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Is your business located in Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio – essentially, anywhere in the Lone Star State – and you need to have a SOC 1 SSAE 18 audit performed, then take note of the following information, courtesy of NDNB, Texas’ leading providers of SSAE 18 SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 regulatory compliance assessments.

NDNB also offers comprehensive SOC 1 and SOC 2 audits for businesses using Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google GCP.  And if you're using AWS for hosting of your production environment, here's what you need to know NOW about SOC 2 audits.

Essential Points You Need to Know About SSAE 18 SOC 1 Audits

Start with a SSAE 18 SOC 1 Scoping & Readiness Assessment. New to the world of SSAE 18 SOC 1 compliance? Unsure as to where to begin in terms of assessing your internal controls? Need assistance with identifying gaps, deficiencies, and areas of concern? All signs therefore point to performing an SSAE 18 SOC 1 scoping & readiness assessment by a qualified, competent CPA firm, such as NDNB.

When completed, your assessment will have successfully identified all gaps and constraints, provided a formal roadmap for achieving compliance, along with offering numerous best practices for ensuring the safety and security of critical organizational assets. Performing such an assessment is a win-win, so contact NDNB today to learn more.

Be Mindful of Remediation that Will Have to be Performed. Having a picture perfect, completely compliant, 100% full-proof set of internal controls is what every business strives for, but the truth is that rarely does this occur. Because of this, every business – and we mean “every business” – should expect some degree of remediation to be undertaken.

Businesses in Denver and all throughout Colorado and the Rockies can now gain a comprehensive introduction and overview of SOC 1 SSAE 18 audits, courtesy of NDNB, Colorado’s leading provider of SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 assessments. With regulatory compliance mandates growing larger and larger each year for Colorado businesses – especially when it comes to SOC 1 SSAE 18 compliance, SOC 2, PCI DSS, FISMA, HIPAA, and ISO mandates – a proven and trusted firm is needed for navigating the rough waters of compliance.

NDNB also offers comprehensive SOC 1 and SOC 2 audits for businesses using Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google GCP.  And if you're using AWS for hosting of your production environment, here's what you need to know NOW about SOC 2 audits.

NDNB is that very firm, offering exceptional service and fixed fee pricing on all engagements. Colorado’s tech industry is experiencing massive growth – which is great for our state – but it also means large regulatory compliance mandates are looming just around the corner, so get prepared and talk to the experts today at NDNB.

We’re a Household Name in the Rockies for Regulatory Compliance

NDB has spent years offering regulatory compliance services and solutions to businesses all throughout the state of Colorado, and with the growing technology corridor in Denver and Boulder, our services are expanding also. Whatever your compliance needs are, from SOC 1, SOC 2 and SOC 3 audits to FISMA compliance, we’ll be with you every step of the way for ensuring an efficient and comprehensive audit process from beginning to end – that’s the NDNB difference.

NDNB offers both SSAE 18 SOC 1 & SOC 2 audit reports – at fixed fees – for payroll companies throughout North America, and select international regions. The growth in regulatory compliance for payroll companies has ushered in yet another wave of audit demands, with many such companies choosing either the SOC 1 and/or the SOC 2 standard for service organization reporting.

Payroll companies have always been on the front line of regulatory compliance as they handle highly sensitive and confidential information, along with conducting critical batch processing initiatives for clients. Because of this, the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of the entire payroll processing platform is what’s often tested for compliance with SOC 1 & SOC 2 audits.

NDNB also offers comprehensive SOC 1 and SOC 2 audits for businesses using Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google GCP.  And if you're using AWS for hosting of your production environment, here's what you need to know NOW about SOC 2 audits.

A background on SOC 1 SSAE 18 compliance ultimately requires an understanding and introduction to the AICPA Service Organization Control (SOC) framework and the concept of ICFR; Internal Controls over Financial Reporting. SSAE 16 – short for Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements number 16, effectively replaced the antiquated and often misused historical SAS 70 auditing standard. Then, SSAE 16 itself was superseded by SSAE 18 for SOC reports dated on or after May 1, 2017.  Now’s the time for you to develop a clearer and more wide-ranging sense of what, exactly, SSAE 16 is and requires.

There are two important points you should be aware of as you navigate the challenging new landscape of SOC compliance in the SOC 1 SSAE 18 era. First, SOC 1 SSAE 18 is part of the AICPA SOC framework, and, second, SOC 1 SSAE 18 assessments are performed on service organizations exhibiting a true and credible nexus to the ICFR concept.

NDNB also offers comprehensive SOC 1 and SOC 2 audits for businesses using Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google GCP.  And if you're using AWS for hosting of your production environment, here's what you need to know NOW about SOC 2 audits.

