SOC 2 audit is a great way to demonstrate your data security commitment. Learn how SOC 2 readiness assessment can raise your chances for a successful audit.
A SOC 2 readiness assessment is a trial run before the official SOC 2 audit. A SOC 2 audit, in turn, is an external evaluation of your organization’s controls against AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria (TSC) of Security, Confidentiality, Processing Integrity, Availability, and Privacy. The audit culminates in a SOC 2 report containing the auditor’s opinion on the organization’s control design and operating effectiveness. The report demonstrates the strength of your information security practices and captures the lapses found during the audit.
You cannot go back in time to make these corrections and improve your audit report. However, you can conduct a SOC 2 readiness assessment prior to an external audit to ensure you get a clean SOC 2 report.
The SOC 2 readiness assessment is not required but highly recommended. Here are some reasons why assessing your SOC 2 audit readiness is a good strategy:
First, a SOC 2 readiness assessment evaluates whether the work you have done to secure your data is good enough for you to go through a SOC 2 audit. In other words, you will know what to expect from the audit, what questions could be raised, and what answers to prepare. You will be more aware of collecting evidence, documentation, policies, and procedures, to name a few.
Second, by assessing your readiness, you reduce the number of potential findings when you eventually go through your SOC 2 audit. A good readiness assessment reviews the necessary aspects of your security compliance, reveals the gaps, and makes recommendations to fix them before SOC 2 audit. As a result of the assessment, the assessor will provide recommendations for addressing potential audit issues.
You can conduct a SOC 2 readiness assessment on your own or get the help of a consulting company. If you lack experience or resources to conduct your readiness assessment, it’s best done by professional consultants who understand the security compliance landscape. So, it’s reasonable to start by evaluating your organization’s capacity to conduct the readiness assessment and choosing a professional consultant if necessary.
Reviewing the Trust Service Criteria (TSC) chosen for the future audit is the next step to a successful SOC 2 readiness assessment. Remember, out of five TSCs – Security, Confidentiality, Processing Integrity, Availability, and Privacy – security is a must. Other criteria are optional and will depend on your business’s needs and customer expectations.
Organizations are free to decide what number and combination of the TSPs are necessary to address in their SOC 2 report.
Your SOC 2 readiness assessment will highlight your controls’ missing links and operational oversights according to the SOC 2 compliance requirements. If you work with an external consultant, you will get recommendations on improvement areas and remediation plans to fix the deficiencies and oversights. Redesign of processes, implementation of security awareness training programs, and improvement in evidence presentation are some of the other areas your consultant might weigh upon following the assessment.
Depending on a client’s internal resources, expertise, and availability, Planet 9 can completely or partially assist the client with the following:
Feel free to contact the Planet 9 team for help with any issues with your SOC 2 readiness assessment. We’ll be happy to assist!