The SSAE 16/SOC Audit is no joke. It’s a very important tool for service organizations and should be taken seriously. The last thing an organization wants is to receive a qualified opinion on their audit. That’s why it’s so important for organizations to do the necessary leg work up front. Follow these 4 tips to ensure you receive a clean opinion on your SSAE 16 report.
1. Educate Yourself on the SSAE 16/SOC Audit
It helps to know what you’re getting into before you dive head first into the SSAE 16 audit process. The Assure Professional Blog is a great resource for information on all things SSAE 16. Learn how to determine your reporting needs, why the audit is beneficial to service organizations and what to expect as your audit progresses.
If you have any questions, definitely contact us directly and we will work with you to make sure you are on the right path.
2. Define Your Control Objectives
Work with your auditor to determine the scope of the audit and define the controls and objectives that will be tested. In other words, what processes will be looked at for efficiency and effectiveness? The nature of your business will determine which control processes are most important to your clients and therefore will be most heavily scrutinized during the audit process. If you know these control objectives ahead of time, you can devote extra attention to ensuring that these areas are running smoothly and the processes you have in place are tight.
3. Conduct a Readiness Assessment
There’s no better way to prepare for your SSAE 16 audit than by conducting a readiness assessment. The readiness assessment will help you determine the scope of the audit and ensures that you’ve dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s. If your systems are lacking in any of the following areas, the readiness assessment will make you aware of it, and give you a chance to correct it before it really counts against your organization.
- Documentation and formalized policies and procedures regarding information security
- Enforcement of procedural based activities, such as opening formalized change request tickets
- Evidence of internal audit procedures
- Systems that are vulnerable to network failures and other exploits
4. Reconcile Deficiencies Prior to the Audit
Any deficiencies or red flags that arise as a result of the readiness audit can be reconciled internally before they count as a strike against you in your official SSAE 16 report. Assign tasks to people internally who are most capable of fixing the problem.
You wouldn’t dream of taking a test without studying ahead of time, so why should your SSAE 16 audit be any different? In fact, it should be taken more seriously than any test you’ve taken, as it will probably be the most expensive test. There is just as much to gain from a successful report as there is to lose from a failing report. Do your homework up front to ensure that you go into the audit feeling confident and prepared for success.