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Questions to Ask my SOC2 Auditor before Signing up for a SOC 2 Compliance Audit

December 6, 2022 | By Accorian
SOC2 Compliance Audits

Written By Om Hazela & Sarthak Makkar ||

  Ideally You want to find a service provider to take you from SOC 2 readiness to report. 

SOC 2 is a third-party review that attests the organization’s ability to protect the data and information they process and store. Given the current scenario where a lot of data breaches and cyberattacks are on the rise, a SOC 2 report help organizations empower with:
• Enhance one’s view into your organization’s security posture
• Identify opportunities for improvement over existing controls
• Position your company competitively in the market (Prospects want to ensure Security is considered a priority in your organization).

Many vendors offer different aspects of the SOC 2 process, from software providers who help you get audit-ready, to certified auditors from CPA firms who can assess your infrastructure and release a final SOC 2 report.

Ideally, you will want to find a service provider to take you from SOC 2 readiness to report.

Use these points to help you assess a vendor/service provider before signing a contract for your organization’s SOC 2 Assessment. These questions will provide you with clarity about your requirements for SOC 2 and how a service provider will be able to help you, from preparing your organization to getting attested for SOC.

1. Are you a licensed CPA firm? 

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) regulates SOC 2 audits, which must be carried out by an external auditor from a certified CPA firm. This is the only way you, as a company, can get an official SOC 2 report. Verifying that the SOC 2 vendor you are considering working with has the required accreditation is essential.

2. Do you offer SOC 2 readiness services? 

Before you carry out a formal audit, a SOC 2 readiness assessment is a helpful way to assist you in evaluating your company’s posture. Before a SOC 2 audit, gaps in your cybersecurity procedures that need to be closed (and their severity) can be identified using a readiness assessment. Ultimately, this will help you save time, establish priorities, and position your business to perform well during the SOC 2 assessment.

 3. Evidence collection and validation

The evidence collection processes for SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2 are very similar. The evidence is the same whether it is SOC 2 Type 1 or Type 2; they both cover a moment in time or a period of time. Thus, you could be required to submit the most recent Board of Directors meeting minutes for Type 1. However, if Type 2 applies to you, you must present those minutes for each quarter of your observation time. For a Type 2, there is more proof to gather, but the information is the same as a Type 1.

4. How long does it take to complete a SOC 2 assessment?

Many service providers claim to be able to finish a SOC 2 audit in 14 days. This clause should be clarified before a contract is signed. Although evidence collection is essentially one phase in the SOC 2 audit process and does not always lead to a full audit or final report, the two-week schedule is frequently used as an estimate for an expedited evidence collection procedure.

Demand a detailed timeline from your vendor and ask them to walk you through each phase of the SOC 2 audit. This is crucial so that you can allocate resources effectively. Additionally, it is critical to understand when you might anticipate receiving a report to effectively interact with potential customers who inquire about a SOC 2 report during the sales process.

5. Can you provide us with a final report?  

Many SOC 2 service companies can only help you assess your readiness to conduct a SOC 2 audit using a tool. However, they are often unable to perform the audit and produce the SOC 2 report.

Make sure the company you choose for your SOC 2 compliance also provides audit services that will result in a SOC 2 report without forcing you to switch vendors in the middle of the audit process. As mentioned earlier, an auditor employed by a licensed CPA firm is the only one who can produce a final report.

Make sure a service company you choose to partner with likewise employs capable auditors. If not, you must permit a second vendor to perform the audit process. This is not recommended since there is a high likelihood of information being “lost in transition” between the two entities, squandering time and resources and pushing back the deadlines for audits and reports.

6. How many SOC 2 audits have you completed to date? 

Experience cannot be substituted. The choice of an experienced SOC 2 auditor can be the difference between a quick and pleasant audit procedure that yields a trustworthy final report and receiving a piece of paper that no one will accept.
You may get a sense of a company’s experience by asking them how many audits they have already conducted by looking at the tools and information they offer about the SOC 2 process on their website. A dependable and knowledgeable partner should be able to give you enough information on the SOC 2 procedure and complete details about their products and services.

7. What industries do you have experience with?

In addition, for your SOC 2 auditor to comprehend how the SOC 2 criteria apply to your firm, you will want to ensure they are knowledgeable about the ins and outs of your industry. Additionally, many SOC 2 components overlap with those of other crucial, sector-specific assessments. For instance, the overlap between SOC 2 and HIPAA (Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance would be known to your auditor if they have experience in the healthcare industry. They might be able to provide you with a combined SOC 2 + HIPAA security evaluation. By doing this, you could finish both audits simultaneously and conserve time and resources.

8. What Other services do you provide that could help as we continue to grow as a company?

SOC 2 is one of several significant audits and assessments conducted in the compliance and cybersecurity fields. It is typical for businesses to seek additional compliance initiatives after completing a SOC 2 audit.
SOC 2 also overlaps with other audit criteria, as was previously indicated. Having completed a SOC 2 audit, you are well-positioned to pursue additional complementary certifications. Find a provider that provides additional audits, attestations, and assessments to build a long-term engagement that satisfies all of your compliance and cybersecurity requirements. To avoid duplicating fieldwork and evidence-collection activities, it is advantageous to establish a partnership with one vendor.

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