This article will help you quickly compare and evaluate the best governance risk and compliance platforms (AKA a GRC platform) and other tools for compliance and risk management. In this post, I’ll provide a simple GRC tools comparison and tell you what you should look for in GRC software vendors.
GRC Tools FAQ
Have some questions about governance and compliance? Check out this handy FAQ before moving on to the tool summaries.
Governance risk management and compliance software (GRC Software) is a means for publicly-held enterprises to manage IT-related operations that require regulation and ensure they are meeting compliance and risk standards. Risk navigation software tends to center around four components: strategy, processes, technology, and people.
The right GRC tool can help publicly-owned companies:
- Increase their value by providing preventative strategy
- Generate fast reporting so that decisions can be made more swiftly and surely
- Detect exceptions in order to reduce damage as quickly as possible
- Automate detective controls for increased efficiently
- Reduce compliance costs going forward
- Get real-time alerts if/when regulations change
- Shorten audit cycles
Most GRC tools will have some degree of the following features: content management; document management; user event input/output, distribution, and communication; risk analytics; risk and control management; workflow management; audit management; and dashboards and reporting.
Robust GRC software will typically cost upward of $200,000 for software, hardware, and implementation. GRC costs may reach as high as $600,000.
Yes! For example, Eramba and OCEG state on their websites that they have open source solutions.
Not looking for compliant risk management software? Check out our other lists of useful project management tools:
- Need some alternative risk management help? We do a risk management software comparison here with additional helpful solutions.
- Enterprise Project Management will typically involve some form of comprehensive risk control. Check out a few enterprise project management software platforms.
- Risk and compliance tools should be just another item in your Business Process toolkit. You may want to consider business process management systems to stay organized.
GRC Tools Criteria
What are we looking for when we select tools for review? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive?
- Usability: Is it easy to learn and master? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training?
- Features & Functionality:
- Risk Analysis– Can the software analyze and assess risks and provide suggestions for future mitigation?
- Compliance Database – Does the tool track and teach compliance initiatives in a way that keeps each team informed and on track?
- Auditing Tools – Is the software built for appropriate financial, resource, or procedure audits as needed?
- Reporting and analytics – Are the reporting tools robust, customizable, flexible, and visually appealing? Can they be exported into popular files types for review?
- Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations?
- Value for $: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent, and flexible?
About Managing Risk In Information Systems
Managing risk in IT is the process by which companies navigate potential uncertainty and damages using software and tools specifically designed to help do so. IT GRC tools may help determine and mitigate risks associated with the use, ownership, operation, involvement, influence, and adoption of IT within a company and for all the users involved.
Risk governance in IT is generally considered to be one part of a larger, all-encompassing risk management strategy for the enterprise. IT risk management may involve being able to define digital assets, having the ability to apply and monitor controls over IT systems, determine risks based on business criticality or technical severity, imagine and evaluate various remediation options, and set risk thresholds for IT processes.
Information technology is constantly changing—evolving in scope, capabilities, and the laws that surround it. In that sense, compliance control is vital to ensure your processes are always up-to-date, particularly around security and privacy protocols.
Overviews Of The GRC Tools
Here’s a brief description of each of the most popular compliance software that is featured on this top 10 list. Use this summary as a simple GRC software comparison before making the choice on what tool to pay for.
1. Fusion Framework System – Best GRC tool for dependency visualization
Fusion Risk Management is a cloud-based, operational resilience software that functions on top of the Salesforce platform. The Fusion Framework helps organizations accelerate digital transformation of their governance, risk, and compliance programs by integrating data, systems, people, processes, services, and more under one platform.
The tool allows users to visualize their business, products, and services from a customer perspective, creating a map of day-to-day functions within your business. Through dependency visualization, organizations can recognize impacts and view relationships based on risks, processes, applications, and third-parties. Fusion also includes features for incident management and risk assessment.
The Fusion Framework adapts to changing priorities and methodologies used for any GRC program. Organizations can use Fusion’s software for compliance management, as well as aligning to industry standards and regulations, improving visibility through predictive analytics, and increasing company engagement through automation.
The software is configurable through clicks, not code, and the guided workflow functionality makes it simple for any end-user to use the system.
Fusion Framework System’s integrations include Everbridge’s emergency notification system and risk intelligence platform, Send Word Now, Onsolve, and ServiceNow.
Pricing for Fusion Risk Management is available upon request.
