Texas Compliance, LLC offers comprehensive SOC 2 compliance audits and assessments for Texas businesses in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and all other locations, seeking to become compliant with the AICPA System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 reporting framework. What’s essential for all Texas businesses is that they truly understand the SOC 2 auditing process from beginning to end, and it’s why Texas Compliance, LLC provides a comprehensive SOC 2 compliance roadmap for Texas service organizations consisting of the following:
SOC 2 Compliance Roadmap for Texas Businesses
1. Perform a Scoping & Readiness Assessment: It’s important to gain a strong understating of one’s internal control environment – the policies, procedures, and processes for which a SOC 2 audit will be assessed against. There’s simply no reason to walk into a SOC 2 audit and start assessing and testing of controls without conducting essential pre-audit activities.
When performed correctly, a SOC 2 readiness assessment helps identity gaps, deficiencies, and weaknesses within an organization’s control environment that must be remediated prior to the audit commencing. If not, the audit will likely fail miserably, with your business receiving a final report that’s less than satisfactory in terms of findings.
One of the most important initiatives to assess, define, and confirm is the business process scope for your SOC 2 assessment. Specifically, are the entire organization’s activities included in the audit, or possibly just a subset of the businesses? The larger the scope, the more challenging the audit can be in terms of operational time and costs, so keep this in mind. Service Organizations will also need to decide on which of the five Trust Services Principles and Criteria will be included within the scope of the assessment – one, a few, or all of them?
Once you’ve determined some basis SOC 2 scoping parameters, you’ll also need to ensure that you have a detailed, comprehensive, and accurate listing of your information systems – specifically – an asset inventory that lists the following:
- Network Devices (routers, firewalls, switches, load balancers)
- Servers (physical and virtual)
- Other end-use technologies and tools, such as company-owned laptops, etc.
You’ll need to essentially document and provide a detailed list of your entire information security architecture – why – because it’s a best practice and auditors will also demand such a list. Remember something very important – you can’t defend what you don’t know you have, hence the reason for a comprehensive and well-documented asset inventory list. Texas Compliance, LLC offers an easy-to-use, high-quality asset inventory list that’s complimentary to all of our valued clients – one of the many documents we offer for SOC 2 compliance.
3. Perform Remediation: Almost every service organization can expect some type of remediation to be performed as part of the SOC 2 process. After all, it’s hard to find an internal control environment that is perfect with little or no gaps or weaknesses. Nobody’s perfect, so remediating policies and procedures, correcting security and operational issues – and more – are very common, and should be expected. The key is correcting internal control failures prior to the actual SOC 2 assessment beginning, as this greatly assists – but does not guarantee – adequate audit findings.
4. Undertake Essential Policy Remediation: While SOC 2 is without question a technical assessment, don’t forget about the huge need for policy documentation, specifically when it comes to information security policies and procedures. While businesses are relatively good at what they do, documenting internal controls and relevant processes often lags.
From access control to change management, data backup, incident response measures – and more – documentation is an essential component of the SOC 2 auditing process. Texas Compliance, LLC offers a complimentary InfoSec security templates to all of our Texas clients in Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and all other locations, for helping ensure rapid and complete compliance with the SOC2 auditing standard.
5. Perform Necessary Technical Remediation: Often, remediating old and antiquated – or even missing – information security policies is not enough, it requires technical and security remediation. Examples include making changes to firewall rulesets, undertaking additional data backup procedures, or enhancing password complexity rules, and more.
Additional technical remediation can also include hardening servers and making necessary network changes, etc. Doing and audit just for the sake of an audit is a waste of time and money – it’s not what Texas Compliance, LLC is about – we’re about helping Texas businesses put in place industry leading internal controls for ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of critical information systems. Doing a SOC 2 the right way means securing your network like never before, so turn to the Texas compliance experts at Texas Compliance, LLC.
