7 Reasons Why I’m Excited About the RSA Archer 6.7 Release (and You Should Be Too)
Posted on 11 Nov 2019 by John McDonald
Jimmy Doctor is a CISSP, CISM, GRCP, MBA, an eGRC Practice manager for TUV OpenSky, and a leading partner in Archer Services and Sales
As an end user of RSA Archer, an enterprise governance risk and compliance (eGRC) Program Director for a Fortune 50 company, and now an eGRC Practice Manager for a boutique consulting firm, I have gained valuable experience and insight into what customers are looking for in the eGRC realm.
Prior to this year, there were questions about how RSA was going to continue to innovate on the RSA Archer Platform, and what they would be doing to keep the platform up to date compared to their competition.
Attending RSA Charge this year, I saw firsthand the new changes that are coming in the next release (6.7) and beyond. In my numerous years of attending RSA Archer conferences, I have never felt as excited as I do today with regards to the future of RSA Archer and eGRC.
I know I am not alone when I say I was thrilled to see RSA take what were the top enhancement requests on their customers’ wish list and place most of them on the immediate horizon for delivery. Furthermore, they demonstrated that they are thinking outside the box by using new technologies to anticipate and innovate for their customers’ future needs.
For those of you who couldn’t make it to RSA Charge this year, I would like to share with you some of the exciting enhancements that are here in RSA Archer 6.7. For those of you who did make it, I hope that you find the following summary useful.
Key tasks are now front and center to create a more simplified interface emphasizing what the user needs to focus on. The infamous ‘mega menu’ has been replaced. Instead, it has been broken down into header and navigation sub menus. Furthermore, one can now collapse the header navigation, quick links bar, and global header for more real estate. Administrators can now enable six columns on dashboards versus the previous two for greater variability and configurability. One of the more subtle but useful changes is that multiple environments can be easily labeled using the Environment Bar for quick identification by end users and administrators.
Changes to header sections of records now provide a crisper feel of the respective options. The Edit- View toggling option is simplified for going back and forth between modes. Lastly, applications with Advanced Workflow will now show stages of the workflow so users can quickly identify where in the stages of workflow the record is sitting.
Page Load Performance
Load times of pages within the platform and the performance of search results were pain points customers previously experienced. Though Elasticsearch was deployed to RSA Archer in a previous release, RSA is now utilizing Elasticsearch’s content indexing and search features to allow search results to load considerably faster than in the past. Furthermore, the search cluster can now be decoupled from the instance level. Customers no longer need one for each instance and can use a single cluster across all instances. To address page load times, RSA is allowing customers to use caching platforms for quicker page loads. Integrations with Redis (open source), ‘SoSS’-Scale Out State Server (licensed) reduce the number of trips the application has to make to the DB. This has added benefits in that both innovations take considerable load off the platform’s database transactions, freeing the database up to perform other tasks.
RSA has enabled APIs to be used for creating homegrown package deployment utilities, enhancing the ability to connect with third party package scheduling and deployment software for automated deployment of packages.
Major Improvements to Charting
On every customer’s wish list was modernization of the charting capability within the RSA Archer Platform. Starting with 6.7, RSA replaced their charting engine with a more modern one, allowing for more chart types and new features such as interactivity and chart-to-chart drill down, to enable a crisp new look. Many of the charts that exist today will be supported and automatically convert into the new appearance. New charts include: area charting, tree mapping, sunburst, combination charts and various others. The new charts also allow for much greater interactivity by the end user with the data without editing the chart itself. Users can now dynamically remove data sets and redraw charts to focus in on areas of interest. Featured metrics can highlight KPIs or KRIs that are number based whose colors can change based upon predefined rules. Lastly, plotting multiple axes on one plot is now supported.
Updates to Data Gateway
With 6.7, RSA has added functionality that simplifies implementation and serviceability of the Data Gateway which allows writing of data into external systems and creating views of external data without pulling it into RSA Archer. RSA created the Data Gateway RESTful API suite that provides the ability to configure Data Gateway. Additionally, the requirement to engage RSA professional services on Data Gateway implementations has been removed. On-premises, customers can configure Data Gateway by using the new Data Gateway documentation provided in RSA Archer 6.7.
New Roles for Greater Separation of Duties
Often, business needs dictate that an Application Administrator be granted the ability to configure the application. Or perhaps that a power-user needs to be able to see all of the data in the application. In the past this generated an audit concern if these roles did not have the express need to both configure the application and see all of the data. Now two roles exist to address this need. The ‘Content Administrator’ will be allowed to see all the data but not configure the application. The ‘Configuration Administrator’ will be allowed to configure the platform but will not be able to see all the data.
Lastly, some important changes are coming to ODA licensing. If you have not checked out this topic in the RSA community, I would encourage you to do so and participate in the discussion.
There is a lot to be excited for with regards to the RSA Archer 6.7 release. RSA is also keeping up the momentum, with even better changes on the horizon. I look forward to providing similar detail in the future as those features and options hit General Availability.
What is your favorite enhancement in 6.7? Do you have any questions about the 6.7 release? Feel free to email me: email@example.com.