Daniel Berlin on Security Insight on SAP security, development stuff… and all the rest

9Feb 13

Audit-proof versioning of programs: VERS_AT_IMP

Hi there,
let's have a look at a very handy system parameter, which is nevertheless not checked as frequently as others in audits — the tp parameter VERS_AT_IMP.

In a default installation this parameter is set to »NEVER«, which means that no new version is created when transporting a program to a target system; the code is simply overwritten there.
If the parameter is set to »ALWAYS« (which is the only other valid option), a version history is maintained analogous to the development system.

Btw.: not only reports are affected by this, but actually all workbench objects that support versioning.

Functionality of tp parameter VERS_AT_IMP

Why does that matter?

The legal codes of many (all?) countries prescribe a duty to preserve records, which is also relevant for program code – the German HGB (Handelsgesetzbuch) for instance. Therefore it is a risk to allow old program versions to be deleted (due to a lack of knowledge – or on purpose).

Developers are usually allowed to execute all reports on a development system, which also includes RSVCAD03 and RSVCAD04. These reports allow the deletion of a program's version history (they're NOT assigned to any program authorization group and the program code does NOT contain any AUTHORITY-CHECKs ← read comments below).

Update: Meanwhile SAP has added an authorization check for S_CTS_ADMI with value TABL to both programs. Anyway, this authorization is checked in many places and chances are high that a number of users have (and need) this authorization for other purposes. So this does not change the general recommendation of this article…

So your options are:

  • if you want to keep the version history on the development system: do whatever it takes to secure RSVCAD03 and RSVCAD04 (just removing S_CTS_ADMI from all roles will not work, especially on non-productive systems) and be careful when restoring the system; you might lose versions (think of reinstallations)
  • set VERS_AT_IMP to »ALWAYS« on the productive system and keep your version history there (of course the above reports have to be secured as well)

As you probably guessed, the second option is favorable, because:

  • authorizations on production are much more limited, so protecting the reports RSVCAD03/04 is much easier there
  • the continuity of a productive system can be ensured, while this is not true for a development system

Where to check it?

Start report RSTMSTPP, enter the productive system's SID and go for it.

Where to set it?

Go to STMS → System Overview. Then double-click in your productive system and switch to the "Transport Tool" tab.
If the parameter does not appear there, it is set to the default value »NEVER«!

Update: Effect on installation of support packages

SPAM settings: Object versioning during support package installations
Switching the parameter to ALWAYS has no automatic effect on transaction SPAM. In other words: installing support packages does not lead numerous (useless) versions of SAP standard objects.
The simple reason is that SPAM allows you to choose whether to create versions of the objects in support packages or not (→ disabled per default).
To enable it, setting VERS_AT_IMP to ALWAYS is a prerequisite — check out SPAM → Extras → SettingImport queueCreate object versions during import — but be aware that this might have an impact on performance and database size.

So long!