Who can perform a SOC 2 audit?
Who can perform a SOC 2 audit?
Are you looking for a SOC 2 auditor? Compared to other compliance standards, SOC 2 provides more flexibility and allows you to solve problems and minimize risks in a way that works for your business. Because SOC 2 is somewhat nuanced, who you hire to conduct your audit is important.
As you start your SOC 2 process, you may be wondering where to find an auditor and what qualifications they need to have. A SOC 2 audit must be performed by a certified public accountant (CPA) at a firm that is accredited by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), but there is so much more that goes into selecting the right SOC 2 auditor for you. Let’s dive into the specifics you’ll need to know.
What is a SOC 2 audit?
If you’re pursuing SOC 2 compliance, an audit is a necessary step. During the audit, your third-party auditor will deep-dive into your systems and operations to determine if your security infrastructure meets the criteria for SOC 2.
There are two types of SOC 2 audits to choose from: SOC 2 Type 1, which analyzes your information security at a single point in time, or SOC 2 Type 2, which analyzes your information security and its effectiveness over a period of time. In both SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2, your auditor will create a detailed report of their findings that shows how your cybersecurity stacks up against the standard. This report determines whether or not your business receives its SOC 2.
Benefits of getting a SOC 2 audit
While a SOC 2 does require an investment of your time and resources, a SOC 2 audit can bring valuable benefits to your business, such as:
- Attracting high-value clients who need their vendors to have a SOC 2.
- Developing a secure infrastructure and implementing security best practices using a respected framework.
- Demonstrating a strong security posture to prospects and potential partners to build trust and drive business growth.
- Reducing your risk of a data breach and the costs that come with it.
While the benefits of having a SOC 2 varies depending on your industry, many businesses see it as an investment that pays for itself with the new opportunities that come as a result.
What do SOC 2 auditors do?
Once you’ve hired a SOC 2 auditor, they’ll need to investigate your security systems. Which platforms they’ll look into and which documents they’ll need will depend on your technology infrastructure and how your business operates.
Here’s a general preview of what tasks your auditor will perform during your audit:
- Collect information about how your systems and operations are set up, as well as review any documentation you’ve prepared ahead of the audit.
- Understand the scope of your SOC 2 audit, including which of the five Trust Services Criteria are relevant to your organization.
- Find proof of the controls needed to meet each of the criteria, including digital protections like firewalls and encryption, staff policies, and identity and access management.
- Collect evidence to document your security posture.
- Collaborate with you and your team as needed, ask additional questions, or request additional documentation.
- Test your SOC 2 controls and collect evidence on how effective they are (this is only the case for a SOC 2 Type 2 — not a Type 1 report).
- Prepare a report of their findings, including a full inventory of your SOC 2 controls.
- Determine if you’ve passed the audit and met the requirements for SOC 2 compliance.
Before they begin, your auditor will give you an overview of how they’ll conduct their audit and if it will vary from the standard processes listed above.
Who else is involved in a SOC 2 audit?
A SOC 2 audit is a collaborative endeavor. Your auditor will need your cooperation to get the information needed to complete their report. Along with the auditor, several internal stakeholders will also need to be involved. While these participants will vary depending on the size and structure of your company, it may include the following teams and individuals:
- Compliance team
- Information security manager
- Human resource manager
- Chief technology officer
- Internal legal counsel
- Engineering manager
How to select a SOC 2 auditor
It's important to choose the right SOC 2 auditor for your needs. You’ll need to make sure they have the right qualifications, are within your budget, and can guide you in correcting areas of non-compliance in your infrastructure to successfully complete your SOC 2.
A SOC 2 audit must be performed by a CPA from an accredited AICPA firm. If you’re searching for an auditor on your own, start by identifying any qualified CPAs in your area. Ask for recommendations from people in your network who’ve completed a SOC 2 audit. From there, create a short list of auditors and interview them to select the one that’s right for you.
However, finding an auditor on your own can be a time-consuming and complex task. With a trust management platform, like Vanta, you can get help finding an auditor and streamlining the entire audit process. Our Vanta Seamless Audit package allows you to select an independent, Vanta-vetted SOC 2 auditor in one simple transaction with the cost of your audit built into the cost of your platform.
Here’s what an automated audit looks like:
- Integrate all of your systems to the Vanta platform.
- Identify which controls and protections are missing with risk assessments.
- Get contextualized findings to help you fix areas of your infrastructure that do not align with SOC 2.
- Automate the SOC 2 evidence collection process and centralize all your documents in one place.
- Save hours of time researching and interviewing SOC 2 auditors by selecting an auditor directly from the Vanta platform.
- Streamline reviews by giving your auditor a link to your Trust Center to easily access the information and documentation they need.
- Minimize the overall cost of your SOC 2 by bundling the cost of your audit with the cost of your trust management platform.
Pairing a Vanta-vetted auditor with your Vanta Trust Center speeds up the entire SOC 2 process. Because our vetted auditors are familiar with the platform, they can collect the information they need quickly and easily, shortening the time it takes for you to complete your SOC 2 audit. Some customers reported an 80% reduction in total audit completion time.
Get started with SOC 2 automation
Automation can save your business time and money during your SOC 2 audit. Vanta’s Trust Management Platform can help you prepare for an audit, collect documentation, and make finding an auditor easy.
Schedule a demo to learn how you can simplify your SOC 2 audit.