Top GRC Tools & Software for 2021

Governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) software helps businesses manage all of the necessary documentation and processes for ensuring maximum productivity and preparedness. Data privacy regulations like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) can be hard to navigate for businesses of any size, but GRC tools can simplify and streamline compliance with all of the requirements. GRC tools are also useful for preventing and addressing vulnerabilities that will inevitably impact your systems, resources, and stakeholders. Further, managing the short-term and long-term policies and procedures of your organization can be challenging without an effective GRC strategy in place.

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Best GRC tools

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1 Reciprocity

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ZenGRC offers an established solution to elevate your company’s risk and compliance program to the highest infosec standards. The cloud-based SaaS solution fits your existing GRC program and evolves to guide you throughout your maturity roadmap.

Learn more about Reciprocity

2 RSA

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RSA Archer removes silos from the risk management process so that all efforts are streamlined and the information is accurate, consolidated, and comprehensive. The platform’s configurability enables users to quickly make changes with no coding or database development required. Archer was named a Leader in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for IT risk management and IT vendor risk management tools. Additionally, Forrester named it a Contender in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave.

Learn more about RSA

3 LogicManager

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LogicManager’s GRC solution has specific use cases across financial services, education, government, healthcare, retail, and technology industries, among others. Like other competitive GRC solutions, it speeds the process of aggregating and mining data, building reports, and managing files. LogicManager is lauded for its user experience and technical training and was named a Challenger in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for IT risk management. Forrester named it a Leader in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave.

Learn more about LogicManager

4 Riskonnect

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Strategic analytics (built into the platform through Riskonnect Insights) provide intelligence by surfacing, alerting, and visualizing critical risks to senior leadership. Riskonnect also boasts a tight integration with the Salesforce CRM platform. It was named a Niche Player in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for IT risk management, and Forrester named it a Strong Performer in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave.

Learn more about Riskonnect

5 SAP GRC

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SAP’s in-memory data access will give you top-of-the-line big data and predictive analytics capabilities tied to risk management. SAP was not recognized in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for IT risk management, but Forrester did name it a Contender in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave. Additionally, SAP was given the number two spot in the 2020 GRC Emotional Footprint Awards by Software Reviews for delivering outstanding customer service.

Learn more about SAP GRC

6 SAI360

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SAI360 catalogues, monitors, updates, and manages a company’s operational GRC needs. It’s specifically focused on monitoring third parties with access to your systems, automating workflows to fill any gaps you might be missing, and creating a culture of compliance best practices among your internal teams. SAI Global was named a Challenger in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for IT risk management and Forrester named it a Strong Performer in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave.

Learn more about SAI360

7 MetricStream

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MetricStream’s GRC platform is centered around three dimensions of risk: the waves of risk (financial, cyber, human health, and environmental); stakeholder engagement; and organizational agility. This kind of structuring helps you focus on what’s most important at any given moment. Gartner named MetricStream a Leader in its 2020 Magic Quadrant for IT risk management, and Forrester named it a Strong Performer in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave.

Learn more about MetricStream

8 Enablon

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While Enablon has powerful automation capabilities that reduce the need for manual processes, the product truly shines with its dashboards and reporting tools. It will analyze your data from the top-down or from the bottom-up with the click of a button and help you identify high-level trends with speed and precision. Then, you can download relevant data sets and export them as spreadsheets, PDFs, or presentations.

Learn more about Enablon

9 ServiceNow

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ServiceNow simplifies workflow management and tracking for collaboration with internal and external teams and also serves as a valuable project management tool in many cases. Its reporting tools leave something to be desired and could use improvement with its data visualization, but overall it is regarded as a powerful force in the GRC arena. As such, Gartner named it a Leader in its 2020 Magic Quadrant for IT risk management, and Forrester named it a Leader in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave.

