As your company grows and starts to service the midmarket and enterprise, you may find that you need a consistent and recognized way to demonstrate your company’s security practices to customers and prospects. A SOC 2 audit offers a standardized framework to assess your security practices and to communicate the results to your clients. But it can be confusing to get started: with whom should you work? Who can perform a SOC 2 audit? Let’s walk through the process.
Proving security as you sell into the enterprise
If proving your company’s security is becoming a barrier to growth — you’re spending more and more time answering security questionnaires, taking one-off calls to discuss your security practices, and taking time away from your core business — it may be the right moment to undertake a SOC 2 audit. As you sell your product to larger companies, you may find that they apply more scrutiny in the procurement process; with cybersecurity concerns front-and-center for your enterprise customers and their users, potential clients must ensure that your product is secure and that you are maintaining security practices at a level of quality that meets their needs.
You’ve committed to completing a SOC 2 audit to streamline the process of demonstrating your product and company’s security. Now it’s time to determine whom you need to work with — both internally and externally — to get your audit and report completed. Who can perform the audit? Who from your organization needs to be involved?
The SOC 2 audit and reporting process, created by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), involves the assessment and documentation of your company’s verified security practices. To complete a SOC 2 audit, your company’s security measures must be reviewed and verified by a certified auditor, a CPA. Only licensed CPA firms can perform a SOC 2 examination. If a SOC 2 audit were to be produced by an accountant other than a CPA, the audit and its results would not be in accordance with the established guidelines for the SOC reporting process. Further, the AICPA requires that CPA firms must be independent in order to engage with clients to perform SOC audits, to ensure that audit results have integrity and have been obtained through objective assessment. Obtaining an auditor’s independent assessment is a key function of SOC 2, and it is important to work with a trusted CPA.
A SOC 2 audit is focused on reporting on the design of controls and testing the operating effectiveness of those controls for a service organization. SOC 2 reports address different aspects of your company’s controls, based on an assessment drawing from five possible areas of review: Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, or Privacy. The particular shape of your company’s SOC 2 will be based on what you want to communicate about your company’s security, and what your customers and prospects need to know. Who is involved with this process in your organization? Those individuals at your company whose work intersects with information security and the controls being assessed are the people who will potentially be involved with your audit and reporting process. This will likely be members of your engineering team.
You must work with a CPA to complete the SOC 2 process — but you don’t need to work exclusively with a CPA. In fact, working solely with a CPA can lead to an expensive SOC audit, especially if your data is not in order. Compliance software can help streamline the SOC 2 audit and reporting process for all parties involved. Vanta software can help your company cut costs and expedite the process of obtaining a SOC 2 report.
Vanta has established a wide range of automated checks that conform to the SOC 2 standard and will work with you to build a list of rules tailored to your company’s needs. Vanta works by connecting to your company’s major software, administration, and security systems; the software continuously monitors your system and services, collecting information about your security to prove your compliance over time.
Instead of spending extensive time with various team members on manual evidence collection and systems monitoring, your auditor can leverage the continuously monitored data collected within Vanta to complete your SOC 2 report. You connect with Vanta and your auditor over a video chat, and your auditor will be able to access Vanta data that is necessary to complete the audit.
Consider a Vanta-certified audit partner to save time and money
You may choose to work with a Vanta-certified audit partner. This allows you to control costs with a negotiated price upfront, and you’ll gain the benefit of working with an auditor who is familiar with the Vanta software.
Vanta can advise on how to complete the SOC 2 process efficiently and effectively, with the right people participating in the process throughout. When you work with Vanta and a CPA who is a Vanta-certified partner, your company can obtain a SOC 2 as painlessly as possible.