Businesses in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio – and all throughout Texas – looking to become SSAE 18 SOC 1 compliant can now use Texas Compliance, LLC’s in-depth SOC 1 audit checklist for ensuring an efficient and comprehensive audit process from beginning to end. Audits are time-consuming and operationally challenging, and it’s why being proactive and planning properly is a must for SSAE 18 SOC 1 auditing success. We’ve been helping businesses all throughout Texas for years in becoming SSAE 18 SOC 1 compliant – along with assisting in other regulatory compliance needs – so turn to the experts today at Texas Compliance, LLC.
Comprehensive SSAE 18 SOC 1 Audit Roadmap for Texas Businesses
Need some assistance in learning more about SSAE 18 SOC 1 compliance and what it truly takes to become compliant? Curious as to the steps and procedures needed for ensuring a successful and efficient audit that’s delivered within budget and on schedule? Texas Compliance, LLC has performed hundreds of SSAE 18 SOC 1 and SOC 2 audits for clients, so take note of the following important information:
1. Pick the Right CPA Firm: Not every firm specializes in regulatory compliance – but Texas Compliance, LLC does – and it means we’re efficient, very good at what we do, offer fixed-fees, and have a national presence from coast to coast. SSAE 18 SOC 1 regulatory compliance audits are here to stay, so it just makes sense to work with Texas’ compliance leaders, and that’s Texas Compliance, LLC.
2. Assess the SSAE 18 SOC 1 vs. SOC 2 Landscape: Much has been discussed regarding SSAE 18 SOC 1 vs. SOC 2 – specifically – which assessment should a service organization undertake? Here’s the simple answer: SSAE 18 SOC 1 reports are for businesses that exhibit a true association with the ICFR concept (see below), while SOC 2 reporting is for technology businesses (think data centers, data analytics, cloud computing, etc.). They each have their rightful place in the world of regulatory compliance, therefore, you need to ensure that the correct assessment is being done.
3. Put Together a Current List of Systems: Call it an asset inventory, a complete list of all the information systems your organization currently is deploying in production environments. Where to begin? Start by documenting your network devices – routers, firewalls, load balancers, switches – and then move on to your servers and the actual operating systems and applications running on your physical/logical servers. This helps the audit out tremendously as it gives both you and the auditors a very clear picture as to the systems in scope and which devices could be possibly chosen for sampling.
4. Define the Business Process: From making widgets to analyzing data, every company specializes in something, and it’s therefore important to identify exactly what the business process is for purposes of SSAE 18 SOC 1 compliance. Is the entire company-wide business process to be included in the assessment, or just a sub-component of it?
5. Assess ICFR: What’s ICFR – it stands for “Internal Controls over Financial Reporting” and it essentially means if a service organization is providing services to businesses that could impact the financial reporting of these businesses, then you must report on such ICFR initiatives. Are you offering services that relate to revenue recognition, asset valuation for balance sheet reporting, or any other type of ICFR, then it’s important to test such controls during an SSAE 18 SOC 1 assessment.
6. Conduct a Readiness Assessment: SSAE 18 SOC 1 audits can be very laborious and operationally challenging, hence the need for a readiness assessment is absolutely critical, no question about it. Why? Because such an assessment is essential for determining missing policies, procedures, and overall processes vital for both a successful audit, and a well-designed internal control environment. Correcting control deficiencies and failures prior to the actual commencement of the audit is critical for helping save time, money, and precious man-hours.
7. Get Ready to Remediate: Remediation is just a way of life in the world of SSAE 18 SOC 1 compliance for Texas businesses and that’s because every company has something they can improve upon. From antiquated policies to non-formalized procedures – and more – the goal of remediating one’s internal control environment seems never ending.
Moreover, having a successful SSAE 18 SOC 1 audit means putting in place all necessary changes to one’s internal control framework PRIOR to the assessment kicking off. Going back after the fact to correct changes just becomes an audit nightmare, ultimately resulting in scope creep and increased fees.
No internal control environment is ever perfect – we truly understand that – therefore, remediation in some form or fashion is just part of the process of SSAE 18 SOC 1 compliance. How much and what type of remediation must be undertaken is ultimately dependent on the maturity of one’s control environment. Whatever the remediation task is – from developing policies and procedures to making system configuration changes, and more – Texas Compliance, LLC can help, so let’s talk!
8. Determine I.T. General Controls and Supporting Control Objectives: Every SSAE 18 SOC 1 audit will require the development and assessment of various I.T. general controls – simply known as ITCG – and it’s often a joint effort between the service organization and the actual CPA firm conducting the audit. Furthermore, ITGC cover areas such as access control, change management, data backup, network security, and much more. This also means that supporting policies and procedures need to be in place for such areas, so keep this in mind.
9. Develop Business Process and ICFR Control Objectives: ITCG information – as just described above – is relatively straightforward, but specific business process controls need to be developed and included within the actual audit also. Ask yourself these questions:
- What specific functions are we performing that we can test for?
- What other processes and procedures are our clients – or the marketplace – seeking to learn more about?
- Have we conducted any prior audit or risk assessment that can help in identifying our business process control objectives?
10. Develop Policies and Procedures: It’s one of the more demanding and time-consuming activities for SSAE 18 SOC 1 compliance, but information security policies and procedures need to be developed, implemented, followed, and in place for the actual audit itself. Nobody really likes writing policies and procedures, and it’s why Texas Compliance, LLC offers a comprehensive policy writing for our Texas clients.
11. Audit Time: After it’s all said and done, it’s now time to call in the auditors, essentially scheduling fieldwork and beginning the true process of becoming SSAE 18 SOC 1 compliant. With all you’ve done – from an initial readiness assessment to developing policies and procedures, and more – the audit process should be relatively straightforward.
Please note that the steps listed above are essentially applicable to SOC 2 audits also, and really, for any other type of regulatory compliance assessment where a structured process is needed from beginning to end. From SSAE 18 SOC 1 compliance to PCI DSS certification, FISMA assessments, and more, the process is also about planning, educating, executing, and delivering – steps we know very well.
SOC 1 Experts for Texas Businesses