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As SAP ECC customers prepare for their migration to S/4HANA, they are assessing the pros and cons of this transition in terms of cost, compliance, and data security. A critical step in an S/4HANA migration involves a thorough SAP audit of the existing roles and authorizations and optimizing license spends for the current users. Organizations need to consider three key factors during a complete SAP audit for better role management before an SAP S/4HANA migration.

SAP Role Audits Can Optimize Your License Spend

Many organizations still view their SAP licensing as a black box. They are ready to spend millions of dollars on SAP without understanding which licenses are being consumed or which licenses are required for each user. A common mistake many organizations make without realizing it is misclassifying users due to the lack of visibility into the usage of each employee.

A comprehensive role audit in SAP can help classify all users, accounts, and roles and eliminate those not in use, including the following best practices for optimizing license spend before the SAP S/4HANA migration:

Combine Users Between SAP Systems

Often, a single license is enough to access multiple SAP applications. Combining the same user across multiple applications frees up licenses that can be allocated to other users—preventing companies from paying double the amount.

Remove Inactive or Dormant Users

Certain users access the system only a few times a year, yet they are assigned Professional or Limited Professional License types. Since many corporations do not have visibility into the actual usage data for each role, account, or user, it is difficult to identify the inactive roles. By eliminating inactive and dormant users, organizations will be able to reallocate licenses to new users immediately, providing instant savings.

Classify All Users and Roles

Most SAP users utilize only a fraction of their allocated authorizations. Focusing on the actual usage of data based on the users’ roles ensures that companies will never be under or over licensed. In addition, by classifying all users, organizations can avoid the additional costs of Professional Licenses (used only by unclassified users).

SAP Role Audits Ensure Data Security Via Dynamic Access Controls

S/4HANA migration often opens up the “crown jewels” data to the security risks of the mobile world because the network firewall no longer protects it. You need to know what type of data is being exposed to your external users. That determines how you define the roles and how data is taken from the application and delivered to the users.

This requires applying protection to the user interface layer in terms of defining how you want the data to be viewed by different personas. Organizations conducting SAP audits need to enable dynamic access controls to gain visibility into:

  • Where is a user coming from?
  • What data are they trying to access?
  • What device are they using?
  • Is that device being used by the right person?
  • What data are they trying to extract onto their device?

Periodic reviews and audits of the roles ensure that only the correct user having the proper roles can view the sensitive data that is otherwise encrypted or masked. For example, not every HR employee should have the role or access rights to view employees’ payroll data.

SAP Role Audits Are an Opportunity to Verify SoD Compliance

Organizations migrating to S/4HANA need to leverage SAP access controls or security monitoring solutions to perform periodic role and user analysis. The data collected during this audit can also help verify SoD compliance. Segregation of Duties conflicts, especially in financial and procurement transactions, are a significant reason for audit failures. Role audits could be used as an opportunity to collaborate with your organization’s compliance team to ensure that you’re securing your data and adhering to mandatory compliance requirements across your SAP ecosystem.

How Pathlock’s ProfileTailor GRC Helps with SAP Role Audits

Migrating to S/4HANA remains a long and complicated process for organizations. The first big step is an exhaustive audit of the new and existing roles to facilitate effective role management in the SAP system. Role management offers access simulation capabilities, enabling administrators and role owners to perform a “what if” analysis at various stages of a role’s life cycle management and support compliant user provisioning. In addition, the system provides mechanisms for role design to reduce SoD conflicts and improve administration efficiency in SAP and other ERP and business applications. This usually includes a mechanism for transporting new or updated role definitions into appropriate application environments.

Pathlock Security helps businesses with its ProfileTailor GRC Solution, ensuring cross-platform ERP data security, compliance, and SAP license optimization. It delivers unprecedented visibility of real-time authorization usage, helping companies optimize their spending before migrating to S/4HANA.

Want a secure and seamless transition to S/4HANA without spending a hefty sum on your licenses? Then, download our whitepaper, Critical Steps You Should Take Before Making the Move To S/4HANA, and reach out to schedule a demo with our SAP security experts.

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