As the system of record that’s arguably at the heart of a company’s operations, SAP applications are routinely subject to various kinds of audits. These may range from internal audits that check for accuracy in financial reporting and potential fraud to mandatory, compliance-based audits. SAP Audits are a fact of life for virtually all companies that run SAP. The process can be challenging and resource-intensive, but it doesn’t have to be.
What is an SAP Audit?
People in IT and audit talk about the “SAP audit” as if it were one single activity. It’s not. The term refers to a collection of audit processes. Some are performed together, others on an individual basis. SAP audits check for different issues and have their own unique work processes. Some are strictly focused on security while others are meant to verify that the company is compliant with applicable laws. These can include Sarbanes Oxley and other regulations that rely on access controls and Segregation of Duties (SoD) in an SAP environment.
Why SAP Audits are Important for a Business
SAP audits are often perceived as a hassle. While there’s some validity to this perspective, audits are critical for running a successful business. For one thing, who wants to operate without sound financial systems in place? You need accurate financial data to run your business successfully. While compliance audits can be tedious affairs they’re both legally necessary and good for business. Not only do you want to avoid the penalties for non-compliance, the regulations help to protect your business from fraud and errors that would be damaging if they occurred.
Staying secure is another reason audits are worth the time and effort. Cyber threats are at an all time high, and no one wants to fall victim to a breach. Audits help identify vulnerabilities that could leave your business exposed to cyberattacks. A good SAP security audit might highlight inadequate FireFighter controls, misaligned controls over applications, poor custom object controls, risk exposure in the infrastructure itself and inadequate security covering vendors and contractors. You will want to discover these problems before they explode into a serious incident.
Challenges in the SAP Audit Process
SAP audits are challenging, but the difficulties and stresses they bring about are often the result of sub-optimal audit processes. For example, your SAP audit might rely on document-centric review processes along with manual remediation of deficient controls. Your audit team may need weeks or even months to sample audit logs. Then, more time is required for the team to examine inadequately-updated change logs to decipher the security model.
SAP audits also require validating approvals on various steps in the process. That can be time consuming. It can also take time to analyze the obscure, and frankly confusing language in the regulations. It’s not uncommon to eat up cycles searching for missing or incomplete documentation as well.
The Role of SAP Audit Management in the SAP Audit
To help with the audit process, there are many tools available. The SAP Audit Management with AutoAuditor™ module from ControlPanelGRC helps you substantially reduce the time and effort of audit preparation by automating the execution, delivery and validation tracking of your SAP audit reports. Used internally or by your auditors, it relieves many manual tasks and features an intuitive User Interface (UI) for ease of use.
AutoAuditor enables your organization to generate valuable reports on audit-required items. This includes users with invalid logon attempts, vulnerable passwords, user and role changes, and more. Furthermore, it integrates with other ControlPanelGRC modules for your SAP system. This helps internal auditors schedule, execute, deliver and track customized created by the business, avoiding gaps and overlaps in the process.
Evaluating Risks in SAP S/4HANA
As more enterprises adopt the SAP S/4HANA platform and the Fiori UI, maintaining compliance becomes more complex. SoD analyses output must be actionable and provide remediation options based on usage – whether you have traditional SAP GUI transactions, Fiori Applications or a combination of the two. Within Fiori apps, traditional transaction authorizations are replaced by service authorizations. Unfortunately, many “out of the box” OData service authorizations then need to be translated into business functions, and mapped to usage data so that reviewers can tell if the SAP Fiori application is in use or if it can be removed.
ControlPanelGRC® developed a simplified concept to include SAP Fiori applications into SoD rules. It was the first toolset to release an SAP S/4HANA SoD ruleset, available for all users at no additional cost. This provides an automated discovery process, captures usage of SAP Fiori applications, and pushes SoD analysis data to the appropriate business users for review and removal.
The Value of Automated Access Control in Passing an SAP Audit
SAP audits for GRC can benefit from automation. Our ControlPanelGRC® SAP Access Control Suite helps in this regard. It continuously monitors your SAP landscape, detecting (SoD) conflicts as well as other issues in real time. This saves time spent sampling transaction logs during the audit by providing essentially instantaneous visibility. The suite generates SAP audit reports automatically and routes them to the correct stakeholders for review and approach.
Learn more about how ControlPanelGRC can help your organization become Always Audit Ready™ by requesting a free demonstration or SAP Risk Assessment today.