Learn more about ServiceNow

10 StandardFusion

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StandardFusion streamlines compliance standards for multiple regulations, including GDPR, HIPAA, NIST, CCPR, and many others. Unlike some GRC vendors, StandardFusion has a very transparent pricing structure, so you won’t be surprised with hidden costs or unexpected fees at any point. Neither Gartner nor Forrester recognized StandardFusion in 2020, but it has been regarded as a valuable player in the GRC field for smaller organizations.

Learn more about StandardFusion

11 Fusion Framework

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With the Fusion Framework System, users can map their business from top to bottom and visualize relationships, dependencies, and opportunities. Its click-to-configure user interface and guided workflows make Fusion Framework very user friendly, and its integrations with other platforms add value to an already flexible tool. The product was named the 2020 Product/Service Provider of the Year by Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI) International.

Learn more about Fusion Framework

What are the components of GRC?

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Whether you have a small business or a large enterprise, governance, risk management, and compliance will play some role in your business operations and preparedness. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” and GRC strategies will thus help your business avoid failure. This happens through planning for organizational structure, vulnerability monitoring and response, and reporting requirements.

Recommended: How To Improve Governance, Risk, and Compliance

Governance management

Governance describes the top-down approach to managing your organization. Your business’s governance strategy is composed of all the policies and processes that are structured, implemented, and maintained to preserve productive relationships among all stakeholders. It creates a framework that enables your business operations to run like a well-oiled machine. It also ensures that the top officials are receiving the most accurate information needed to make decisions quickly and effectively.

Risk management

Risk management refers to the measures put in place to prevent, detect, and respond to vulnerabilities that can impact your organization from all perspectives. Specifically, risk management monitors all departments – most importantly IT, finance, and HR – to ensure your broader business goals won’t be impeded or compromised. It considers all internal risks as well as those presented by working with third-party vendors. This is important because when you choose to work with a third-party vendor, you need to make sure they can be entrusted with your organization’s information and resources. Otherwise, you may be faced with costly data breaches, operational failure, or regulation non-compliance. In addition to addressing the risks themselves, risk management also involves mitigating any consequences or potential impact on your organization’s infrastructure, resources, and stakeholders.

Compliance management

Compliance involves your business’s ability to fulfill the obligations set forth by government regulations. It relies heavily on documenting all efforts to meet relevant standards, usually concerning data protection and privacy. Some such regulations include the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the CAN-SPAM Act, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Recommended: Most Companies Are Confident in Their Compliance Controls

What is the purpose of GRC?

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GRC is more than a software platform or a set of tools. In fact, GRC is effectively a broad framework that helps with decision-making processes, emergency preparedness, and collaboration across all segments of a business. Any organization, regardless of industry or size, can benefit from a GRC strategy. It will help you optimize performance, stay up-to-date with all compliance requirements, and be proactive in preventing and addressing all threats to your organization.

To use an example of a functional GRC strategy in action, imagine a fictional retail business that sells vitamin supplements. The narrowest component, compliance, ensures that any data they collect is purposeful, the way they store the data is secure, and the way they use the data is appropriate. If they collect health information about prospective customers to match them with the right kinds of vitamins, compliance will help them meet all HIPAA requirements.

The risk management component monitors the security of the business’s infrastructure and technology, the activities of internal teams, and the suitability of prospective external partners. If there’s a phishing attempt that targets the company’s email system, the risk will be recorded, assessed, and dealt with in a way that minimizes damage to the internal systems and information. If there is damage, the risk management strategy will also help recovery efforts regarding the impacted technology and data itself as well as any reputational rehabilitation that may be required.

Perhaps most broadly, the governance component helps the business’s leadership manage the company’s success in meeting short-term and long-term goals. It provides an overview of the financial and operational status at any given moment so that all teams are aware of urgent needs or areas for improvement. It also ensures all internal policies are being upheld and enforced, like paid time off and technology use. Not only does the governance framework promote accountability and corporate integrity, but it also helps optimize the business’s performance. Overall, a GRC strategy helps make sure every action, resource, and stakeholder is aligned with the business’s broader company objectives.

