SOC 2 is a voluntary compliance standard that companies should meet when managing customer data. Based on a set of trust service criteria, SOC 2 outlines the minimum requirements needed to maintain the security of your customers.
Below, we cover the major steps in scoping and selecting a SOC 2 auditor:
Determine your trust services criteria
The Trust Services Criteria (TSC) was developed by the ASEC Trust Integrity Task Force used to evaluate and report on the information and system controls in attestation or consulting engagements. The five main criteria are:
Out of the five criteria, the only one required to meet SOC 2 compliance is security. If the other criteria are relevant to a company’s services, a company can opt to include them in its audit.
Discuss the criteria and any contractual obligations with internal stakeholders and verify compliance with your auditor to determine the best approach.
Get internal buy-in
When embarking on any type of audit, it’s necessary to get internal buy-in from key stakeholders. Multiple individuals in an organization will contribute throughout the SOC 2 audit, from scoping to collecting evidence, which makes it critical for everyone to be on the same page.
Streamline your SOC 2 compliance by informing internal stakeholders about what’s needed from them and at what stages they will be involved.
Define the audit scope
SOC 2 audits are tailored to a company’s specific needs. For example, an audit can be performed on the entire company level or a specific area of operations.
An audit scope also outlines the period covered by the audit and any existing security controls and systems. Use the following questions to set the stage for your audit:
Select an external auditor
Once your company is aligned on the upcoming SOC 2 compliance audit, the next step is to select an external auditor to facilitate the process. There are four key factors to consider when deciding on the right auditor:
Perform a readiness assessment
Auditors will start by guiding your company through a readiness assessment, which provides a top-down overview of audit requirements and collects details about your current security process.
The readiness assessment also reveals any gaps or other information that should be prepared for your final SOC 2 audit report.
Note that companies, not auditors, are responsible for the policies, processes, and controls implemented throughout the audit process.
Build a SOC report
At the end of an audit, which can take as long as several months, your company will receive a detailed SOC 2 report. The report typically comprises five main parts:
A company’s SOC 2 compliance report may be required by potential vendors or customers. For this reason, it’s recommended to schedule a SOC 2 audit once a year to include any significant security changes.
This ensures your compliance reports are aligned with your current operations and helps increase trust between your company and the target market.
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