- Customizable to meet the needs of any organization
- Streamlines approach to developing plan and mapping components
- Ability to draw data from multiple points around the organization and identify previously unknown gaps
- Lack of transparency on pricing
- Not intended for use by small businesses
2. StandardFusion – Best GRC tool for internal audits
StandardFusion was built to make GRC more approachable and accessible for all businesses while reducing risk and disruption before it occurs. Whether you’re new to the practice or an expert, StandardFusion is one of the more flexible GRC tools on the market and can be used by SMB and enterprises.
The tool has a simplistic and powerful interface. Navigating within the software is straightforward and you can get anywhere you need in just a few clicks. Even users with limited knowledge of the software will catch on quickly with its intuitive layout. They also offer in-depth product training sessions and user guides. Technical support, in-person training, and dedicated success managers are all accessible as well.
StandardFusion’s modules allow users to efficiently manage their risks and compliance programs in a single location. You can assess and track the impact and likelihood of individual risks, mitigating actions, and summarize their outcomes using the report generator.
The software functions using a single set of common controls where users can create, manage, and monitor their controls and security programs to ensure compliance across multiple frameworks. With versatile auditing capabilities, you can perform both internal audits and track external audits to monitor compliance.
The software is framework agnostic and can manage compliance to multiple frameworks, including: ISO27001, SOC2, PCI DSS, NIST, FedRAMP, HIPAA and CCPA. StandardFusion has multiple existing integrations including: Jira, Confluence, Slack, OpenID, DUO, and Google Authenticator. We also have the option for single sign-on, integrations with UCF, and access to our API.
A final standout aspect of this tool is the transparent pricing structure, which can be tough to find in an enterprise-grade tool. Pricing terms are laid out upfront with no surprises. All plans grant users access to the full functionality of the platform, with additional included features and integrations as the plans scale.
StandardFusion pricing starts at $750/two users/month.
3. IBM OpenPages – Best enterprise GRC tool
Used by the likes of industry titan General Motors, IBM OpenPages with Watson provides core services and functional components that span operational risk, policy and compliance, financial controls management, IT governance, and internal audit.
Although any per-user cost can get unruly as the team grows, IBM OpenPages has a flexible cost that could work well for smaller groups that need to temper their spending. The yearly fee is reasonable enough that it scored them high marks in the Value for Cost evaluation.
One downside of this software to note is that it can be a bit slow to implement risk assessments, create and log issues, and setting up workflow automation. All-in-all, your users will need patience when using this tool.
IBM OpenPages costs from $272/user/year and has a free demo.
4. ServiceNow Governance Risk and Compliance – Best GRC automation tool
ServiceNow was named a Leader in the 2019 Magic Quadrant for Integrated Risk Management. This GRC tool helps to drive a culture of risk management with a unified data environment by giving the front line easy access to insights and tasks via chat, mobile apps, and portals.
The Reporting and Analytics features for ServiceNow are thorough and intuitive to use, offering great flexibility for whatever metrics you need to track. Thus, they scored well in this section of the Features & Functions evaluation criteria.
A con to note is that the ServiceNow Governance Risk and Compliance software could use some sprucing up when it comes to their reporting tools, which lack advanced filters and would do well to broaden its available data visualization schemes. But as you can see from the above screenshot, it does have some very easy-to-read graphics to help you visualize basic data.
ServiceNow Governance Risk and Compliance offers custom pricing upon request and has a free demo.
5. SAI Global Compliance 360 – Best GRC tool for flexibility and customization
This GRC tool enables a vantage point for third-party business disruptions. It also delivers enhanced UI and intuitive-to-navigate experience along with some robust risk intelligence reports.
SAI Global Compliance 360 excels in a few noteworthy features: A) the ability to execute company-wide training on current policies and procedures, and B) automating critical workflow steps for permissions, etc, in order to hold people accountable.
As far as navigation and ease of use is considered, SAI Global Compliance 360 is a bit complex and cluttered. Users may feel like they have to execute multiple clicks for tasks that should take one or two. So, they lost a few evaluation points in the Usability criteria section.
If you are looking for the perfect GRC fit, know that SAI Global Compliance 360 is a hugely flexible product; ask their support team to help customize exactly what you need.
SAI Global Compliance 360 offers custom pricing upon request and has a free demo.
6. Navex Global RiskRate – Best GRC tool for risk management
RiskRate automatically screens your third party risks against the world’s largest risk intelligence database: more than 500 regulatory lists, 200,000 unique media publications, 1.5 million politically exposed persons (PEPs), and more than 8 million adverse media profiles.
Navex Global RiskRate has the modern flare and organization of sleek, contemporary software. Users of any experience level will be comfortable and familiar with this type of interface, which scored them favorably in the UX section of the evaluation.