Features of GRC platforms

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Most of the vendors listed above were recognized by Gartner in its 2020 Magic Quadrant for IT risk management as well as Forrester in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave. What helps these platforms gain recognition? According to Forrester, a GRC platform should have the breadth and depth to support a wide range of GRC use cases, capabilities to align GRC efforts across multiple business functions, and advanced risk analysis. Most GRC platforms employ some combination of features in the following areas to accomplish these goals:

  • Risk and control management
  • Document management
  • Policy management
  • Audit management
  • IT risk management
  • Third-party risk management
  • Risk scoring
  • Workflow
  • Dashboards and reports
  • Preconfigured and custom integration
  • End user experience

How to choose a GRC platform

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With so many GRC platforms on the market today, it can seem like a challenge to know where to begin. Thankfully, there are a few discerning factors that can separate the solution that will be best for you from the crowd.

Ease of use

As with many things, a GRC platform is effectively pointless if you can’t figure out how to use it. Once you’ve narrowed your list down to a few platforms, a demo or free trial period might help you discern which one will best match your team’s needs. Pay attention to how accessible the different features are, how everything works together, and how intuitive the platform feels as a whole.

Mobile application

In today’s mobile world, a GRC platform that offers support for all of your devices is an advantage. When you (and your team) are able to manage your organization’s governance, risk, and compliance efforts from anywhere, you can have peace of mind knowing you’ll be able to address any issues that may arise even when you’re on the go.

Delivery method

Cloud-based software is the way of the future, so you’re unlikely to find a competitive GRC platform that is not delivered as a Software as a Service (SaaS) product. Here’s why that’s important: SaaS solutions are more cost-effective, easier to implement, and much more flexible to grow alongside your business. Additionally, the SaaS GRC vendor will be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance of the platform itself, meaning your team can focus on the bigger priorities at hand.

Security

A functional GRC platform means all of your organization’s vulnerabilities and regulatory efforts are managed from one place. If that platform is compromised, that means your company’s weaknesses are at risk of being exploited. To avoid these harrowing situations, your GRC platform should include external security features like encryption and user access management. When configured correctly, these security measures will prevent costly breaches and exposures.

Cost

Obviously budget is a major consideration when implementing any kind of technology. The ROI of a GRC platform is a bit hard to measure because you don’t normally think about how well it’s working until something goes wrong. So rather than thinking about how much it costs, consider the cost of not implementing a GRC platform.

Customer support

Much like the significance of a GRC platform’s ease of use, the customer support the vendor provides will also determine how effective it is. When something breaks or isn’t working how it should, how will your team be able to fix it? Will there be dedicated support staff at the ready? Is there adequate documentation to guide the troubleshooting process? How quickly and effectively will your needs be addressed? These questions may prove useful when evaluating a platform’s customer support capabilities.

Automation

As automation takes over more and more areas of our personal and professional lives, it’s clear that any technology solution your business adopts should be able to keep up. A GRC with automation capabilities will be able to send you alerts the second a vulnerability is identified so your team can jump into action. It can also perform data validation and auditing operations in the background. This means your team won’t have to spend time on manual processes and can instead focus on long-range innovations and more impactful projects. It also ensures that the information you’re reviewing is thorough, consolidated, and free of human error.

Top GRC tools comparison

SaaS-enabled? Mobile app? 24/7 live support? Free trial? Demo? Recognized by Forrester? Recognized by Gartner?
RSA Archer Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes
LogicManager Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes
Riskonnect Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes
SAP Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No
SAI360 Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes
MetricStream Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes
Enablon Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
ServiceNow Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
StandardFusion Yes No No Yes No No No
Fusion Framework Yes Yes No Yes No No No

 

 

 

RSA Archer

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The RSA Archer Suite can be customized for organizations of all sizes and industries. It includes multi-disciplinary risk and compliance management solutions and tools, including:

  • IT & security risk management
  • Enterprise & operational risk management
  • Regulatory & corporate compliance management
  • Audit management
  • Business resiliency
  • Public sector risk management
  • Third-party governance

RSA Archer removes silos from the risk management process so that all efforts are streamlined and the information is accurate, consolidated, and comprehensive. The platform’s configurability enables users to quickly make changes with no coding or database development required. Archer was named a Leader in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for IT risk management and IT vendor risk management tools. Additionally, Forrester named it a Contender in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave.

