Overcoming the Political Challenges of IAM for SAP-Centric Organizations to Create the Perfect World

Striking a balance between security and business enablement is a constant challenge for any organization. Even for seemingly well-adjusted businesses, this search for the perfect world can be fraught with misunderstandings, miscommunication and political intrigue. And for SAP-centric organizations, the politics can get downright nasty.

On the one hand, you have the SAP team tasked with ensuring that the critical platform and its various modules are available, accessible and delivering key functions to the organization. Then, on the other hand, you have the enterprise security team focused on keeping the organization’s crown jewels — often housed within the SAP environment — safe and protected from threats.

The SAP folks, of course, want to their resources to be secure but their mandate is enablement and availability. The enterprise security folks, of course, want the organization to be successful, but their mission is protection. Often this results in a tug-of-war of security vs. enablement where neither side wins, and both users and security suffer.

Often the resolution of this stalemate is to approach SAP security (primarily in the form of identity and access management - IAM) as a silo managed by a dedicated team that uses specific tools and operates under unique exceptions to enterprise security practices and policies. Not ideal. Plus, SAP users often have multiple passwords, disparate roles across the full range of necessary access points, and extra hoops they must navigate to access SAP systems. This management-by-silo situation is counter to everything that IAM stands for and is meant to address.

Ideally, a user would have one logon that covers SAP (all installed modules) as well as the rest of the enterprise. In a perfect world, a user’s role would be defined once and be used to provide ironclad authorization across the entire enterprise. This would greatly simplify governance tasks as when it comes time to gather attestation information, it is based on a single source of the truth that the business had a hand in defining.

In this perfect world, the political — and budgetary — struggle between enablement vs. security would cease. Users would be able to easily and securely access the precise resources they need. And enterprise security would be satisfied because roles and access workflows are appropriate and clearly defined. Peace reigns.

Believe it or not, this perfect world is achievable with SAP environments. To get it right, it takes a comprehensive approach to IAM that accounts for SAP’s idiosyncrasies, as well as maintains its position as a significant player. This perfect world is more than integration. To be successful, a SAP-centric IAM program includes the right technology, a high level of SAP expertise, a commitment to partnership (internally and with external partners) and, most importantly, a focus on the business outcomes.

To learn how One Identity, the leader in enterprise IAM for SAP-centric organizations, can help you get IAM right, read our eBook.

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