SOC 2 for Startups – Go to Guide for SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2 Compliance Audits
More and more organizations are having to undergo SOC 2 compliance, so take note of the SOC 2 for startups guide, compliments of NDB, one of Texas’ – and the country’s – leading providers of SOC 2 reporting.
Step 1 – Begin with a SOC 2 Scoping & Readiness Assessment
One of the most important tasks in becoming SOC 2 compliant begins by performing a SOC 2 Scoping & Readiness Assessment. Performed by experienced audit staff at NDB, a SOC 2 Scoping & Readiness Assessment yields the following significant benefits:
- The ability to quickly and clearly understand important audit issues regarding scope, control deficiencies (both operationally/technically and documentation gaps), personnel workload, third-party providers, and much more.
- The ability to develop an actionable roadmap for moving forward with all aspects of the audit, from immediate next steps to long-term plans for continuous monitoring of internal controls.
- The confidence of knowing that the audit is correctly scoped, planned accordingly, and ready to move forward with next steps.
Step 2 – Remediate Documentation (That’s Policies and Procedures!)
Next up for bat for SOC 2 for startups is documentation remediation. It’s without question one of the more time-consuming and mundane tasks for achieving SOC 2 compliance, but it’s got to be done. Most SOC 2 auditing firms will generally agree that the approximation of the number of different policies and procedures needed for compliance is around 30 or so. After all, you need policies for access control, change management, data backup, incident response, and many more. It’s important to either (a). source high-quality templates online or (b). find a proven, trusted firm that can author information security policies and procedures – quickly and cost-effectively. NDB offers both A and B as solutions!
Step 3 – Roll up Those Sleeves and Remediate Security and Operational Areas
Writing policies and procedures – while very important – is just one aspect of remediation in terms of SOC 2 compliance. The other “half” focuses on what’s known as security and operational remediation. For example, organizations might find that their I.T. systems are poorly configured, thus requiring re-configuring servers, making passwords stronger, re-writing firewall rules, etc. Other examples include; having employees perform security awareness training, testing the incident response and backup/contingency plans, and more.
Bottom line, this type of remediation is very common, can take some time to perform, and NDB can assist. In fact, we offer a wide variety of tools and solutions for helping service organizations remediate all essential internal controls prior to the commencement of an actual SOC 2 audit. That’s what we call proper planning in the world of regulatory compliance.
Step 4 – Do a Dry Run Before the Auditors Begin
It’s a really good idea to do what we call a “dry run” before the actual audit. Essentially, let NDB test your controls before the actual audit commences. This allows us to determine if any gaps or issues remain before the actual audit commences. The goal is to obtain a clean, unqualified opinion on the audit. An audit report filled with noted exceptions and deficiencies becomes more of a detriment, so consider a “dry run” assessment prior to the actual audit. NDB offers such services at fixed-fees.
Step 5 – Know What an Audit is and What to Expect
Auditors want audit evidence, pure and simple. From screenshots of system configuration settings to copies of information security policies and procedures, audits are about collecting evidence. The more evidence you can provide to the auditors the less questions they have, and the more efficient and seamless the audit becomes. Most auditors start the process by doing a deep dive in understanding your environment. When that’s over, they return with a healthy list of deliverables that will need to be compiled. And this can take quite some time in terms of collecting audit evidence.
The best advice NDB can give you is to make sure you fully understand – and are on the same page – in terms of exactly what the auditor is asking. Simply stated – review the list fully with not only internal personnel, but with the very auditing firm that gave it to you. Don’t make assumptions.
Step 6 – Keep in Mind that SOC 2 Audits are an Annual Exercise
Next Steps – Let’ Talk