Leveraging ABAC To Implement SAP Dynamic Authorization

    Organizations’ digital presence is expanding rapidly. In such a situation, organizations will strengthen their security posture by complementing current SAP Role-Based Access Controls (RBAC) with Attribute-Based Access Controls (ABAC) to improve authentication and authorization. Both RBAC and ABAC are ways that companies can use to handle authentication and authorization, but they perform distinct functions across the enterprise IT stack.

    The Concept Of Roles And SAP Access Control

    Roles are collections of permissions using relationships, sets, and mapping that balance access needs with resource-based access and limit access on a ‘need to know’ basis.

    In RBAC, three basic principles are involved:

    1. Role assignment: Only users with the correct login can gain access to and connect with a system or program.

    2. Role authorization: When combined with a role assignment, administrators accept a collection of credentials so that they can gain access to and interact with a system.

    3. Transaction authorization: A user can interact with a resource only to which she is allowed on a ‘need to know’ basis via her role memberships while also being limited.

    RBAC has expanded to include ‘hierarchies.’ Hierarchies give different levels of access to various positions.

    Boost RBAC With Dynamic Authorizations

    RBAC lays down a good foundation for setting access controls. However, the way people engage with data resources is altered by digital transformation. A very strict, static collection of permissions is created since RBAC was designed for on-site data repositories. You either have access, or you don’t.

    Also known as attribute-based access controls (ABAC), dynamic authorization enhances RBAC by taking different attributes into account. Attributes provide an additional description of either the user or the resource.

    Examples of user attributes:

    1. Department inside the company

    2. Citizenship

    3. Management level

    Action attributes examples:

    1. Write

    2. Read

    Examples of resource attributes:

    1. Data classification

    2. Transaction code

    Examples of attributes in an environment:

    1. The Period

    2. Geographical place

    Companies can more effectively control user access and better balance business and security needs with the versatility of complex authorizations by incorporating these features.

    Using Attributes to Attain Dynamic Access

    Roles act as the basis for access provision. The subject and verb are RBAC if you think of it as a sentence. Administrators of IT have ties to “superuser” A straightforward RBAC sentence could be as below:

    IT admins can read and edit all information.

    On the basis of RBAC, this sentence provides so much access that an IT administrator can be a data breach risk. Unhindered access means corporations refuse to control access to IT managers while still providing enough access to employees to do their job, whether they steal sensitive information maliciously or accidentally exchange private information.

    However, by adding attributes or extra descriptors on how/when/where IT administrators can use their access, the risk is reduced. In addition, to also grant entry, we can use attributes. The better you can incorporate attributes, the more clearly you can explain what, how, and when an individual user or group of users can access data.


    Using a hybrid approach to SAP access control, companies need to configure layered security as they accelerate their digital transformation strategies and allow more remote access to data and transactions. Organizations, starting with RBAC, set the foundation of their access policies. However, by adding different attributes related to the user, resources, actions, and environment, they can more accurately limit access to and within SAP data.

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