The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Service Organization Control (SOC) School - Advanced Guidance for Successful Engagements was recently held in Durham, NC. The audience was diverse and included representatives from public accounting firms and other organizations vested in service organization control reporting (third-party service providers, users of the reports, consultants, etc.) from throughout the United States.
The discussions over a three-day period focused on the purpose and means of conducting effective SOC engagements (i.e., SOC 1, 2 and 3), and specifically targeted engagement planning, execution and reporting. In addition, other areas covered included best practices for completing examinations and in-depth review of the trust service principles and respective criteria specific to SOC 2 and 3. The training sessions reinforced the key concepts and requirements for conducting and completing successful examinations.
SOC 2+ Reports
A trend that is growing in popularity in the SOC 2 community, especially for those organizations providing outsourced technology services, is the SOC 2+ report. A SOC 2+ report is the review of one to five of the trust service principles (i.e., criteria common to all / security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy) in combination with additional subject matter related to the service organization’s services using additional suitable criteria related to that subject matter. Examples of additional suitable criteria include criteria established by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), requirements in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), the standards within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity framework and the HITRUST Common Security Framework. The ability to include additional criteria within the scope of a SOC 2 engagement both promotes greater efficiencies in the conduct of multiple examinations at a single organization and reduces the number of reports published for use by clients and other users of the reported results.
It was also reported that the AICPA will be releasing new SOC 2 guidance in fourth quarter 2015; a critical change will be the update and inclusion of the new privacy principle and its criteria in the guidance.
Schneider Downs’ participation at the annual AICPA SOC School and other SOC professional forums is a demonstration of our firm’s commitment to remaining on the leading edge of SOC practices and ensuring that our team applies techniques that adhere to AICPA standards. This commitment ensures that our clients’ examinations are conducted effectively and in accordance with current authoritative guidance aligned with leading practices.