Posted On: March 3, 2020

How to Simplify Identity Management with SAP Single Sign-On

SAP Single Sign-On gives users one password for all their applications – boosting your security, improving your IT efficiencies, and making employees more productive.

The average business user has 191 passwords.

Despite education on password best practices, 61 percent of employees use the same or similar login credentials everywhere. They also share an average of four passwords with others.

With employees engaging in so much risky behavior, it’s not surprising that 81 percent of confirmed data breaches are due to passwords.

As of 2019, cyber-attacks are considered among the top five risks to global stability, according to the World Economic Forum. And the average time to identify a breach in 2019 was 206 days, according to IBM.

With both internal and external threats on the rise, enterprises are looking for ways to shore up their data security.

One proven, but often overlooked, security measure is single sign-on.

While single sign-on is typically viewed from a user experience perspective, implementing this technology also offers security benefits.

In fact, more IT teams are taking advantage of single sign-on to gain greater control over their corporate data.

3 Ways Single Sign-On Boosts Your Security and Productivity

In the past, single sign-on tools were cumbersome to implement.

However, advances in technology, such as SAP Single Sign-On, are making it easier for enterprises to give employees secure access to their applications and data.

SAP Single Sign-On gives users access to both SAP and third-party software with a single username and password. It stores all passwords in a central repository – which makes it easy for IT teams to assign authentication credentials and ensure that only authorized users can access specific programs.

With SAP Single Sign-On, you can:

  1. Strengthen your cybersecurity

Single sign-on allows IT teams to create audit rules that prevent employees from using weak passwords.

For example, you can specify a minimum password length and complexity. You can also require employees to change their passwords every 30 days. If they don’t update their passwords, they won’t be able to log into their programs.

Since employees only have one password, they won’t need to remember multiple credentials. This reduces their need to write passwords on sticky notes and store them under their keyboards.

With Single Sign-On, you will also spend less time preparing for audits, as you won’t need to track 191 passwords for each employee.

Instead, you can manage just one password per employee through a central application. Then, auditors can find all the information that they need – quickly and in a single system. Auditors also won’t encounter weak, duplicate passwords or login credentials for employees who left the company years ago.

When an employee leaves, you don’t need to remove multiple accounts. Instead, you can block or delete the employee’s ID from the central depository to revoke access across all applications.

  1. Improve the user experience

Employees use an average of 191 passwords to enter 154 times in a given month. That is 36 minutes of password data entry during that time.

If they forget a password, they will have difficulty using their software and performing their jobs.

SAP Single Sign-On gives employees fast, easy access to all their applications. Employees won’t need to remember different usernames and passwords for every program that they use.

Instead, they just log in once and can access any application from any device. SAP Single Sign-On allows for seamless switching between desktops, laptops, and mobile devices.

  1. Boost your IT efficiencies

SAP Single Sign-On reduces help desk requests.

Many enterprises have between 3,000 to 5,000 SAP users. If just three percent of these users forget their passwords every month, your help desk can quickly become overwhelmed with requests.

Meanwhile, employees won’t be able to complete tasks if they can’t get into their mission-critical applications. Since it can take hours or days for IT to resolve each ticket, enterprises can face massive productivity losses due to forgotten passwords.

How to Successfully Implement SAP Single Sign-On

You will achieve the most benefits from single sign-on technology when you start with a plan. Developing a strategy and getting the right stakeholders involved will improve your outcomes.

Here are five keys to a successful SAP Single Sign-On implementation:

  1. Create a comprehensive security strategy

If you want to achieve the greatest value from Single Sign-On, you must use it as part of a broader, SAP security strategy. Make sure that a security strategy is in place before you bring in any single sign-on tools.

Start by examining your existing environment and identifying any gaps that would make you an easy target.

For example, ask yourself these questions:

    • Do you receive automatic alerts when anything suspicious happens in your environment?
    • Do you have endpoint protection tools that block threats at the entrance points?

When you evaluate your security strategy, make sure that your SAP portfolio includes Single Sign-On licensing. Most companies don’t realize that Single Sign-On is a licensed product. They think that it comes free with other SAP systems and that they are protected out-of-the-box.

  1. Get clear on who governs single sign-on

IT infrastructure teams often install single sign-on tools before consulting the application team. Then, application owners won’t know which tools are already in use and will buy new technology. This leads to multiple, disparate products that want to control your identity management.

Also, many of these tools aren’t certified for SAP systems.

The ownership of your identity management should be holistic. Ideally, the application team should own single sign-on, as this will give your enterprise the greatest productivity, security, and governance benefits. Meanwhile, your corporate security and audit team should create and enforce password standards. This will eliminate the need for your infrastructure team to purchase additional tools.

  1. Interface SAP Single Sign-On with your existing identity management tools

SAP Single Sign-On allows users to log into any SAP or third-party application with just one password. It also supports multiple methods of authentication validation.

So, you don’t need any other single sign-on tools if your applications support one of the standards that SAP implements.

If your current single sign-on tools don’t support SAP, you can integrate Single Sign-On with your existing technology. That way, teams can use their preferred tools while users enjoy a single password for everything.

Ideally, you will be able to integrate all of these tools with the same identity management store, such as Windows Active Directory.

  1. Combine SAP Single Sign-On with multiple applications

You will get the most value from your investment when you combine SSSv3 with both SAP and third-party applications. That way, users will have a seamless log-in experience as they jump between different applications.

For example, sales reps can use multiple applications whenever they create a new code. They may create the code in SAP Hybris, run up a sales order in SAP customer relationship management (CRM), and finish the process in their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

SAP Single Sign-On allows them to move between all these applications without logging on and off. This can reduce their transaction time by 40 to 50%.

  1. Work with a partner

Many IT teams are understaffed and don’t have the time to install and integrate single sign-on tools. Working with the right partner allows you to seamlessly integrate your systems and heighten your security – while you free up your internal team for other projects.

Your partner can also help you decide who should govern single sign-on and each team’s responsibilities.

However, your partner may not handle everything. For example, your contract might not include the end-user configurations and software deployments that your internal team typically handles.

Before you sign a contract, get clear on which activities your partner will perform and which ones your internal team must complete.

In the past, single sign-on was a “nice-to-have” item.

Today, it’s an essential part of a comprehensive security strategy – especially if your employees are mobile and must access applications from multiple devices.

SAP Single Sign-On allows employees to quickly log into their business applications from any device. This can significantly increase their productivity, as employees won’t need jump through hoops to perform essential tasks.

Next Steps

Would you like more best practices on how to shore up your SAP security? Download the SAP security checklist and 15 SAP security questions to ask.

You can also contact us today to discover how we can help you boost employee productivity while you make your SAP environment more secure.