SAP Security: Authentication and single sign-on

This tip is excerpted from "Internet Insights: SAP System Security for the Intranet and Internet" by Dr. Juergen Schneider in the April/May/June 2001 edition of SAP Insider.

To authenticate users when they access SAP applications, several mechanisms are supported (depending on security requirements and the SAP product release used). Everybody understands the concept of passwords, along with their advantages (easy to use, remember and carry around) and drawbacks (weak passwords can be guessed, you may need several to access different systems and the danger of wiretapping).

With SAP's SNC option, you can switch off passwords and achieve single sign-on from a separate security infrastructure deployed in your company. This can be your Windows NT or Windows 2000 network, or other security infrastructures as provided by SAP partner products. It is also possible to equip your users with digital certificates according to the X.509 standard and use them for SAP logon (with or without smartcards).

With HTTPS and SSL client authentication, digital certificates can be used for logon to SAP systems from a standard Web browser over the SAP Internet Transaction Server (ITS). A painless certificate enrollment procedure is provided with mySAP Workplace using the SAP Trust Center Service.

To allow even more options for flexible and secure user authentication and single sign-on, SAP recently introduced the SAP Logon Ticket mechanism. Using

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Pluggable Authentication Services (PAS), customers can install their favorite authentication service (for example, NT logon, LDAP logon, RADIUS, etc.) on the ITS and use it for the initial authentication to the first SAP application, such as the mySAP Workplace enterprise portal.

Upon successful authentication, an SAP Logon Ticket, which is valid for a limited period of time (typically a few hours), is created for the user and stored in the browser's main memory. This ticket is then used to access other SAP and non-SAP applications without additional user intervention.

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Related book

Security Fundamentals for E-Commerce
Author : Vesna Hassler
Publisher : Artech House
ISBN/CODE : 1580531083
Cover Type : Hard Cover
Pages : 416
Published : Nov. 2000
If you're charged with maintaining the security of e-commerce sites, you need this unique book that provides an in-depth understanding of basic security problems and relevant e-commerce solutions, while helping you implement today's most advanced security technologies. From designing secure Web, e-commerce and mobile commerce applications ... to securing your internal network ... to providing secure employee/user authentication, this cutting-edge book gives you a valuable security perspective you won't find in other resources.

This was first published in May 2001

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