A Roadmap for the SOC Auditing Process

June 18, 2020

Not sure how to prepare for a SOC 2 audit? You’re not alone. Most companies are in that same boat. That’s why Vanta and BARR Advisory have teamed up to create a series of three blog posts. Our shared goal is to help you feel more prepared for the SOC 2 report process. The three posts within the series will include:

  • Step One: Preparing for Your SOC Audit Journey
  • Step Two: Your Trip Itinerary
  • Step Three: Destination Reached – Now What?

“Vanta's expert team helped analyze our compliance requirements and shared what was needed to complete a SAQ-D. Because of this, we accelerated our timelines, saved hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in costs.”

Klas Hesselman
Co-founder  |  Flow Networks

The most successful journeys begin with a solid plan. But figuring out how to get started can be overwhelming. After all, you can’t just head out the door empty-handed. You need things like supplies, an itinerary, people to share the experience with – a roadmap to success of some kind.

Welcome to your roadmap. Here, we’ll detail five steps to help you prepare for your SOC 2 audit journey.

  1. Choose Your Path: Manual or Automated?

You have a choice on how to prepare. And it’s all about what works best for your company. Preparation can be the most time, staff, and budget consuming part of the process.

  • Option 1: Plan and conduct the bulk of the preparation work manually. This typically consists of a readiness assessment, rigorous interviews, a deep dive into your cybersecurity processes, and a lengthy manual gathering of materials that showcase how your company meets each and every SOC 2 security control. This heavy lifting may be done before your auditor visits your facilities. These site visits include additional staff time for interviews, walkthroughs, and likely some additional evidence collection. Once a visit is complete and an auditor feels they have sufficient knowledge of how your company meets SOC 2 standards, he or she will draft the report.
  • Option 2: Partner with Vanta to automate the process, cutting out a lot of the cost and time commitment by utilizing its suite of tools. Vanta’s “security in a box offering” has helped companies of all sizes prepare and carry out successful SOC 2 audits. With this option, Vanta partners with an auditing firm, like BARR Advisory. This means your Vanta reps become your auditor’s go-to contacts, saving you money, freeing up your staff so they can stay focused on big-picture goals, and streamlining the entire experience.

  1. Select Which Trust Service Criteria Apply to Your Company

Assuming you choose option 2 above, you’ll then work with Vanta to decide which Trust Service Criteria need to be included in your SOC 2 audit. Every SOC 2 audit includes the Security criteria as the required foundation from which other criteria can be added. Other optional criteria include Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy. No idea what fits your company best? That’s ok, your Vanta rep will guide you. You should also read this article describing the TSC’s and how each works within a SOC 2 audit

  1. Identify and Fix Problems Before Your Audit Begins

You read that right. With Vanta’s automated technology built to the SOC 2 standard, you can close security gaps before BARR Advisory (or another auditor of your choice) enters the picture. Vanta works with you to build a list of custom controls, then connects to your company’s infrastructure to monitor security within the systems and services you offer. Issues are automatically identified, allowing your team to respond quickly.

  1. Select Your Auditor

The selection of an auditor is an important part of the process. Look for one that can offer you a list of references from other clients, extreme professionalism and attention to detail, and has a company culture similar to your own. Vanta has partnered with BARR Advisory, a cloud-based security and compliance auditor, on more than 50 SOC audits so far, and considers BARR a trusted advisor to not only its current clients but some of the fastest-growing cloud-based organizations across the globe.

  1. Let Vanta Take the Lead

Vanta will take the reins, bringing everyone together, from any necessary staff at your company to Vanta reps to the auditors, and lead the conversation so everyone is on the same page. From here, you can expect Vanta and your auditor to review monitored security data together, leading you to successful SOC 2 report completion.

Now that we’ve prepared you for the SOC 2 journey, get ready for the next blog within our “A Roadmap for the SOC 2 Auditing Process” series titled, “Step Two: Your Trip Itinerary,” set to debut in July. Our final blog within the series titled, “Destination Reached – Now What?” will be posted in August.

Vanta automates security compliance.
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