Secure SAP on AWS Migration: Best Practices for Compliance and Disaster Recovery

SAP is increasingly moving to the cloud, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) being a popular choice for hosting SAP environments. The benefits of SAP on AWS migration are clear in terms of scalability, agility, and cost-efficiency. The paramount concerns, however, when performing a migration are security and compliance. In this post, we will delve into best practices for securing your SAP environment during the migration to AWS 

Security by Design 

The principle of “security by design” emphasizes that security policies and considerations must be an integral part of your migration strategy from the outset. It involves designing the entire cloud environment, including storage buckets, networking, communications, shared keys, and private keys, with a well-defined security strategy in mind. 

To ensure the security strategy aligns with their requirements, it is crucial to involve your Chief Security Officer (CSO) or Data Security Officer (DSO) from the beginning. Their insights are invaluable for key management, monitoring, auditability, and observability of the environment, for example via the creation of alerts, together with the use of AWS CloudTrail for auditing purposes.  

By involving security experts early, you can establish a strong foundation for security, ensuring that all aspects of your SAP on AWS migration meet your organization’s security policies and compliance requirements. 

Identify Your Compliance Regulations 

SAP systems often handle sensitive data and complying with regulations is mandatory. Identifying the principles and rules that apply to your organization is essential in the context of SAP on AWS migration. This includes considerations such as data residency due to national security issues and EU regulations like GDPR. 

Migrating to a hyperscaler like AWS may change the way you think about reporting during migration. AWS provides various compliance certifications and offers a whole host of tools to assist with compliance. These include applications such as AWS Artifact –which provides on-demand access to compliance documentation–; Amazon CloudWatch, CloudTrail or AWS Compliance Centre, among others. It’s important to understand how these align with your organization’s specific requirements to select the most appropriate tools and use them efficiently. 

Compliance is not just a box to check but a fundamental aspect of ensuring the security and integrity of your data. Non-compliance can result in severe consequences, including fines and legal actions. 

Fortifying Network Security for SAP on AWS Migration 

The first step in ensuring the security of your SAP environment during SAP on AWS migration is defining the network architecture. Start by asking whether the system needs to be published on the internet. In most cases, SAP is used internally by companies and is not publicly accessible. This is crucial during migration to avoid potential security vulnerabilities. 

When performing SAP to AWS migration, it’s crucial to avoid exposing it to the internet to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches. Make sure you identify who uses the platform and their locations to define the network architecture accordingly. Also, consider implementing secure transit setups for communication and controlling external access. Using predefined templates and configurations is a best practice when migrating your SAP to AWS to ensure consistency and reduce the risk of misconfigurations that may lead to security vulnerabilities. 

Network security, especially in the context of SAP on AWS migration, is not just about creating barriers. It’s about understanding your data flow, user access, and potential threats. Mapping out a network design that aligns with your business requirements is crucial for maintaining a secure SAP environment. 

Mastering Access Control 

Effective access management is vital for SAP security during SAP on AWS migration. Properly managing access ensures that only authorized individuals and systems can interact with your SAP workloads and data. To ensure the security and compliance of your SAP environment, employ best practices like using AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) for user account management, implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA), and considering AWS Single Sign-On (SSO) for streamlined access. It is also advisable to use SAP Identity Management and follow SAP’s user management guidelines, implementing role-based access control (RBAC), secure communication with encryption, and to establish clear auditing and monitoring processes. Regular access reviews, documentation, training, and an incident response plan are critical. 

It is preferable to avoid using third-party applications when not required, and to use AWS-provided templates for secure hardware images, especially when dealing with SAP on AWS migration, as is the implementation of additional monitoring on transactions to detect any unusual activities. 

Hardened images play a significant role in access management during SAP on AWS migration. Customize images to include only the necessary components, reducing the attack surface. It’s not just about controlling who has access but also about controlling what they have access to. 

Disaster Recovery 

Disaster recovery is essential to ensure business continuity in case of system failures, especially in the context of SAP on AWS migration. To effectively plan for disaster recovery, organizations need to define clear recovery objectives. Two essential metrics are Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). RTO represents the maximum acceptable downtime for your SAP environment, while RPO signifies the maximum allowable data loss. These objectives guide your DR strategies and help determine the appropriate level of continuity and data protection required. 

AWS provides a range of disaster recovery solutions, each tailored to different recovery objectives. These solutions include: Backup and Restore, Pilot Light, Warm Standby and Multisite Deployments, the latter of which allows you to distribute your SAP workloads across multiple AWS Availability Zones or regions for high availability and disaster recovery. 

When planning disaster recovery (DR) during the migration of SAP to AWS, organizations should begin with a comprehensive risk assessment and business impact analysis to understand potential risks and consequences. Both SAP and AWS provide reference architectures and guides for DR setup and these should be consulted to ensure alignment.  Clear recovery objectives should be defined to guide DR strategies. Automation is crucial for reducing manual intervention and minimizing recovery time. Data replication ensures consistency, while regular testing and monitoring are essential for validating DR plans. Proper documentation, cost considerations, compliance alignment, and ongoing maintenance are key components of a successful DR strategy. 


Encryption is a cornerstone of security during SAP on AWS migration and should be a part of your planning and preparation stage. Ensure it is implemented at all levels, safeguarding sensitive data from potential breaches during SAP on AWS migration. 

It is critical to define your encryption strategy prior to migration. Encrypt data at rest and in transit. Data at rest refers to data that is stored on physical or digital storage devices, such as hard drives, databases, or cloud storage. This data is typically stationary and not actively being transferred. 

Successful migration hinges on the meticulous implementation of SAP-specific encryption measures before initiating the transfer process. This involves encrypting the SAP S/4HANA database and establishing Transport Layer Security (TLS) across various SAP components, such as application servers, database servers, continuous integration servers (CIs), WebDispatchers, Secure Network Communications (SNC) via RFC, TLS for Fiori applications, web access, and Odata services. 

In the context of AWS, services like AWS Key Management Service (KMS) are used to manage encryption keys, and Amazon S3 offers server-side encryption options to automatically encrypt data stored in S3 buckets. This ensures that even if an unauthorized person gains access to the physical storage or underlying infrastructure, the data remains inaccessible without the encryption keys. 

On the other hand, data in transit refers to data that is actively moving from one location to another over a network, such as when data is being transmitted between a user’s device and a web server, or between two servers within a network. In AWS, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) are commonly used encryption protocols for securing data in transit. 

Best practices will ensure security during migration 

Migrating SAP to AWS offers numerous benefits, but it also poses significant security and compliance challenges. The key to a successful migration lies in adhering to best practices for security and compliance certifications from the very beginning during SAP on AWS migration. 

By designing your SAP environment with security in mind, involving your CSO or DSO, identifying compliance regulations, implementing robust network security, access management, disaster recovery, alerts and encryption strategies, you can ensure the safety of your data and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements. 

Syntax expertise in the migration field has been proven by its numerous success stories. Our experts are open to any questions related to an SAP on AWS Migration and are more than ready to accompany you as you define your security strategy prior to and during migration. Don’t hesitate to contact our experts here.