Tuesday Nov 05, 2013

Securing Flexfield Value Sets in EBS 12.2

Separation of Duties in Flexfield Value Set Security

Release 12.2 includes a new feature: flexfield value set security.

This new feature gives you additional options for ensuring that different administrators have non-overlapping responsibilities, which in turn provides checks and balances for sensitive activities.  Separation of Duties (SoD) is one of the key concepts of internal controls and is a requirement for many regulations including:

  • Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • European Union Data Protection Directive.
Its primary intent is to put barriers in place to prevent fraud or theft by an individual acting alone. Implementing Separation of Duties requires minimizing the possibility that users could modify data across application functions where the users should not normally have access.

For flexfields and report parameters in Oracle E-Business Suite, values in value sets can affect functionality such as the rollup of accounting data, job grades used at a company, and so on. Controlling access to the creation or modification of value set values can be an important piece of implementing Separation of Duties in an organization.

New Flexfield Value Set Security feature

Flexfield value set security allows system administrators to restrict users from viewing, adding or updating values in specific value sets. Value set security enables role-based separation of duties for key flexfields, descriptive flexfields, and report parameters. For example, you can set up value set security such that certain users can view or insert values for any value set used by the Accounting Flexfield but no other value sets, while other users can view and update values for value sets used for any flexfields in Oracle HRMS. You can also segregate access by Operating Unit as well as by role or responsibility.

Value set security uses a combination of data security and role-based access control in Oracle User Management. Flexfield value set security provides a level of security that is different from the previously-existing and similarly-named features in Oracle E-Business Suite:

  • Function security controls whether a user has access to a specific page or form, as well as what operations the user can do in that screen.
  • Flexfield value security controls what values a user can enter into a flexfield segment or report parameter (by responsibility) during routine data entry in many transaction screens across Oracle E-Business Suite.
  • Flexfield value set security (this feature, new in Release 12.2) controls who can view, insert, or update values for a particular value set (by flexfield, report, or value set) in the Segment Values form (FNDFFMSV).
The effect of flexfield value set security is that a user of the Segment Values form will only be able to view those value sets for which the user has been granted access. Further, the user will be able to insert or update/disable values in that value set if the user has been granted privileges to do so.  Flexfield value set security affects independent, dependent, and certain table-validated value sets for flexfields and report parameters.

Initial State of the Feature upon Upgrade

Because this is a new security feature, it is turned on by default.  When you initially install or upgrade to Release 12.2.2, no users are allowed to view, insert or update any value set values (users may even think that their values are missing or invalid because they cannot see the values).  You must explicitly set up access for specific users by enabling appropriate grants and roles for those users.

We recommend using flexfield value set security as part of a comprehensive Separation of Duties strategy. However, if you choose not to implement flexfield value set security upon upgrading to or installing Release 12.2, you can enable backwards compatibility--users can access any value sets if they have access to the Values form--after you upgrade.

The feature does not affect day-to-day transactions that use flexfields.  However, you must either set up specific grants and roles or enable backwards compatibility before users can create new values or update or disable existing values.

For more information, see:

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