When it comes to understanding SOC 2, you need a risk transformation ally who knows what it takes to prepare for an audit. One who knows the GRC terrain, provides guidance, and offers thought leadership. That is what we at LogicGate aim to be for you and your company. In that spirit, let's dig into SOC 2 to see what it takes to prepare for a successful audit.
To start, let’s do a quick recap of what SOC 2 (System and Organization Controls 2) is all about. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) developed this framework for all technology services or SaaS companies that store customer data in the cloud to ensure compliance, risk, and data will be kept safe. If your company stores, processes, or transmits customer information, you may need to achieve SOC 2 certification to be competitive in the market. So, what’s the difference between Type 1 and Type 2?
Type 1 reports contain descriptions of the service organization's system(s) and the suitability of the design of controls.
Type 2 reports cover everything in Type 1 plus descriptions of the operating effectiveness of those controls over a period of time.
Now that you have a refresh on what SOC 2 is, follow these steps to ensure you’re prepared and ready for your SOC 2 audit:
1. Implementation of Controls
To achieve SOC 2 certification, organizations must implement controls for the following categories: Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy.
This process is one of the most critical parts of the SOC 2 certification process. It establishes policies to ensure that your organization protects its data according to specific protection levels.
2. Elements and Artifacts Preparation
Once controls are implemented, your organization should prepare the following elements needed for SOC 2 certification.
Provide system descriptions to guide auditors on what is needed to review. The description should include an overview of what your system is designed to do, its offerings, and versions of the system.
An audit scope to determine which Trust Services Criteria the auditor should use in the assessment.Your organization's regulatory requirements and contractual commitments will drive this section.
Prepare policies and documents to address the controls listed in the SOC 2 framework. Your organization should confirm activities or actions to meet the control requirements, including control owners and cadence of activities/tasks, before your first SOC 2 audit period.
Gather operational documents that support the delivery of your product within the audit period in question. These can include lists of current employees, organizational structure charts, change trackers, security incident reports, and repositories of third-party vendors.
Once ready and you have the proper security controls, systems, and processes in place, you'll need to engage third-party auditors to assess if your organization complies with one or more of the five SOC 2 Trust Services Criteria. Remember that only outside auditors issue SOC 2 certification. The reporting process lasts anywhere from a month to over a year, depending on the report type (i.e., type 1 or type 2), firm maturity, and specific requirements.
Tips for a Successful SOC 2 Audit
You’ve got everything prepped, and you’re ready to hit the ground running on your next SOC 2 audit! But first, we have some helpful tips for you to use to make sure you’re prepared:
Define process owners. Before getting too far into the documentation of processes, focus on aligning with stakeholders to determine who owns what.
Get started now; make changes later. Align the SOC 2 Trust Services Criteria to your controls, even if you don’t have them quite yet. Whatever maturity stage your organization is in, it will be beneficial to consider how SOC 2 aligns to the current or advancing controls you are implementing. Continue to adapt controls as needed depending on identified requirements and gaps.
Work in phases. Work on a type 1 audit before moving to the more comprehensive type 2 audit report. Since Type 2 provides a higher level of assurance, it is best to take this process in phases to ensure success.
Test things out. Perform a pre-audit gap analysis and remediations before you have auditors perform the audit. Plan on this taking around three months, depending on the resources you have available.
How LogicGate Can Help
While you may encounter challenges along your SOC 2 journey, such as educating process owners, or managing evidence and documentation, there is help available! Efficiently map business processes, audit infrastructure, and security practices and identify and correct any gaps or vulnerabilities effectively, all within one holistic GRC platform, LogicGate’s Risk Cloud.
Learn more about LogicGate's SOC 2 Compliance Application to see how it can help your organization prepare for and achieve a SOC 2 attestation report. Request a demo or visit us at logicgate.com.
Learn how one LogicGate customer, Amount, used Risk Cloud to establish their own robust processes, gather evidence of controls, and attain Type 2, Soc 1, and 2 certifications. Read the full case study.