Compliance frameworks
Differentiator among compliance automation software: Risk assessment register

Differentiator among compliance automation software: Risk assessment register

You already know that the SOC 2 compliance and auditing process is too extensive for your in-house team to complete manually, so you’ve decided to use compliance software to accelerate the process. That’s a great first step, but many compliance platforms won’t help you as much as you would expect. This is why it’s so important to understand and compare the features that each tool offers.

One differentiator that sets some compliance tools apart from the rest is a risk assessment register. Let’s take a look at what a risk register is and why it’s so critical for your business.

The role of risk assessments in SOC 2 compliance

To achieve and maintain your SOC 2 compliance, you’ll need to perform annual risk assessments. This involves a thorough investigation into the physical risks, code-related risks, and personnel-related risks to your data security. As you identify these risks, you’ll also need to establish tasks to keep these risks under control and prevent them from becoming a problem. Finally, you’ll need to assign a task owner to each of these risk mitigation tasks so that someone is responsible for keeping it on track.

How most compliance platforms address risk assessments

Risk assessment management is a gap for most SOC 2 automation platforms. They may give you guidance on conducting your annual risk assessment, but that is generally where it ends.

Your SOC 2 auditor will require a spreadsheet with your identified risks, risk mitigation tasks, and task owners. With most compliance automation platforms, you’re left to create this spreadsheet manually. This, of course, can be a very time-consuming project.

The Vanta difference: A dedicated risk register

Unlike most SOC 2 compliance automation platforms, Vanta provides a full risk register to simplify your annual risk assessments. This register gives you one organized place to track your identified risks, mitigation tasks, and assigned task owners. You’ll have thorough documentation for your auditor without needing to set up your own spreadsheet or other document, and all these details are in the same place as your other audit documentation.

Benefits of a risk register for SOC 2 compliance

Everything you can do to simplify your SOC 2 will benefit your business. A risk register, however, offers advantages that can save money, time, and resources for your business.

1. More efficient risk tracking

Labor is among the top expenses for most businesses, and the labor of your engineering team is particularly expensive. Instead of spending your own time or your engineers’ time to manually record and track your risk assessment details, you’ll be able to use Vanta’s risk register to keep everything in one place that is already organized and set up. This saves you time every year during your annual risk assessment.

2. More reliable risk tracking

Manual risk tracking may be an inefficient use of your time, but it has other disadvantages too. If you’re the one creating the risk tracking spreadsheet, you also have to keep track of it. It’s easy for files to get lost, and you’ll need to secure the file as well as manually give access to each team member who needs to access it. In between all of this, it’s easy for files or data to get lost.

With Vanta’s risk register, on the other hand, all your risk assessment data is stored within the same system that holds your other SOC 2 documentation. Your data is already secure and easy for the necessary staff and only the necessary staff to access.

3. More efficient SOC 2 audits

When it comes time for your SOC 2 auditor to perform your audit and prepare your SOC 2 report, the goal is to get through the process as easily and efficiently as possible. This saves valuable time for your team and it may save you money on your audit too, as audits can cost more if they become more complicated and time-consuming.

Vanta’s compliance platform and risk register allow you to have all the documentation in one place for your auditor to access. Because Vanta’s SOC 2 experts have structured your risk assessment database for you, you’ll also know that it has all the fields that your auditor will need to see. As a whole, this is likely to speed up your auditing process.

Choosing a SOC 2 compliance platform with risk assessment in mind

Annual risk assessments are important for your SOC 2 report, but they’re one of many components you’ll need to consider. That’s why Vanta offers the most thorough and in-depth SOC 2 automation platform to guide you through every step of the process and make it as efficient and organized as possible. To find out more, learn about Vanta SOC 2 compliance software today.

Read the series on key differentiators in security automation platforms

Part one: “Documents tab” and recurring evidence tasks

Part two: Automated employee offboarding and access management workflows

Part three: Security policy templates

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Access Review Stage Content / Functionality
Across all stages
  • Easily create and save a new access review at a point in time
  • View detailed audit evidence of historical access reviews
Setup access review procedures
  • Define a global access review procedure that stakeholders can follow, ensuring consistency and mitigation of human error in reviews
  • Set your access review frequency (monthly, quarterly, etc.) and working period/deadlines
Consolidate account access data from systems
  • Integrate systems using dozens of pre-built integrations, or “connectors”. System account and HRIS data is pulled into Vanta.
  • Upcoming integrations include Zoom and Intercom (account access), and Personio (HRIS)
  • Upload access files from non-integrated systems
  • View and select systems in-scope for the review
Review, approve, and deny user access
  • Select the appropriate systems reviewer and due date
  • Get automatic notifications and reminders to systems reviewer of deadlines
  • Automatic flagging of “risky” employee accounts that have been terminated or switched departments
  • Intuitive interface to see all accounts with access, account accept/deny buttons, and notes section
  • Track progress of individual systems access reviews and see accounts that need to be removed or have access modified
  • Bulk sort, filter, and alter accounts based on account roles and employee title
Assign remediation tasks to system owners
  • Built-in remediation workflow for reviewers to request access changes and for admin to view and manage requests
  • Optional task tracker integration to create tickets for any access changes and provide visibility to the status of tickets and remediation
Verify changes to access
  • Focused view of accounts flagged for access changes for easy tracking and management
  • Automated evidence of remediation completion displayed for integrated systems
  • Manual evidence of remediation can be uploaded for non-integrated systems
Report and re-evaluate results
  • Auditor can log into Vanta to see history of all completed access reviews
  • Internals can see status of reviews in progress and also historical review detail

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PCI Compliance Selection Guide

Determine Your PCI Compliance Level

If your organization processes, stores, or transmits cardholder data, you must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), a global mandate created by major credit card companies. Compliance is mandatory for any business that accepts credit card payments.

When establishing strategies for implementing and maintaining PCI compliance, your organization needs to understand what constitutes a Merchant or Service Provider, and whether a Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) or Report on Compliance (ROC) is most applicable to your business.

Answer a few short questions and we’ll help identify your compliance level.


Does your business offer services to customers who are interested in your level of PCI compliance?


Identify your PCI SAQ or ROC level

The PCI Security Standards Council has established the below criteria for Merchant and Service Provider validation. Use these descriptions to help determine the SAQ or ROC that best applies to your organization.

Good news! Vanta supports all of the following compliance levels:


A SAQ A is required for Merchants that do not require the physical presence of a credit card (like an eCommerce, mail, or telephone purchase). This means that the Merchant’s business has fully outsourced all cardholder data processing to PCI DSS compliant third party Service Providers, with no electronic storage, processing, or transmission of any cardholder data on the Merchant’s system or premises.

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A SAQ A-EP is similar to a SAQ A, but is a requirement for Merchants that don't receive cardholder data, but control how cardholder data is redirected to a PCI DSS validated third-party payment processor.

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for service providers

A SAQ D includes over 200 requirements and covers the entirety of PCI DSS compliance. If you are a Service Provider, a SAQ D is the only SAQ you’re eligible to complete.

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Level 1 for service providers

A Report on Compliance (ROC) is an annual assessment that determines your organization’s ability to protect cardholder data. If you’re a Merchant that processes over six million transactions annually or a Service Provider that processes more than 300,000 transactions annually, your organization is responsible for both a ROC and an Attestation of Compliance (AOC).

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Learn more about how Vanta can help. You can also find information on PCI compliance levels at the PCI Security Standards Council website or by contacting your payment processing partner.

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