Everything you wanted to know about the SOC 2 Compliance Checklist

As you know, System and Organization Controls 2 (SOC 2) is one of the greatest security technologies accessible to companies. This is particularly valid for businesses with a North American focus. This allows for compliance flexibility without sacrificing security.

However, SOC 2 compliance necessitates a comprehensive evaluation of your company’s internal systems, processes, and controls. Manpower is needed to prepare for such a business.

We’ve created a checklist of SOC 2 audit requirements you may follow to improve your chances of passing the test and being able to claim SOC 2 compliance as a result.

What is SOC 2?

Service Organization Control 2, or SOC 2, is a well-known auditing standard that evaluates an organization’s security, availability, processing integrity, privacy, and confidentiality. These elements collectively make up the Trust Service Criteria (TSC), which is the cornerstone of SOC 2.

The SOC was created by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) to assist firms in reporting on the efficiency of their risk management and cybersecurity platforms. There are two types of SOC: 

  • SOC 1 deals with controls for financial reporting;
  • SOC 2 is concerned with controls for information security, with an emphasis on customer data.

SOC 2 comes in Type I and Type II varieties. 

  • Type II evaluates the design effectiveness and operational effectiveness of controls over a period of 3 to 12 months;
  • Type I evaluates the design efficacy of controls at a certain moment. SOC 2 Type I analyzes the design of controls, whereas SOC 2 Type II measures controls in operation.
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So, companies may guarantee consumers and stakeholders that they have efficient controls in place to safeguard sensitive data and guarantee operational dependability by obtaining SOC 2 accreditation.

What is a SOC 2 audit?

A SOC 2 audit evaluates an organization’s data security, availability, processing integrity, secrecy, and confidentiality measures. It should be conducted by impartial auditors.

Who must comply with SOC 2?

The System and Company Control 2 (SOC 2) report, an attestation report supplied to user organizations and stakeholders, documents a company’s application of controls to secure its system and/or services. If your firm provides a system and/or service to user organizations, it should meet audit requirements of the SOC 2.

The process of bringing an organization into SOC 2 compliance frequently begins when user groups request that numerous organizations provide a SOC 2 report. Many user firms undertake their own audits to guarantee that their data is managed securely, based on the SOC 2 reports issued by their service providers.

SOC 2 Audit Process

Teams may prepare by becoming familiar with the SOC 2 audit procedure. The auditor generally carries out the following series of tasks throughout the audit:

  • Control of security questionnaires;
  • Assembling proof of control;
  • Analyzing the evidence;
  • Follow-up to gather further proof if required;
  • Deliver a SOC 2 report.

Most SOC 2 auditors begin by distributing a security questionnaire to an organization’s IT staff. These are typically issues with organizational controls, processes, IT systems, and policies according to audit requirements for SOC 2.

During the phases of evidence gathering and evaluation, team members will be required to provide data and documentation on system controls to auditors. Asking the owners of each process covered in a SOC 2 audit to guide an auditor through the pertinent business processes may be essential.

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The auditor frequently requests more details or explanations once he has finished his initial evaluation. The auditor might offer the business a chance to fix any issues before moving forward with the report if he finds clear instances of noncompliance that can be swiftly resolved.

How long does it take to become SOC 2 compliant?

There are several variables that affect how long it takes to achieve SOC 2 compliance. These factors include but are not limited to, an organization’s completion of a Type I or Type II report, the company’s resources available to support the audit, and the outcomes of a readiness assessment. If a business chooses to begin with a SOC 2 Type I report rather than a SOC 2 Type II report, the procedure is frequently quicker. 

As a Type I report only covers a specified period of time and the structure of controls, an organization can finish the first audit process and obtain an audit report within months, depending on the service auditor’s availability and fieldwork approach.

An organization will have to wait for the report to be published if it first chooses to use a Type II report that covers a specific time period. In addition, the organization will need to address any gaps or shortcomings identified during the readiness assessment prior to the start of the Type II reporting period or Type I fieldwork.

How do you continue to comply with SOC 2?

The effort of an organization does not end with the first SOC 2 report. In order to demonstrate that internal controls are effective for a subsequent SOC 2 audit, the organization will then need to maintain them. There are many strategies to maintain SOC 2 compliance, and you can read about it more at Underdefense resources. The use of compliance monitoring technology to set goals and implement controls in employee- and process-owner-supported rules is one of several simple to complicated methods that may be used. Organizations have a variety of options at their disposal, and their service auditor may offer advice specific to their control environment.

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Although the AICPA has not yet released an official SOC 2 audit checklist, this article covers a number of factors to take into account when undertaking a SOC 2 audit.

Every business has a different set of goals, thus every SOC 2 report must be prepared differently. When starting your road towards SOC 2 compliance, your business will be better prepared for success if you read the answers to the aforementioned questions at an excellent website like Underdefense. So, continue to improve your security and awareness to provide safe and quality services to your customers with SOC 2.