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The SSAE 16 Report

9/5
2013
Author: Administrator
Category: Uncategorized

If you are a customer of a service organization or the service organization itself, merely obtaining a SSAE 16 (SOC 1) or SOC 2 attestation report isn’t the end of the process.  As you review the SOC audit report pay particular attention to the following areas of the report.

Independent Auditors Opinion.
A clean opinion is also referred to as an “unqualified” opinion.  This means in the auditor’s opinion: 1) the description presented fairly demonstrates the service organizations system 2) the controls were suitably designed to achieve the related control objectives and 3) in the case of a type 2 report, the controls tested operated effectively throughout the period.  Alternatively, a qualified opinion may be issued for several reasons including: management’s description of the system is not fairly presented, controls are not suitably designed, or in the case of a type 2 report, controls are not operating effectively.  A qualified opinion could also be issued if the auditor determines that insufficient evidence was available at the time of the audit to provide an opinion in general or on a particular item.

User Control Consideration
The User Control Consideration Section of the independent service auditors report should identifies controls that the service provider has determined that the company (in other words the service organizations clients) should have in place for the proper delivery of the outsourced services.  These considerations should become a part of the annual service provider reviews to ensure that adequate controls are in place.

Test of Controls and Operating Effectiveness.  Finally review the results of the tests of controls in the SOC audit report in order to assess the operating effectiveness.  Should the service auditor find exceptions, ensure that management has addressed the potential deficiencies in the control environment.

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