While policy documentation is a large part of SOC 2 compliance – and rightfully so – don’t forget the importance of actually implementing and following the procedures, which ultimately will be assessed by external auditors during the audit process. Therefore, you’ll want to take the time in making all necessary technical and security changes to one’s environment – and if you’re lacking in resources – Texas Compliance, LLC can assist.
6. Assessing Risk with a Document Risk Management Program: One of the most fundamentally important requirements for SOC 2 compliance is performing an annual risk assessment and risk management initiatives. Sure, it’s a mandate for SOC 2 reporting, but it’s also a best practice every business should be performing, regardless of industry, size or location. Sufficing for the important risk assessment measures for SOC 2 compliance is much more than just having a policy document in place, it actually requires you to perform the assessment.
As part of our fixed-fee pricing for SOC 2 assessments for Texas businesses, Texas Compliance, LLC provides a complete and easy-to-use risk assessment program, one complete with policies, forms, and checklists. It’s just another reason why Texas service organizations turn to Texas Compliance, LLC for SOC 2 compliance, and so should you.
7. Perform Annual Security Awareness Training: While some of the above referenced items are perspective mandates for SOC 2 compliance – such as assessing risk in accordance with the “Common Criteria” provisions, others, such as security awareness training, are not as prescriptive, but still should be considered in-scope. With that said, Texas Compliance, LLC offers a comprehensive security awareness training packet for all of our valued Texas clients, just another reason to consider us as your providers for SOC 2 compliance.
8. Additional Assessment Topics: Items such as security awareness training, business continuity and disaster recovery planning – just to name a few – while they may not be prescriptive requirements for SOC 2 compliance, are often assessed. Keep this in mind when choosing a CPA firm as you want to be able to readily agree on critical scoping issues for the SOC 2 assessment.
Remember that the SOC 2 standard allows for a great degree of flexibility regarding scope and the type of controls to be assessed against for the audit. While one auditing firm may propose to include a certain set of testing criteria for the SOC 2 assessment, another may look at a different set of controls, and it’s why you’ll need to work closely with the CPA firm conducting the assessment for purposes of agreeing on important scoping and testing parameters.
9. Collecting Audit Evidence: Audit evidence consists of the deliverables requested by the assessor – screenshots of system settings, signed memos, log reports, and much more – so keep this in mind. The better prepared you are in understanding exactly what’s being asked from your organization in terms of audit evidence, the greater the chances of having a successful assessment process from the beginning. Remember that information security policies and procedures are a big part of audit evidence for SOC 2 assessments, so it’s important to develop such documentation if not currently in place.
11. Final Report: The final SOC 2 report will include important information relevant to one’s control environment, such as the description of the “system”, a written statement of assertion by management, an evaluation, assessment, and possible testing of controls – if a SOC 2 Type 2 audit was performed – along with other details. The CPA firm conducting the SOC 2 assessment will technically be responsible for authoring and compiling the report, yet they’ll request substantial information from your for helping put all the pieces together.
Texas Compliance, LLC – Texas’ Premier Compliance Firm – Fixed Fee Pricing
Texas Compliance, LLC has been offering comprehensive regulatory compliance services to Texas businesses for years, from Brownsville to Denton – and beyond – offering superior services and fixed-fee pricing for all our engagements. We also provide a host of industry leading policy templates, provisioning and hardening documents, and other supporting solutions for helping businesses clear any of the common SOC 2 hurdles.
Additionally, Texas Compliance, LLC offers a wide range of additional regulatory compliance services and solutions, such as SSAE 16 SOC 1, SOC 3, PCI DSS, FISMA, DFARS, HIPAA, HITECH, HITRUST and GLBA compliance, and much more. When it comes to learning more about today’s demanding regulations for California businesses, turn to the experts at Texas Compliance, LLC. Compliance is here to stay – there’s no arguing that – so it’s important to put in place a long-term program that offers efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and high-quality reporting, and that’s exactly what Texas Compliance, LLC offers for Texas clients.