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The 411 On SOC Audits

12/09
2014
Author: 
administrator

In today's globally competitive business environment, it's vitally important to make sure you know as much about your business as possible. As a service organization, making sure all the proper controls are in order is critical. This is where an SSAE 16 or Service Organization Controls (SOC) audit can be very beneficial.

Below is some helpful information about conducting a SOC audit, and why Assure Professional is a great choice to conduct such an audit for your company.

What Does A Comprehensive SOC Audit Consist Of?

SSAE 16 or SOC 1 follows the same basic principles as the old SAS 70 audits. As defined by the AICPA, SOC 1 audits report on controls at a service organization relevant to user entities’ internal control over financial reporting. They evaluate the effect of the controls at the service organization on the user’s entities’ financial statement assertions.

There are two types of reports for such engagements:

• Type I-SOC Type I reports evaluate the design effectiveness of a service provider’s controls & then confirms these controls have been placed in operation as of a specific date.
• Type II-SOC II reports include the examination & confirmation steps involved in Type I PLUS an evaluation of the effectiveness of the controls for a period of at least 6 months. User organizations usually require Type II evaluations for their service providers.

For a service organization that relies heavily on technology, SOC 2 audits take it a step further. A proper SOC 2 audit will take technological risks into account in addition to procedural ones. A SOC 2 audit also contains the Type I or Type II options and will focus on one or more of these five principles:

• Security.
• Availability.
• Processing Integrity.
• Confidentiality.
• Privacy.

If your service organization is involved in e-commerce, software as a service, data hosting or deals with a great deal of customer data, a SOC 2 audit is a great way to protect yourself and your clients, making sure all your business processes have been designed effectively and related controls are appropriate and operating according to plan.

Regardless of the type of audit, its critical that your business assess your customer’s needs and be consistently and constantly monitoring your processes and controls to ensure you are delivering on your service commitments. A SOC audit is a critical part of this and ensures your company is serious while also demonstrating this commitment to quality your customers.

While large big box retailers don't often complete a SOC audit, we can turn to them for a great example of the importance of having sufficient controls in place to protect company and customer information. After a significant data breach where their user's data was compromised, Target Corporation suffered a significant blemish to its reputation costing the company both financially and in customer goodwill. As a service organization, protecting your client's data is critical, and SOC audits are a vital step in achieving this.

What Makes Assure Professional Stand Out?

Assure Professional is proud to be among the leaders in SSAE 16 (SOC 1) and SOC 2 audits. Here are some of the ways we work hard to provide the best experience possible:

Thorough Pre Assessment. We believe a proper assessment is critical to the success of your audit, so we provide it as part of the audit package. We will take the time to meet with you and your partners, making sure we have a clear, shared vision before proceeding.

Flexibility: A typical audit at Assure will take 4 to 8 weeks, but we know that each business operates differently, and are extremely flexible in our auditing process. We are pleased to work around your particular schedule, in the time frame that makes the most sense for you.

Communication: During an intricate process like a SOC 1 or SOC 2 audit, communication is critical to our success. We're straightforward in the materials we request during our assessment, and are never more than a phone call away throughout the entire process.

Experience: We have completed SOC 1 and SOC 2 audits for hundreds of clients, giving us the experience necessary to complete these audits as efficiently and effectively as possible. Our auditors are trained to respect your business processes, as we are aware that these audits can sometimes interfere with standard business processes.
Proprietary tool: We have invested in developing our own proprietary software tool customized around the SOC audit process. Our process and tools allow us to easily share and monitor information exchanged and keep track of assigned audit tasks and their related status.

SOC audits can be extremely difficult to navigate, so we strive to make the process as easy as possible. If you believe your service organization could benefit from a SOC 1 or SOC 2 audit, we'd be happy to let you speak to one of our experts to figure out what makes sense for you! We can also set up a time to demonstrate our process and answer any questions you may have. Simply reach out and contact us 888-605-9848!

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