As the world moves steadily to adopt digital technologies in all life aspects, the need for various regulations to govern the storage, processing, and transfer of people's data becomes increasingly important. The ongoing spread of coronavirus disease has forced most organizations to adopt the remote work model. In this new working scenario, employees access corporate resources remotely using personal computing devices; such devices are not secure enough compared with work devices. On the other hand, the increasing adoption of cloud services will make an organization's data scattered across various geographical locations. The new emerging work model has put organizations under tremendous pressure to remain compliant with the various global regulatory requirements imposed to protect users' data when operating in cyberspace.

During the year 2020 and since the start of 2021, digital transformation has witnessed a considerable boost globally. According to aimultiple, digital transformation market size is expected to grow to $3.3 trillion by 2025. The same report found that 89% of all companies have already adopted or plan to adopt a digital-first business strategy or plan to do so. To continue operating safely and secure business growth while adopting digital technologies, organizations need to comply with stated policies, standards, laws, regulations enforced by the different compliance bodies.

Compliance is an essential component of any cybersecurity program; their requirements vary and involve meeting different controls imposed by a regulatory body that can be a private or public entity or meet the law requirements of a country or group of EU GDPR. The purpose of compliance is to protect the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of user's data.

Each industry and even business sector have its compliance requirements; however, as a rule of thumb, all these requirements focus on safeguarding users' data and preventing unauthorized access to sensitive information by unauthorized parties by using various security controls, technologies, and organizational processes.

The increased number and complexity of compliance regulations require a program to automate parts of governance, risk, and compliance activities very important.

This article will introduce four GRC programs; two are free to help small organizations with low budgets to get the benefits of using a GRC tool. However, before we begin listing the tools, it is essential to understand what is meant by GRC software and explore its main benefits.

What is GRC software?

Governance risk management and compliance software (GRC) is a software solution used to help organizations manage and run IT-related operations and processes that require adhering to regulations to meet compliance requirements and risk standards.

GRC programs are commonly developed to help organizations automate compliance requirements in the following work operations: strategy, processes, technology, and people (employees and clients).

What benefits GRC tools bring to your business?

  • Conduct internal audit more efficiently
  • Streamline business processes
  • Incorporate digital transformation in different work processes
  • Improve incident response plan
  • Streamline internal communications
  • Improve the decision-making process making it more efficient and robust
  • Gain an immediate notification when a particular compliance regulation change
  • Mitigate different security risks by implementing strict controls and procedures to protect sensitive data and other digital assets.

GRC tools

The focus of this article will be on mentioning open source GRC tools. Here are the most popular four tools.

  1. Fusion Risk Management: This is a cloud-based program that lies on top of the Salesforce platform. It helps organizations speed their digital transformation efforts in governance, risk, and compliance programs by integrating various business processes and people under one platform. Fusion Risk offers rich features such as enterprise risk management, operational risk management, third-party management, business continuity, and IT disaster recovery management, in addition to crisis and incident management.

  2. Redmine: This is an open-source web application for project management. It has rich features that streamline audit management and internal communications within an organization. Such as multiple projects and subprojects support, flexible role-based access control, issue tracking system, time tracking functionality, news, documents & files sharing, per project wiki and forums, repository browser and diff viewer, feeds & email notifications in addition to its support to different languages and databases types (e.g., MySQL, PostgreSQL or SQLite).

  3. OTRS: This is a service management software that efficiently streamlines internal and external communications. OTRS main features include; automation of tickets and work processes, ready task templates to avoid errors, customized process templates for recurring workflows, high account security features such as Two-factor authentication and end-to-end encryption, multi­channel communi­cation such as live chat and email, telephone, or SMS in addition to contact via social media channels.

  1. OpenVAS (Open Vulnerability Assessment Scanner): This is a widespread vulnerability scanner for discovering security vulnerabilities and configuration errors in networking and computer devices, servers, and web applications. OpenVAS was banished from the last free version of Nessus after that tool went commercial in 2005.


A report published by deloitte found that 85% of surveyed organizations said they would benefit from utilizing technology for GRC activities. This article introduces the term GRC tool, appreciates its importance, and gives four popular tools (two of them are free) to automate many GRC functions.

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