Getting Familiar with the AICPA SOC Framework

What is the SOC framework? With so many service organizations appearing on the financial market with various requirements for reporting, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (often known by its acronym, AICPA) engineered a wide-ranging platform called Service Organization Control reports, or SOC for short. This all-encompassing platform is comprised of three different kinds of reports, known as SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3, respectively. Each of these offer service organizations a powerful and – most importantly, flexible – tool for describing the numerous factors at play in creating the economic landscape around their organization.

System and Organization Controls (SOC) 1 reports are performed in accordance with Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 18.  SSAE 18 has essentially replaced the aging and historical SAS 70 and SSAE 16 auditing standards for reporting periods dated on or after May 1, 2017. Much like SAS 70, SSAE 18 provides two (2) reporting options; Type 1 a service organization's system and the suitability of the design of controls", while a SOC 1 SSAE 18 Type 2 Report is officially a "Report on management's description of a service organization's system and the suitability of the design and operating effectiveness of controls".

A SOC 1 SSAE 18 Type 2 data center compliance checklist is essential for ensuring your facility fundamentally comprehends and understands all critical issues considered in-scope for today’s data centers and managed services providers. From providing basic “ping, power, and pipe” to essential managed O/S and application practices, data center SOC 1 SSAE 18 Type 2 assessments can vary widely, so take note of the following tips, guidelines and recommendations for reporting, provided by NDNB Accountants & Consultants.

1.    SOC 1 vs. SOC 2 for Data Centers. A growing debate amongst practitioners in the world of regulatory compliance is “what’s a better fit” for data center compliance, SOC 1 SSAE 18 Type 2 reporting or SOC 2 AT 101 reporting?  This debate has intensified in recent years, as both sides put forth credible merits for using either SOC 1 or SOC 2. Interestingly, many CPA firms now actually issue both SOC 1 and SOC 2 reports for data centers, with the SOC 2 report many times limited to just one or two of the actual five (5) Trust Services Principles.    Whichever reporting option you choose, you should be fine (provided your SOC 1 report includes ICFR control tests), just remember to educate your clients on why you’ve chosen one over the other. If you decide to follow the trend of conducting both SOC 1 and SOC 2 reports, then you’re obviously fine.

2.    Important Scope Considerations. Data centers are a business model like no other, offering a multitude of products and services for meeting customer’s needs and demands. It’s critically important to develop an audit scope that covers the minimum industry accepted baseline controls, while also providing any additional scope parameters for specialized services, such as managed hosting, cloud platforms.  As for the “minimum industry accepted baseline controls”, a data center should include testing for the following operational and information security areas:

  • Executive Tone | Senior Management Initiatives.
  • Human Resources.
  • Customer Contract and Provisioning Process (Legal, administrative and all “onboarding” processes).
  • Change Management (for internal systems and customer facing environments).
  • Incident Response | Customer Support Services.
  • Shipping and Receiving Activities.
  • Logical Security (Access rights to both internal systems and customer facing environments).
  • Physical Security.
  • Environmental Security.
  • Backup, Replication, and Archival.

3.    Managed Services.  Many data centers offer much more than just traditional “ping, power, and pipe” - specifically - growing service lines include that of managed services for O/S and even application levels. Depending on customer needs, requirements, and overall expectations, SOC 1 SSAE 18 Type 2 data center compliance should include testing of these environments in regards to any number of control considerations, ranging from user access, network monitoring and performance, backups, etc.  This is where’s it’s critical to communicate with all intended parties regarding the contents of such a report as expectations need to be met for comprehensive reporting.

4.   SOC 1 SSAE 18 Type 2 Reporting Platform.  “Flexibility” – it’s probably one of the best words to describe the SOC 1 SSAE 18 Type 2 reporting platform as it allows service organizations to essentially develop and test for controls they deem in-scope and relevant.  Ultimately, this allows data centers to test a wide-array of control objectives for compliance, which provides tremendous value – according to supporters of the SSAE 18 standard for data centers.

5.    SOC 2 AT 101 Reporting Platform. “Prescriptive” – without question the best term used to describe SOC 2 reporting as the Trust Services Principles (TSP) provide clear language on the relevant “criteria” to test for.  Supporters of SOC 2 compliance reporting for data centers see this as comprehensive framework for testing a wide-array of technology related platforms, especially considering that there’s five (5) TSP to choose from.

6.    Audit Efficiencies for SOC 1 | SOC2 and more.  With an ever growing list of regulatory compliance mandates, it’s critically important to begin undertaking audit efficiencies – specifically – collecting essential evidence for overlapping areas of today’s main compliance initiatives.  Hiring a proven and trusted audit firm – such as NDNB Accountants & Consultants – can make all the difference in time and money spent on.

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