SOC 2 Readiness Assessment Guide

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. 

Why Conduct a Readiness Assessment?

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.

Where to Start? Your SOC 2 Readiness Assessment Checklist

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 Audit’s Scope and Controls Mapping

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 Privacysecurity is a must. Other criteria are optional and will depend on your business’s needs and customer expectations. 

  • Security. It is the general principle that applies to all activities and engagements. It is the foundation of the remaining TSC. The security addresses whether your system is protected against unauthorized access, malware, or data breach.
  • Confidentiality should be included in SOC 2 reports of the organizations which handle sensitive data, such as Protected Health Information (PHI) or Personally Identifiable Information (PII). It addresses the agreements between the organization and its clients regarding how the information is used, who has access to it, and how it is protected. The confidentiality principle also verifies that the organization properly protects clients’ information.
  • Processing Integrity. It is essential for e-commerce or financial services. Processing Integrity attests that services are provided in a complete, authorized, and accurate way. 
  • Availability. It generally applies to organizations that provide hosting services, data centers, or critical software services to their clients. It ensures that the system provided to the clients is available for further use as agreed upon (e.g., through Service Level Agreements (“SLA”). It also addresses whether the services provided by a service organization meet clients’ availability expectations. 
  • Privacy addresses how consumers’ personal data is collected, stored, processed, and used. It ensures that the client’s data is handled in accordance with any commitments and criteria defined in the common privacy principles issued by the AICPA.

Organizations are free to decide what number and combination of the TSPs are necessary to address in their SOC 2 report.

Get a Remediation Plan 

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. 

How can Planet 9 Help? 

Depending on a client’s internal resources, expertise, and availability, Planet 9 can completely or partially assist the client with the following:

  • Conduct a Readiness Self Assessment
  • Perform Gaps Remediation
  • Select an audit firm
  • Represent the client during the audit process
  • Establish and maintain a continuous compliance program

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!



Phone:  888-437-3646

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