What is SAP GRC – Access & Process Controls

The automated SAP GRC access control and process control tools function much like different levels of security in a bank. Within an SAP system they manage the internal security model, remediate compliance issues, and actively monitor potential business risks. This is important because if users have too much access within a system, they can damage the company and break compliance. Whether by intentional misuse (i.e. using their privileges to steal money or goods) or accidental misuse (i.e. making mistakes in accounting or bypassing quality control safeguards) it’s crucial to have the correct tools in place to ensure neither happen. By documenting access, transactions and more, GRC Software addresses compliance, quality, fraud and other internal security concerns.

SAP GRC access control is designed to focus on what users CAN do, while SAP GRC process control focuses on wat users ARE doing. An example is if the system allowed managers to review workers’ medical records, SAP GRC access control would detect the potential for a HIPAA violation and create an alert. Then if someone were improperly looking through the company’s medical records, process controls directly alert monitors.


Expert Insight

Access Control and Process Control are analogous to different types of security in a bank. SAP GRC access control is like locked doors, guards and alarms – it controls who can enter and exit sensitive areas – and sounds the alarm if someone enters a room they shouldn’t. An SAP GRC Access Control tool is the first step in a GRC program, allowing companies to modernize role management, Segregation of Duties (SoD), auditing and other basic compliance tasks.

SAP GRC Process Control is similar to drawer counts, reconciliation checks and identity and credit verification. It examines processes looking for signs of fraud or theft.

SAP GRC Process Control is particularly useful for companies with routine audit problems that aren’t solved by access control. This can include organizations with remediation plans based on past breaches or compliance violations, companies in tightly regulated industries or those with complex structures which makes auditing difficult.


Why are SAP GRC Process Control and Access Control Important?

Compliance requirements like Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), mandate controls to detect, mitigate and prevent misconduct. These rules are backed up by auditing and hefty noncompliance penalties, but leave many of the details of implementation up to companies.

Traditionally, companies would manually review internal records to meet regulatory compliance goals. They would compile data into audit reports, which could also be used to detect fraud, design remediation efforts and perform other compliance activities.

Unfortunately, this technique is time-consuming and inefficient; it can take hundreds of hours to compile company access logs, create, authenticate and review reports. Manual reporting also leads to data entry errors, which can cause false positives. And by the time the information is reviewed, it’s usually at least a few months old.

This increases risks by delaying remediation. It also makes change control difficult to impossible, since there’s no practical way to check user access changes for Segregation of Duties (SoD) risk against current data. Additionally, these reports typically only sample access data, since it’s impractical to check everything by hand. Both internal fraud and external intrusions can slip by, making document-centric remediation a poor tool for both security and compliance.

Remediation efforts also tend to fail without SAP GRC access controls and process control. It’s very difficult to streamline the security model and see all the possible consequences of changing a user’s role, for example. As a result, companies often end up introducing new compliance issues, building excessively complex roles that further burden SAP GRC efforts, or both.

SAP GRC access control and process control solve these problems by automating most of the work that goes into creating audit reports, as well as detecting and remediating internal compliance issues. Output is generated directly from change logs, eliminating errors and allowing a complete review of access and business processes.

Our GRC software solutions centralize controls and evaluate changes before they are implemented, allowing users to remediate easily and prevent unintended consequences. Change control can also be automated, instantly detecting issues that could otherwise sit in the system for years, unnoticed.


What is SAP GRC Access Control?

Within the SAP environment, users are assigned roles, which give them particular privileges to access particular data and perform particular actions. SAP GRC access control governs these roles, handling both routine access within the system, and special permissions such as emergency access.

SoD is a key part of access control. Compliance regimes like Sarbanes-Oxley prohibit users from having certain combinations of privileges which can lead to fraud. For example, if a user is able to create and pay vendors, the user could use that ability to funnel money to collaborators, or simply steal money and hide their tracks through fake vendors. Therefore, businesses need to organize roles so that different users are responsible for entering vendors and payments.

Other types of access pose inherent security and compliance risks. For example, the ability to access credit card data or reconfigure the system could allow a user to do harm to a company, through theft, sabotage and negligence.

SAP GRC access control guards against both kinds of risks by controlling what users can do and recording what they are doing. The Agilos GRC software solution holds segregation of duties rules, organized in a user-friendly fashion. It examines what users can do, and automatically executes what-if analysis to determine potential compliance issues. The module generates reports and notifications, allowing managers to remediate compliance issues as they’re detected.


What is SAP GRC Process Control?

If your audits require you to spend a lot of time recreating transactions or proving that something bad didn’t happen, our Continuous Process Controls solution can be of huge help. Instead of focusing on user roles and privileges, SAP GRC process control focuses on the business processes themselves, monitoring them to ensure they’re handled correctly.

Process control gives businesses a second chance to catch problems that they may have missed in SAP GRC access control. For example, SAP has a configuration flag that allows you to prohibit duplicate invoices from being paid. However, if that duplicate check has been disabled or wasn’t configured properly in the first place, SAP process control would detect it, using the transactional checks – that is, by inspecting the actual business transactions that occurred.

Should I Outsource SAP GRC Administration?

Like anything else in IT managed services, it depends on the vendor and on your internal resources. If you have SAP GRC access control software that produces incomprehensible output, the problem probably isn’t your compliance team — it’s the software or the vendor support; if your software doesn’t provide high level overviews for executives, clear technical data for administration and multi-level access for compliance teams, switch to a product that does.

But in many cases, outsourcing SAP GRC access control and process control can save money and improve your compliance program. The right IT managed services provider can ensure your software is setup and configured properly, free your internal staff to work on more strategic projects, and provide an invaluable outside observer to prevent issues like fraud and poor change management.

Symmetry’s Security Complete PlusGRC provides total security and compliance services, taking the stress out of protecting business assets. Our highly-trained consultants are experts in SAP administration, security and compliance, providing a level of protection very few organizations could afford to hire internally. Services include 24x7x365 user administration and compliance monitoring, and comprehensive reporting across all levels of your organization.