Friday, October 30, 2009

CA GRC Manager adds IT GRC focus

Earlier last week, CA sent out a fairly lengthy press release with a list of products they've updated. The 2 products that caught my eye were GRC Manager 2.5 and DLP 12.0. This post covers GRC Manager.

Back in February, I spoke to CA about their 2.0 release of GRC Manager. Then, it was all about what they called RiskIQ and turning raw data into useful information to better manage risk and compliance. To me, version 2.0 marked the real arrival of CA as a GRC vendor to contend with because it showed they were serious and that the 1.0 version wasn't a flash-in-the-pan-side-project they thought they'd try out to see what would happen.

Late last week, I spoke with Marc Camm (SVP & GM, Governance, Risk and Compliance Products) and Tom McHale (VP of Product Management for CA GRC Manager) to see what they had to say about the new release.

The message that came through loud and clear was that version 2.5 is very much about IT GRC. If you're interested in specific new features (I don't normally do this but since it was a long press release), here's the relevant section lifted directly from CA's press release:
  • Automated Questionnaires - Allows customers to easily create, distribute, and analyze the results of questionnaires for risk and compliance controls assessments.
  • Robust Reporting Engine - Provides a set of pre-defined, role-based reports, as well as easily configured reports for local needs.
  • Ongoing IT Controls Monitoring - Automates input of IT controls status information into CA GRC Manager and provides a single view of overall IT risk and compliance profiles.
  • Extensions to IT Control Framework - Supports mapping between individual controls and authority documents, featuring a library of more than 400 regulations with mappings to IT controls from the Unified Compliance Framework.
  • Streamlined Management of Select FISMA Requirements - Offers a centrally managed information security system with extensive dashboards and reports, providing instant, comprehensive information about controls and processes related to Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) requirements.

The new features and focus on IT GRC came about through feedback the product management team gathered from existing GRC Manager customers. Reading between the lines, it also looks like CA tried to make version 2.5 of the product much more usable (I'm in no way suggesting 1.0 was not usable).

Some examples mentioned include:
  • Dashboards improvements to allow for better navigation between risks, controls, application contexts etc.
  • Standard, pre-configured roles included out of the box for better support from day one. In a way this could be viewed as "best practice" roles for controlling access to various parts of the application and actions performed.
  • Extended functionality within the reporting engine to allow users to customise pre-built (out of the box) reports without having to build their own from scratch all the time.
The addition of FISMA requirements and extended Unified Compliance Framework support are further evidence of this.

That's not to say there isn't any work to be done from an implementation standpoint. It's a GRC product. Anyone who thinks you can implement a GRC product without a good amount of internal effort (and external help) is delusional. What I think CA's tried to do is make GRC Manager more of an enabler for Enterprise GRC; in other words, they want to help fast-track efforts by providing as much up front as possible.

One thing that's interested me for some time is the notion of managed services (I even ran a survey to try to find out more). As a result, I couldn't help but ask Marc and Tom whether any of their customers actually use CA GRC Manager On Demand (the hosted version of the product). Apparently 20% (I won't hold CA to this number as it was just a rough figure) of their customers use GRC Manager in this capacity with a bunch of others wanting to migrate.

The fact that this version still starts with a "2" isn't lost on me. It's not a major release in the traditional sense, but CA added enough features to warrant them making some noise about it. I'll be interested to see what version 3 holds, but I'm even more interested in the percentage of customers that end up going with GRC Manager On Demand in the next release.

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