See our in-depth look at RSA Archer.


 

 

LogicManager

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LogicManager’s GRC solution has specific use cases across financial services, education, government, healthcare, retail, and technology industries, among others. Like other competitive GRC solutions, it speeds the process of aggregating and mining data, building reports, and managing files. Its features include:

  • Enterprise risk management
  • IT governance and security
  • Compliance management
  • Third-party risk management
  • Audit management
  • Incident management
  • Policy management
  • Business continuity planning
  • Financial reporting compliance

LogicManager is lauded for its user experience and technical training and was named a Challenger in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for IT risk management. Plus, Forrester named it a Leader in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave.

See our in-depth look at LogicManager.


 

 

Riskonnect

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The Riskonnect GRC platform has specific use cases for risk management, information security, compliance, and audit professionals in healthcare, retail, insurance, financial services, and manufacturing. It integrates the governance, management, and reporting of performance, risk, and compliance activities company-wide by leveraging the following features:

  • Risk management information system
  • Claims administration
  • Internal auditing
  • Third-party risk management
  • Enterprise risk management
  • Compliance management

Strategic analytics (built into the platform through Riskonnect Insights) provide intelligence by surfacing, alerting, and visualizing critical risks to senior leadership. Riskonnect also boasts a tight integration with the Salesforce CRM platform. It was named a Niche Player in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for IT risk management, and Forrester named it a Strong Performer in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave.

See our in-depth look at Riskonnect.


SAP GRC

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For large enterprises, SAP’s GRC offering is a robust suite of tools that provide real-time visibility and control over business risks and opportunities. These modules include:

  • Process control
  • Audit management
  • Business integrity screening
  • Regulation management
  • Enterprise threat detection
  • Privacy governance and management
  • Global trade management
  • S/4HANA implementation

SAP’s in-memory data access will give you top-of-the-line big data and predictive analytics capabilities tied to risk management. One commonly noted drawback is that implementation can take longer than other GRC providers, but that’s somewhat understandable given the volume of opportunities for integration and customization. SAP was not recognized in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for IT risk management, but Forrester did name it a Contender in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave. Additionally, SAP was given the number two spot in the 2020 GRC Emotional Footprint Awards by Software Reviews for delivering outstanding customer service.

See our in-depth look at SAP GRC.


 

 

SAI360

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SAI360 from SAI Global offers three different editions of its platform to suit a variety of needs, from small businesses needing just the basics to large enterprises needing major customization. Its features include:

  • Compliance education & management
  • IT risk & cybersecurity management
  • Environment, health, and safety (EHS) management
  • Enterprise & operational risk management
  • Audit management
  • Business continuity management
  • Regulatory change management
  • Internal control
  • Vendor risk management

SAI360 catalogues, monitors, updates, and manages a company’s operational GRC needs. It’s specifically focused on monitoring third parties with access to your systems, automating workflows to fill any gaps you might be missing, and creating a culture of compliance best practices among your internal teams. SAI Global was named a Challenger in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for IT risk management and Forrester named it a Strong Performer in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave.

See our in-depth look at SAI360 GRC.


 

 

MetricStream GRC

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MetricStream’s platform is best for organizations that have unique requirements for different sets of users, including auditors, IT managers, and business executives. Its features include:

  • Enterprise & operational risk management
  • Business continuity management
  • Policy & compliance management
  • Regulatory engagement & change management
  • Case & survey management
  • Internal audit management
  • IT threat & vulnerability management
  • Third-party management

MetricStream’s GRC platform is centered around three dimensions of risk: the waves of risk (financial, cyber, human health, and environmental); stakeholder engagement; and organizational agility. This kind of structuring helps you focus on what’s most important at any given moment. Gartner named MetricStream a Leader in its 2020 Magic Quadrant for IT risk management, and Forrester named it a Strong Performer in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave.

