to an expanded remote access threat surface. This risk, especially where segregation of duty (SAP SoD) is at play, is only multiplied by greater privileges. If an individual has been given additional responsibilities that require new roles, potential concerns associated with the segregation of duties (SAP SoD) may be overlooked.

    Improving SAP Access Policy Management: Three Approaches

    With an unprecedented number of cyber-attacks taking place in recent years, it seems that it is the ideal time for technology investment to enhance data security and provide more granular access control. Three steps for effective SAP access policy management are listed here:

    1. Attribute-Based Access Controls (ABAC)

    In order to ensure that access is correctly segmented, businesses with similar roles distributed across several business units switch to role derivatives. Although productive from a control perspective, management of these roles is burdensome as the number of role derivatives is multiplied by each branch-off. This sheer size can be daunting for your SAP policy management and security team.

    To make it easy and lighten the burden on IAM teams, organizations should extend their current role-based access control (RBAC) model with attribute-based access control (ABAC). ABAC lets you quickly integrate fine-grained ‘attributes’ into your authorization decisions.

    2. Fine-GrainedEntitlements

    A fundamental tenet of data security is the ‘Least Privilege’ concept. The aim is to reduce the risk by providing users with a minimum access level to perform a task at hand. The existing model of RBAC seeks to do so.

    By implementing granular business policies and access controls to enhance security at data and transaction levels, organizations can reduce their agreed risk. In order to restrict what users can access, from where, when, how and what they can do with the data inside your application, risk-aware controls can be implemented using ABAC. By adding additional contexts, such as geo-location, time of day, and IP address, etc., ABAC offers an additional level of protection. This guarantees sufficient access for users and prevents users from obtaining more than what they really need.

    3.User Activity Monitoring

    The monitoring of user activity should always be carried out by organizations. Behaviors that require tracking include:

    • Identification of confidential transactions and high-privilege user behavior during routine monitoring and auditing.
    • Continuous monitoring of access by peer group operations for insight into who modified what in terms of responsibilities and permissions.
    • Setting risk-aware alerts, such as systems for network access, user locations, etc. This streamlines the identification of threats and alleviates the manual process usually required to respond to threats.

    Do not neglect to supervise the divisions of IT and security when tracking user actions. You will do well to delegate accountability and openness to employees who respond to temporary team members’ access requests and review access. Keep specific records of whether licenses have been issued or changed. Do it in a way that is audited quickly.

    Conclusion

    Taking advantage of innovations and solutions that can improve an enterprise’s SAP access policy management can go a long way in securing confidential information and relieving IT and security team’s tension. To achieve a better security posture, organizations should leverage these systems.

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