There are three distinct types of product aimed at the
spreadsheet management market: development automation tools,
control and compliance tools, and auditor’s tools. The first
of these are about automating the development process for
spreadsheet applications but are limited to providing management
capability for new spreadsheets only. On the other hand, both
control and compliance, and auditor’s tools, are about
managing existing as well as future spreadsheets. That said,
auditor’s tools are focused almost exclusively on finding
errors and don’t do anything for security or auditing and
version control. That’s why they cost a few hundred dollars
rather than the hundreds of thousands or more than you can spend on
full control and compliance tools (which often include
auditor’s tools as well). ExSafe from ROISoft is a control
and compliance product.
However, not all control and compliance products have the same
perspective on the market. There are some that are focused on
monitoring what the user does and there are others that emphasise
compliance with specific regulations, particularly Sarbanes- Oxley.
ExSafe, on the other hand, comes from the point of view that the
first thing that needs to be done with spreadsheets is to provide
security and then you can build control and compliance on top of
that, rather than the other way around. ExSafe, then, is a control
and compliance tool with security at its heart.