SOC Assessments And Audits

System And Organization Controls (SOC) are assurance reporting frameworks designed to assist service organizations in building confidence and trust between the stakeholders, entities and the service providers.

SOC 2 Type 2 is a period-of-time report, but the SOC 2 guide does not prescribe a minimum period of coverage for a SOC 2 report. Practitioners need to use professional judgment in determining whether the report covers a sufficient period.

As per the AICPA guidance, additional frameworks can be included into SOC 2 reports. These are referred to as SOC 2+ reports and can be issued by service auditors as long as they have the appropriate qualifications to provide an opinion on the additional subject matter.

Obtaining a SOC 2 report differentiates the service organization from its peers by demonstrating the establishment of effectively designed internal corporate governance and oversight., \"A SOC 2 report allows customers, stakeholders – or both – to gain confidence and place trust in the service organization’s system.

While SOC 2 and ISO 27001 are different standards, they can be used to serve similar purposes for service providers. They intend to demonstrate that they have a solid security posture. Being internationally recognized, both standards offer a high level of confidence that comes from an independent, third-party audit. The ISO 27001 standard is a best-practice guide or framework to implement an information security program end-to-end. An organization’s information security management system can be certified as compliant with the ISO 27001 standard and once certified, the organization needs to be recertified every three years. SOC 2 is used to demonstrate that an organization has adequate security practices in place and is operating them effectively. SOC 2 is an attestation report and provides an independent auditor’s opinion about an organization’s control environment.

The SOC reports often cover only a portion of the user organization’s calendar. Bridge letters are issued by the management of a service organization. The purpose of a bridge letter is to provide representation from the service organization regarding material changes that might have occurred in the organization’s controls covered in the SOC report from the end of the report period through a specified date

SOC 3 report is meant to inform any interested parties about the operating effectiveness of internal controls at the service organization relevant to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and/or privacy, in connection with a SOC 2 engagement. Public distribution of these reports is not restricted.

SOC 2 controls list is a company designing its own controls, in line with its business practices, to comply with the relevant SOC 2 Trust Service Criteria.

There are 6 steps you can take to prepare: Define the operating goals of your audit, Define the scope of your SOC 2 audits, address regulatory and compliance requirements, Review and write security procedures, perform a readiness assessment, Evaluate and hire a certified auditor.

SOC 2 requirements are mandatory for all engaged, technology-based service organizations that store client information in the cloud. Such businesses include those that provide SaaS and other cloud services while also using the cloud to store each respective, engaged client\'s information.

Any service organization that needs an independent validation of controls relevant to how it transmits, processes, or stores client data may require a SOC report. Additionally, as a result of various legislative requirements like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as increased scrutiny over third-party controls, clients are increasingly requiring SOC reports from their service organizations."

If you are an organization which is regulated by the law, then you must be asking your vendors to provide a SOC report, as it becomes more critical for those vendors which you consider to be dealing with the high-risk operations of your business.

SOC 1 report is mainly concerned with examining controls over financial reporting, the SOC 2 and SOC 3 reports focus more on the pre-defined, standardized benchmarks for controls related to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy of the data centre’s system and information.

SOC 1 report communicates a service organization’s controls relevant to a customer’s internal controls over financial reporting and may help an organization demonstrate compliance with various regulations, such as Sarbanes-Oxley or Model Audit Rule.

SOC 2 report helps customers understand controls in place related to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and/or privacy. SOC 2 reports may help demonstrate compliance with regulations such as PCI, HIPAA etc. Public distribution of these reports is restricted.

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