2.1 Why the term “access risk catalog”?
An access risk catalog is the object that contains all the rules defined for analyzing authorizations via any tool. However, let us explain why we like to use this exact term.
2.1.1 Why “access”?
Access because we are talking about rules that can analyze authorizations. In other words: Who has access to certain data or functionalities? To use the term risk catalog only is misleading, as we are talking about risks in a specific sense, rather than in a general sense, such as a fire in a plant/office building, currency fluctuation, energy crisis, etc.
2.1.2 Why “risk”?
Risk because the key purpose of the catalog is to identify risky access to an IT system.
Alternative terms are sometimes used. For example, the goal of analyzing access within an SAP system is not always to evaluate regulatory risks. We often recommend analyzing authorizations for information with the goal of obtaining a certain level of transparency for data or role owners (see also Section 1.1.3). An analysis may also be used to support the execution of internal controls for example, to comply with an audit requirement regarding the listing of persons who have posting authorization to a specific account. In these instances, you may have seen the term rule or even analysis used instead of risk.
However, as the term risk is much more common when talking about GRC tools and analysis of access, we regard this as the best term to use for common understanding.
2.1.3 Why “catalog”?
Catalog since it is the complete list of defined risks.
Again, alternative terms are sometimes used. The term ruleset is often used in software tools for grouping risks to structure them or for a specific purpose (e.g., GDPR, external audit). A risk can usually be assigned to more than one ruleset, so in our view, the term is more useful as an attribute of a risk (see also Section 2.2.2) but not as a term for the whole content of the risk database.
Therefore, database would also fit. However, this is a very technical term and we decided against it because when communicating with business users, it just does not feel right.
Another alternative term used is matrix. For us, this implies a combination of functionalities that results in a violation of segregation of duties (SoD), even more so the terms SoD matrix or SoD ruleset. As there are many single functionalities that we should monitor, we do not regard the term as appropriate for the complete content of a risk database, only for those SoD risks.
This is why we use the term catalog within our projects. It is neutral with regard to content, use cases, and the goal of the analysis.
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