The importance of SAP for compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The implementation of GDPR in May 2018 changed the way businesses, in particular businesses that sell in the EU must protect and handle sensitive data. Compliance with GDPR is compulsory, and companies that do not handle personal data correctly face fines and risk the reputation of their business.

GDPR compliance and SAP systems

Increasing cybercrime further complicates compliance with the GDPR. With 90% of cyberattacks being financially motivated, it is becoming increasingly important to prevent unauthorized access to personal data and intellectual property, both from the outside and the inside. To protect this data, companies need to know where it is stored, who has access to it, how it is monitored, and what happens to it. It’s estimated that 70% of the world’s corporate data is stored in an SAP system. Therefore, when it comes to protecting data, protecting SAP systems should be one of the top priorities to ensure compliance with  GDPR.

What are the consequences of non-compliance with the GDPR for companies?

Data breach – immediate costs

Article 33 of GDPR specifies that organizations must notify any personal data breach to the supervisory controller within 72 hours. Failure to notify within this timeframe can result in a fine. Even when reported, GDPR fines can be as high as 4% of the company’s turnover.

Costs for third parties

SAP systems not only store your company data but, in many cases, the data of business partners and subcontractors. The Copyright Act expressly provides cause for claims for imposed damages, which can be substantial.

Breaches could damage your business operations

If your SAP data is compromised in any way it may limit or significantly impact your business in the long run. It may also result in significant financial losses and lost investments.

What can be done to improve compliance?

  • Establish key processes. Implement and continuously monitor your infrastructure’s well-designed segregation of duties and SAP system change management approach.
  • Centralized monitoring. The monitoring of access to personal data is key to fulfilling the requirements of GDPR. Failure to do this effectively can result in a GDPR data breach.
  • Increase the visibility of the SAP system across the business. By increasing the visibility of activities and collecting all relevant information from your SAP environment, you will reduce your audit and compliance risks and significantly improve your security posture.
  • Align people, processes, and technologies. The SAP and security teams often work independently, creating a blind spot for SAP security. Ensuring that the SAP and cybersecurity teams align with people, processes, and technology significantly reduces the risk imposed on SAP systems.

Why should you act now?

Reduce the risk to your business

The focus of a sustainable GDPR strategy minimizes the risk of non-compliance for your organization.

Cybercriminals are everywhere

Cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated, and unprotected SAP systems are becoming an increasingly attractive target. Threats from malicious insiders pose another significant business risk to companies.

Confidential personal data

This is some of the most critical information in an SAP system. If this data is compromised, it is a breach of the GDPR. Apart from the financial considerations, the consequences, such as damage to reputation, and relationships with customers, partners, and suppliers, can be extensive.  

Secure your competitive advantage

Your company is all about profit, responsibility, innovation, sustainability, and compliance. A simple mistake in protecting your data can cause you to lose market share and competitive advantage.


Attacks against business-critical applications such as SAP systems are on the rise. With personal data held in these systems, GDPR is synonymous with SAP systems. To keep the risk of an attack on your SAP infrastructure as low as possible, monitoring these systems continuously and automatically is necessary. With an intelligent security platform, you can detect threats to your SAP systems early and, thus, act proactively with appropriate countermeasures for security incidents. An interruption or an unavailable SAP infrastructure leads to immediate financial losses and enormous manual efforts to restore the system. All it takes is one successful attack!

GDPR compliance

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