What to know about Design-In Security and Controls in SAP S/4HANA?


Controls in SAP S/4HANA

SAP S/4HANA is one such platform that lays a strong emphasis on simplicity for its users. The platform works over a simplified data model, paired with a simplified technical architecture, and puts a more straightforward business process on the table. While simplifying business processes, it promotes improved performance and more significant business value. It should be noted that migration from your existing SAP to S/4HANA is not a mere upgrade.

As many organizations have already planned or begun their journey to SAP S/4HANA, it is the best time to look into the design-in security and controls to ensure the considerations mentioned earlier.

Design-In Security and Control to consider for SAP S/4HANA

  • Access and Security Control

One of the most discussed topics over the last few years is access and security control being the most compelling designs in the genre. At the same time, such security control settings should always be designed SOD-free to help implement automated access tools for management.

Here, timing plays a crucial role in developing security roles that are SOD-free and run in parallel with real-time upgrades. For organizations that are planning to implement a complete Fiori user experience, security design plays a significant role in initiating the process as there are no quick fixes within such an architecture. The security level design plays a significant role in adding to the UI and controls for appropriate access.

  • Automated or Configuration Controls

Following the pandemic, companies have started to maximize their opportunities of using S/4HANA software to enable improved functionality and standard features for improvised control. For example, tolerance limits, establishing three-way matches, system messages, and required fields. These numerous implementations promise to establish controls via their ‘out-of-the-box model approach.

Individual businesses need to first get an idea of the configuration settings that can be implemented as a control, then select the appropriate settings suggested on control needs and business requirements. Critical business process decisions require businesses to implement such configuration controls, which generally come with a pre-defined workstream within any suggested S/4HANA project. The goal of operating with such automated controls is to maximize automation, maximize resource allocations, and standardization through automation.

  • Cybersecurity and Cloud

The majority of organizations are switching to reduced technical on-premise footprints and switching to the Cloud due to reduced costs and flexible scalability. Often, such migration introduces new exposures and brings forward the need for refined control measures. However, under such a circumstance, it is essential to understand how the change in Cybersecurity and Cloud impacts the operations inside a given organization.

In addition to incorporating critical changes around the Cloud measures, organizations today are looking forward to understanding the cybersecurity space’s existing vulnerabilities. Today, organizations are dealing with several automated solutions that help them expedite such assignments while continuously monitoring the processes.

  • Classification and Governance of Data

While segregating and securing data may sound like a critical attribute, it is harder to execute and implement it. To directly visualize how the security roles of an organization should be assigned and designed, there needs to be a simplified approach to the classification of data and its location in the database.

Embedding a resilient data governance program helps ensure better control around the given data to ensure compliance with the regulations over GDPR and CCPA. Interestingly, there are several automated solutions to help businesses with the same.

  • Updating Internal Control Matrices and Risk Universe

Moving to the last step of the post, the internal control matrices are an aspect that should not be overlooked as well. This step helps intertwine every detail that is listed above. When the organization migrates to SAP S/4HANA, it becomes mandatory to revisit SAP applications that already exist.

Let us suppose that the company shifts to a new model of configuration controls in the business process. In that case, it’s time to update your work program, eliminate manual controls, and give the credits to automated methods of control.


If your organization is not ready to have such discussions, the chances are that you might find yourself in a situation where you have to retrofit to a confined area post the initial upgrade. This way, it ends up costing a significantly large part of the budget, time, and end-user disruption. Having said that, we hope to have covered everything that we think, you should know about design-in security and controls in SAP S/4HANA.