Thousands of service organizations across North America are being required to perform annual SOC 2 audits, so now’s the time to learn more about the AICPA SOC framework. NDNB, one of the country’s leading provider of compliance services, offers the following SOC 2 implementation guide for helping organizations in understanding SOC 2 reports. Today’s compliance drumbeat is beating louder than ever, so get prepared and learn all you can about SOC 2 audits for ensuring an efficient and cost-effective auditing process from beginning to end.
As auditors, a common question we receive almost daily is “What is SOC 2 Compliance?” And naturally, with today’s growing regulatory compliance mandates being pushed onto thousands of businesses across North America, it’s a question that’ll keep being asked. So, “What is SOC 2 Compliance?” It’s a process whereby an organization (i.e., service organization) undertakes various measures for putting in place all necessary policies, procedures, processes and related internal controls in accordance with stated AICPA Trust Services Criteria (TSP).
The SOC 2 standard includes reporting that allows for the issuance of a SOC 2 Type 1 and/or Type 2 assessment, for which NDNB offers to businesses throughout North America and other select regions. Compliance with the SOC 2 standard requires in-depth technical knowledge and auditing expertise in today’s challenging and complex business arena. All the more reason to trust the experts at NDNB for all your SOC 2 reporting needs.
So out with the old and in with the new – as the old saying goes, as the AICPA SOC framework has successfully replaced the well-aged, one size fits all SAS 70 auditing standard for reporting periods on or after June 15, 2011. And now the SSAE 16 standard has been replaced with the SSAE 18 standard for May 1, 2018. It’s a new world of regulatory compliance, one filled with heavy mandates for annual audits, for which you’ll need to know the following regarding the SOC 2 standard:
SOC 2 report assessments and services are offered by NDNB Accountants & Consultants (NDNB), North America’s premier provider of high-quality, fixed-fee SOC 2 reporting. Take note of the following best practices for ensuring a smooth, highly-efficient, and cost-effective SOC 2 reporting process from day one:
A SOC 2 Readiness Assessment is Essential
New to the SOC 2 assessment process, then we highly suggest going through a brief, yet comprehensive readiness assessment for identifying critical gaps, deficiencies, along with important audit scope considerations. Every company – and we mean every – has always benefited from a SOC 2 readiness assessment – why – because we always find issues that demand immediate attention prior to the actual audit commencing. From missing documents to inadequate processes and internal controls, correcting such items before the audit begins is an absolute must, no question about it. Call Christopher G. Nickell, CPA, at 1-800-277-5415, ext. 706 today to learn more.
Trust the experts at NDNB when it comes to providing expert SOC 2 guidelines and other supporting information for ensuring you achieve SOC 2 compliance quickly and cost-effectively. As part of every SOC 2 audit performed by NDNB, organizations receive a free consultation regarding all of your SOC 2 needs from a highly-qualified CPA with years of SOC 2 expertise.
Want to learn more about SOC 2 and obtain a true SOC 2 guide on what’s becoming one of the most recognized assessments throughout the entire world, then take note of the following items for ensuring a successful SOC 2 audit from day one:
1. Compliance is here to stay. SOC 2 audits are being requested annually from many technology driven businesses that are providing material services to their clients. It means that YOUR clients want to gain a greater understanding – and confidence level – of your internal controls, which they can do by requesting annual compliance audits, such as SOC 2. So forget about the notion of a “one and done” SOC 2 audit – not in today’s world, as compliance is now an annual commitment for service organizations.
2. Technical Remediation is Critical. Information security remediation a very, very big part of SOC 2 compliance, so much so that businesses often hire independent consultants to assist with such an undertaking, that’s right. The Trust Services Principles (TSP), which consist of Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy – all require a heavy dose of technical controls for ensuring successful SOC 2 compliance. NDNB offers technical remediation services, which is one the biggest reasons we’re the preferred provider of SOC audits throughout North America.
3. Invest in a SOC 2 Readiness Assessment. When performed correctly, a SOC 2 readiness assessment is extremely valuable, providing much-needed insight and understanding of a service organization’s gaps and deficiencies for purposes of SOC auditing. From missing documentation to critical security gaps – and more – a SOC 2 readiness assessment effectively lays the foundation for long-term auditing success. It’s not just another expense – rather – a beneficial exercise that’s highly recommended to any service organization new to SOC 2 reporting.
