Your Road Map to Successful SOC Engagement

If you win your clients’ trust, you are set for smooth sailing in any business sector. However, achieving that task might be very challenging. To get there, you must secure every aspect of your business and ensure that no data is compromised.

SOC engagement and assessment

In today’s business climate, where everything happens online, clients must be certain that they are protected and their data does not fall into the wrong hands. As a result, they commonly determine whether a business takes cyber security seriously by requesting a SOC (System and Organization Controls) report.

An external auditor creates a SOC report to evaluate your company’s ability to handle and protect sensitive user data. The three different types of SOC reports are SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3. SOC 1 focuses on your business’s ability to handle and minimize risks related to internal controls over clients’ financial reporting. SOC 2 evaluates your service organization’s security, integrity, compliance, confidentiality, and more. Finally, SOC 3 report is similar to SOC 2, but it doesn’t contain specific information and is considered a general-use report.

Since inquiring about this type of report is a significant part of every user’s due diligence process, obtaining one for your business is a no-brainer. For that reason, we prepared a roadmap to successful SOC engagement, so take a look below.

SOC Examination Types

There are precisely four SOC examination types and each of them evaluates different aspects of your service organization. For instance, SOC 1 engagement assesses internal controls over client financial reporting. SOC 2 engagement evaluates implemented systems and methods relevant to security, compliance, availability, processing integrity, and privacy.

SOC 3 report is a public report that can be used to describe the steps you took to complete the SOC 2 examination. And lastly, SOC for Cybersecurity is an examination that evaluates an entity’s entire information security program.

Type I and Type II SOC Reports

SOC 1 and SOC 2 can be either type I or type II reports. A SOC 1 Type I Examination will be performed by an auditor and evaluate controls and security at a single point in time. A Type II Report will take a minimum of 6 months to be completed. However, it will provide clients with much more information regarding your implemented systems, controls, set policies, and dedication to security, reassuring them that your business is serious about providing secure services.

Always Start With a Readiness Assessment

Before proceeding with the audit, performing a readiness assessment is of utmost importance. During this phase, you must examine your service organization’s internal control environment information, data security procedures, and policies. You might discover, as most active organizations do, that some type of remediation is necessary to optimize your entire control environment to ensure the audit results are satisfactory.

Determine the Goals

To avoid scope creep, setting your goals before asking a third-party audit body to evaluate your service organization’s operations is essential. Call a meeting where you will discuss the audit’s scope and determine whether it will cover a specific category or the entirety of your service offerings.

Besides consulting employees, you should also interact with your clients and discover what they want to know and what will convince them that your organization will only provide value to their professional life.

Let the Auditors Do Their Work

It’s important to understand that auditors will ask you for various documents, logs, screenshots, and signed memos, which can be time-consuming for both parties. Therefore, understanding what you need to do to make the auditor’s job much easier will yield better results.

In addition, even though the auditors will author most of the report, they might require some help from your side to develop a language for specific sections. So, it’s important to keep track of the process and help the auditors by being transparent through and through.

Final thoughts

As businesses turn to the cloud to minimize costs and store data effectively, it’s understandable that their clients look for proof that all processes and services are conducted safely, privately, and in accordance with set rules and regulations.

Given that service organizations manage sensitive client data designing your controls adequately with security in mind is essential. This is where SOC audits come into play. With SOC reports issued by a professional audit body, you can win the trust of your clients and improve your overall business operations. Proceeding without such a report might stand in your way toward success.

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