Is obtaining a Service Organization Control (SOC) 1, SOC 2 or SOC 2 + (Plus) report on your organization’s to-do list? If the answer to that question is yes, then completing a SOC readiness assessment should be your first step to ensuring a successful SOC examination. Think of the SOC readiness assessment as a practice SOC test, but with the help of the teacher. During a readiness assessment, Schneider Downs can help you identify what policies, procedures, controls and supporting documentation need to be in place in order to satisfy the SOC reporting requirements issued by the AICPA. A readiness assessment can be broken down into the following steps: Initial Scoping, Control Evaluation, Gap Identification and Deliverables, and Remediation.
During this part of the assessment, the systems, applications and processes that will be considered in-scope for the assessment are defined. It is important at this point to define the type of report needed: a SOC 1, SOC 2 or SOC 2 + report, and either Type I or Type II. If a SOC 2 report is desired, the Trust Services Principles that will be included in the report should be identified from the following choices: Security, Availability, Confidentiality, Privacy and/or Processing Integrity. If a SOC 2 + report is desired, then the additional subject matter for inclusion (PCI, HITRUST, ALTA, etc.) should be identified. The target audience for the report and the contractual commitments are some principles that can guide the scoping process. For example, if you are responsible for system uptime metrics, then the availability criteria could be included in a SOC 2 report.
The next step is to walk through the policies and processes currently in place to identify the corresponding control points. Providing documentation to evidence controls to ensure that everything is operating effectively is an important step because even if a control is in place, it must be documented and auditable for SOC reporting purposes. For example, you may have a process to remove system access from employees who leave your organization, but supporting documentation is still needed to provide evidence that the process occurs in a timely manner.
Gap Identification and Deliverables:
At this point, the control gaps that need to be closed in order to meet the SOC reporting requirements can be identified. You can expect to receive recommendations on what actions need to be taken in order to close the gaps such as documenting and implementing new policies and controls or making improvements to existing processes. You can also expect to receive a draft control matrix that will be used to satisfy the SOC report requirements.
At this point, your organization can take action to close any gaps. It is important to evaluate how long it will take to complete remediation. Based on the remediation timeline, you can plan what the SOC reporting time frame will be in addition to when a report can be issued.
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Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.