And while the vast majority of remediation for SOC 2 audits is predominantly that of documentation, let’s not forget the importance of actually implementing all the necessary changes that are stated in such documents. This is a big step for many service organizations, but it has to be done for purposes of regulatory compliance for SOC 2, and it’s also in the spirit of security best practices for today’s complex, cybersecurity world.
4. Learn about SOC 2. Hey, if you’re going to be spending large sums of money each year on SOC 2 reporting, then it’s probably a good idea to start learning about the technical merits of the AICPA Service Organization Control (SOC) framework, which consists of SOC 1, SOC 2 and SOC 3. Additionally, SOC 2 compliance requires a description of a service organization’s “system”, along with a written statement of assertion by management, two critical reporting elements in which NDNB can provide more information on.
- SOC 2 audit reports are an important element of the AICPA Service Organization Control (SOC) reporting framework.
- Organizations can opt for a SOC 2 Type 1 or a SOC 2 Type 2 report.
- SOC 2 audit reports are geared towards many of today’s technology oriented companies.
Call the proven and trusted SOC 2 framework experts today at NDNB as we provide incredibly comprehensive, cost-effective, “fixed-fee” engagements for the SOC 2 framework. From coast to coast, NDNB has been offering high-quality, industry leading compliance services and solutions for not only SOC 2 audits, but for many of today’s regulations, such as SOC 1 SSAE 18, SOC 2, SOC 3, EI3PA, ACH Audits, MERS compliance, internal audits, and more
SOC 2 Framework and 4 Important Points to Know
The SOC 2 framework, which is effectively part of the AICPA Service Organization Control (SOC) reporting platform, represents a true willingness to develop and implement an assessment methodology geared towards technology oriented service organizations. With that said, the following four (4) points are critical to note regarding SOC 2:
1. Scope is Critical: Ever heard of the term “scope creep”, let’s just say it’s not something you want to happen during a SOC 2 assessment, which is why properly scoping the audit at the very beginning is highly critical. With that said, there are two (2) important aspects to scoping – the first being identifying the business process to assess, and the second being which of the five (5) Trust Services Principles & Criteria (TSP/C) are to be included within the actual scope of the assessment. Sounds rather straightforward – and it is when working with a high-quality, well-respected CPA firm – but diving into SOC 2 audits with little or no insight regarding scope is not recommended. Here are some helpful tips for assessing SOC 2 scope:
First, determine what the actual business process is that will be included for a SOC 2 assessment, is it everything the organization does or just a specific business unit or division? Second, identify which of the five (5) Trust Services Principles & Criteria (TSP/C) are to be used for reporting, for which you should confer with a well-qualified CPA firm on this. Nobody wants the awful “scope creep” dilemma to come calling, so plan accordingly and speak to knowledgeable professionals today.
Second, documentation is essential: In today’s world of regulatory compliance, documentation is often the key to audit success – and failure – thus the importance of information security documents cannot be overlooked for SOC 2 compliance. In fact, whichever of the five (5) Trust Services Principles & Criteria (TSP/C) you choose for the audit (one, a few, or all of them), they all require documentation to be in place - it is just that simple.
Appropriately configuring firewall rules, implementing complex password policies, and instituting formalized change control practices, and more – they’re all important, no question about it – but don’t forget that accompanying documentation for such initiatives is incredibly essential for SOC 2 audits. Remember, auditors are always on the lookout for information security documents, so keep that in mind.
2. Annual Compliance is often mandatory: Call it the “new norm” in the world we all live in regarding regulatory compliance for any business providing critical outsourcing services to other businesses. In today’s world of cost-savings and business efficiencies, outsourcing is happening everywhere –and for good reason – but just remember that heavy compliance mandates come along with it. From cloud computing providers to data centers – and more – SOC 2 compliance is here to stay, so get prepared for annual audit commitments to your customers.
4. Where to begin? With a SOC 2 scoping & readiness assessment from NDNB, that’s where. Performed by licensed and certified auditors, our SOC 2 scoping & readiness assessment engagements are an incredibly helpful tool for evaluating your organization. Learn more about the SOC 2 framework by visiting socreports.com.