9 Tips for Houston, TX Businesses to Ensure the Success of a SOC 2 Compliance Audit
You may view SOC 2 compliance audits as being as dry as dust, but they’re increasingly becoming a necessity. The world of regulatory compliance only continues to grow, so your Houston business needs to be as well positioned as possible – it could have a major impact on the future of your company. NDB is staffed with a team of experts who have extensive experience in SOC compliance reports – we’ve done hundreds of them. Get in touch with us to learn more.
What Makes NDB the Leader in SOC 2 Compliance?
Houston is a major hub for commerce in the U.S., and you’ve been reaping the benefits. But as your company grows and you win more and more RFPs, your data security compliance responsibilities are growing as well. We can provide you with competitively priced SOC 2 compliance audits on a fixed-fee basis. You’ll know exactly how much you’ll pay, and you won’t have to deal with any surprises. In addition to SOC 2 compliance services, we also offer services to make you compliant with SOC 1, HIPAA, PCI DSS and other mandates.
All NDB compliance audits conform to the Service Organization Control (SOC) reporting standard established by the AICPA. As a result, you can rest assured that the results of your audit will meet or exceed all industry standards. You’ll know any weaknesses that may be present in your data security procedures, and you’ll have a clear roadmap to address them.
9 Tips for SOC 2 Compliance Auditing Success
In order for a SOC 2 audit to be successful, there are a few steps you should consider taking. Here are nine ways to help make sure your audit will be successful.
1. Prepare yourself – A SOC 2 readiness assessment will be a must. It will give you a deep understanding of your control environment, including any deficiencies or gaps that may exist. After your assessment, you’ll be as prepared as possible. Not only will you know any issues you may have, you’ll also have the necessary remediation action plans in place.
2. Know your business processes – The scope of the audit will define its complexity and duration. In order to know how many hours your audit will take, you’ll need an assessment beforehand. You’ll know the specific business functions that will be part of the audit, and you’ll also have established a working relationship with your auditor to help streamline the process.
3. Eliminate “scope creep” – This is the bane of many business owners’ existence. They simply can’t stand it. If you take the steps necessary before the fact, you can ensure that scope creep won’t affect your SOC 2 compliance audit. Planning and prioritization will be critically important to keeping your audit within your budget as well as your preferred timeframe. You’ll need to have a clear idea of the business functions, personnel, systems and physical locations that the audit will encompass.
4. Keep your asset inventory handy – Having a list of your applicable IP addresses, hostnames, locations, name and use of your information systems will be key to a fast, successful SOC 2 compliance audit. Your auditor will need them in order to perform your readiness assessment. An inventory list is also important in another way. You won’t be able to protect items you don’t even know you have in the first place.
5. Remember the TSPs – One of the biggest elements of an SOC 2 report is a set of principles known as the Trust Services Criteria, or TSC. They were formerly known as the Trust Service Principles (TSPs), and, for reporting purposes, they’re still referred to as TSPs. Nomenclature aside, they are critically important. They consist of security, availability, privacy, confidentiality and processing integrity. Each has a specific function within an SOC 2 report.
This is where it gets a bit complex. Not all SOC 2 reports have to include all of the TSPs. There are a number of factors that go into determining which ones will need to be in your report. These include internal mandates, client requests and more. Talk to NDB and we’ll not only tell you more about the applicable TSPs, but also, which ones you’ll need to include.
6. Prepare for remediation – You may think your data security processes are watertight and impenetrable. Unfortunately, that’s probably not the case. In order for your SOC 2 compliance audit to be successful, you need to not only be aware of any weaknesses that may exist within your control environment, you also need to have a remediation plan. One part of that plan is thoroughly documenting all necessary policies and procedures.
7. Know how to address weaknesses during remediation – It’s obviously not enough to know the weaknesses in your control system. You’ll need to do something to shore them up. This could mean establishing more effective firewall filters, stronger passwords, improving your monitoring techniques, and more.
Remediation includes developing policies as well as making configuration enhancements to ensure that all of your critical organizational assets have the highest levels of CIA – confidentiality, integrity and availability. NDB can make your remediation very efficient, rather than a time-consuming, labor-intensive hassle.
8. Gather your audit evidence – Our client portal and other web-based tools can make it easy to gather the data needed to perform your audit – minimizing frustrating disruptions to your Houston business. You won’t have to worry about our auditors spending weeks onsite, asking a lot of annoying questions and wasting your valuable time. We pride ourselves on our efficiency, whether that means collecting screen shots, gathering all pertinent policies, or anything else. Collecting SOC 2 compliance evidence can take a long time, but we bring an unsurpassed level of efficiency to the process.
9. The finish line – You might have heard of SOC 2 certification, but that’s not an accurate way of describing the actual SOC 2 deliverable. The right name is a Service Auditor’s Report. This report contains a detailed description of your company’s data security controls, a statement of assertion, and other pertinent information.