Managing SAP Segregation of Duties (SoD): Key Challenges

    Organizations face a significant challenge when it comes to implementing the segregation of duties (SoD) in SAP. Many organizations detect possible SAP SoD breaches manually and execute laws in retrospect. This contributes to cumbersome procedures that take a great deal of time to complete and lots of work. In addition, auditors must review all users who have the potential to commit a violation in search of breaches and sift through a number of false-positives. Due to the rising amount and complexity of job activities, existing methods are becoming unscalable and expensive.

    In managing SoD in SAP, the main challenges are as follows:

    Static Policy Limitations

    Access rights and permissions are natively assigned based on user responsibilities. Role-based access controls (RBACs) are rigid and unyielding; they present a user access-related ‘all or nothing’ scenario. Without contextual rules and risk-based restrictions, users can freely access and perform risky transactions in the applications.


    Role-based access controls (RBAC) allow organizations to build several positions for various job functions and tasks to delegate permissions. Over time, organizations risk a user gaining unnecessary, excessive privileges without regular manual monitoring of roles and prompt de-provision of privileges, potentially leading to SoD violations.

    Inadequate Visibility

    The data and transaction-level granularity needed to weed out false positives are missing in SAP GRC audit logs. They lack insight into the transaction’s context and require extra effort to analyze and resolve SoD violations.

    Manual SoD Controls

    Organizations depend on manual controls for preventive measures. If with current technological controls, the risk cannot be managed, any possible violations must be reviewed, examined, and handled by others. This approach is sluggish, diverts time from routine duties, and may lead to missed violations.

    Compliance Management

    One of the essential controls on financial transactions and primary operations within SAP applications is segregation of duties. A SoD violation on the part of organizations can mean non-compliance with guidelines for internal governance and external regulatory policies. Strict reporting deadlines are also enforced by many legislation, and typical periodic audits can potentially impede compliance management efforts.

    Cumbersome Audits

    Audit documentation must be carried out manually using current capabilities, which can be time-consuming as auditors check all user behavior in search of any real violations. Moreover, current logs lack insight into the context of data necessary for risk assessment and fraudulent activity. Failure to provide enough data and manual analysis can be vulnerable to mistakes, unscalable, and increasingly expensive.

    How Can The Challenges Be Met?

    To take on the above-described challenges head-on, SAP customers need to manage and drive their segregation of duties using a combination of defensive, attribute-based access controls and fine-grained analytics. Instead of retrospectively evaluating and mitigating enforcement breaches, unauthorized user behavior should be avoided in real-time, thus preventing potential infringements. Furthermore, providing fine-grained insight into real SoD violations streamlines the process of data collection and reporting and eliminates false positives substantially.

    In order to block conflicting transactions at runtime, data protection solutions are available on the market that add an extra authorization layer to SAP GRC Access Control that compares user, data, and transaction attributes, along with defined SoD conflicts. Such security technologies also deliver visibility down to the field level in SAP transaction activities. With this fine-grained visibility, they correlate user, data, and transaction attributes along with specified SoD conflicts to detect and report actual SOD violations.


    SoD is one of the principal facets of SAP ERP applications. Investing in ERP data security technologies that arm organizations with greater visibility and power, along with increased ease, goes a long way in order to retain a competitive edge for them. It also helps enterprises manage compliance better.

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