A con to note is that determining redundancy/duplicate items or documents falls on the user, rather than being sorted by the software protocols, which will add time spent via manual intervention.
Navex Global RiskRate costs from $5000/year and has a free demo.
7. Enablon – Best GRC reporting tool
Enablon is a GRC software designed to facilitate top-down and bottom-up approaches for risk identification. Analyze risks by using bow-tie functionality to determine causes and consequences, and define preventive and mitigating controls.
A few things that Enablon excels at is their ability to handle large databases with ease and download your data in Excel, PDF, or even PowerPoint. Plus, their tools for setting reminders/notifications for expiring permits are helpful.
Enablon lacks a bit in Usability, per the evaluation criteria, as the auditing tools can be a bit convoluted; additionally, forms could be more flexible, as many lack copy-paste functionality and other expected features.
If you need reliable reports and dashboards, Enablon goes above and beyond to capture information from all modules and cut down on data analysis time.
Enablon offers custom pricing upon request and has a free demo.
8. Riskonnect – Best GRC tool for usability and user experience
Riskonnect is a global leader in integrated risk management technology and the world’s largest RMIS provider. It seamlessly consolidates data from multiple sources, automates routine processes, and uses analytics to turn complicated information into actionable intelligence.
Riskonnect has extensive resources for training, scoring them well in the Usability category of the evaluation. They have a robust customer care department with many ways to reach them, a blog with case studies and testimonials about industry leaders, and a webinar series.
A critique of the Riskonnect software is that some of the features open to Admins are a bit clunky and difficult to use.
This solution empowers GRC professionals to create audit plans, store important documents, and summarize any resulting data easily.
Riskonnect offers custom pricing upon request and has a free demo.
9. SAP GRC – Best GRC tool for first-party integrations
SAP GRC lets users integrate GRC processes on a common technology platform. Features include risk strategy and planning; a unified repository for process control information; audit planning, management, and performance; and exception detection and compliance checks.
SAP offers myriad first-party products and services available to integrate with their core GRC system. Users can customize the package they want and only pay for what they need. Thus, they scored well in the Integration segment of the evaluation.
A downside of the software is that it takes a while for implementation and training, leaving users to cope with a steep learning curve and minimal assistance-giving resources.
Users will enjoy the solution’s sophisticated way of producing a global repository, which is crucial for smooth GRC processes.
SAP GRC costs from $500-15,000 per license and has a free demo.
10. Nasdaq BWise – Best GRC tool for visibility and oversight
This integrated suite of compliance solutions—powered by BWise technology—is designed to optimize your regulatory compliance program. Collect, access, transfer, or share data assets and safeguard data privacy and data protection with the BWise GDPR Compliance Solution.
Nasdaq BWise does a lot of things well but there are a few standout features I want to note here, like its friendly customizability options that allow users to navigate different, unique compliance initiatives across the organization. Additionally, the integration with TeamMate is helpful for testing purposes.
The user interface is a bit gloomy and the organization of the data is quite stiff; though it does the trick, it looks neither modern nor appealing. Thus, Nasdaq BWise lost a few marks in the UX segment of the evaluation criteria.
A special shout-out goes to BWise’s seamless tracking of audit testing and results; if audits are giving you grief, this solution can help.
Nasdaq BWise offers pricing upon request and has a free demo.
The Best GRC Tools Summary Chart
Other Options for GRC Tools
Here’s a few more that didn’t make the top list. If you need additional suggestions for handy compliance management tools, check these out.
- RSA Archer – Best GRC tool for IT teams
- Onspring – Best for managing vendor risk
- Reciprocity ZenGRC – Best GRC tool for corporate security and visibility into defense mechanisms
- Dataminr – Best GRC tool for AI capabilities
- Resolver – Best GRC tool for information security
- Donesafe – Best for managing environment and workplace safety
- Seismic – Best GRC tool for ensuring adherence to brand and regulatory guidelines
- LogicGate – Best GRC tool for cross-department collaboration
- Refinitiv Connected Risk – Best for GRC workflow management
- Apptega – Best for cybersecurity compliance
- Procipient – Best GRC tool for audit scheduling and management
- Galvanize – Best GRC tool for government organizations
- Aylien – Best for risk management using data from the news and other media
- Fixnix FreshGRC – Best for real-time monitoring
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What Do You Think About This GRC Tools List?
Have you tried out any risk compliance performance solutions listed above? Is there any governance risk and compliance software you would add to this list?