See our in-depth look at MetricStream GRC.


 

 

Enablon GRC

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Enablon GRC is best aligned with businesses of all sizes and industries that place a strong emphasis on sustainability. The technology itself encompasses a number of tools, including:

  • Compliance management
  • Audit management
  • Inspection management
  • Document control
  • Incident management
  • Risk management
  • Internal control management
  • Internal audit management
  • Insurance & claims management
  • Business continuity management
  • Continuous assessment

While it has powerful automation capabilities that reduce—if not eliminate completely—the need for manual processes, Enablon truly shines with its dashboards and reporting tools. It will analyze your data from the top-down or from the bottom-up with the click of a button and help you identify high-level trends with speed and precision. Then, you can download relevant data sets and export them as spreadsheets, PDFs, or presentations. It has a bit of a learning curve that must be managed before it can be used to its full potential, but Forrester named it a Challenger in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave.

See our in-depth look at Enablon.


 

 

ServiceNow

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ServiceNow, as the name implies, provides exactly the insight you need now. It uses sophisticated monitoring, automation, and analysis tools to identify risks in real time so you can respond to them as efficiently as possible. Features include:

  • Policy & compliance management
  • Risk management
  • Business continuity management
  • Vendor risk management
  • Operational risk management & resilience
  • Continuous authorization & monitoring
  • Regulatory change
  • Audit management
  • Performance analytics
  • Predictive intelligence

ServiceNow simplifies workflow management and tracking for collaboration with internal and external teams and also serves as a valuable project management tool in many cases. Its reporting tools leave something to be desired and could use improvement with its data visualization, but overall it is regarded as a powerful force in the GRC arena. As such, Gartner named it a Leader in its 2020 Magic Quadrant for IT risk management, and Forrester named it a Leader in its Q1 2020 GRC Wave.

Learn more about ServiceNow.


 

 

StandardFusion

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StandardFusion is ideal for SMBs because of its accessibility, scalability, and straightforward, user-friendly interface. While it’s not the most versatile tool in this list, its core features are true to the goals of most basic GRC strategies:

  • Risk management
  • Audit management
  • Compliance management
  • Vendor & third-party assessment

It streamlines compliance standards for multiple regulations, including GDPR, HIPAA, NIST, CCPR, and many others. Unlike some GRC vendors, StandardFusion has a very transparent pricing structure, so you won’t be surprised with hidden costs or unexpected fees at any point. Neither Gartner nor Forrester recognized StandardFusion in 2020, but it has been regarded as a valuable player in the GRC field for smaller organizations.

Learn more StandardFusion.


 

 

Fusion Framework System

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The Fusion Framework System is built on Salesforce Lightning, so it’s an ideal solution for organizations that are already using the newest Salesforce interface. Its features include:

  • Enterprise & operational risk management
  • Third-party management
  • Business continuity management
  • IT disaster recovery management
  • Crisis & incident management

With the Fusion Framework System, users can map their business from top to bottom and visualize relationships, dependencies, and opportunities. Its click-to-configure user interface and guided workflows make Fusion Framework very user friendly, and its integrations with other platforms add value to an already flexible tool. Neither Gartner nor Forrester recognized Fusion Framework in 2020, but it was named the 2020 Product/Service Provider of the Year by Disaster Recovery Institute (DRI) International.

Learn more about Fusion Framework System.

 

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Kaiti Norton
Kaiti Norton is a Nashville-based Content Writer for eSecurity Planet, Webopedia, and Small Business Computing. She is passionate about helping brands build genuine connections with their customers through relatable, research-based content.

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