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New in Vanta: Tools to streamline your audit
New in Vanta: Tools to streamline your audit
Whether it's from investors, prospects, or regulatory entities, someone, at some point, will ask about your company’s security posture. The best response is a SOC 2 report or an ISO 27001 certification. But to achieve those, you’ll have to prepare for an audit.
Before Vanta, audits were a stressful endeavor. Audits were prolonged, highly manual events requiring lots of time from various members of your organization. From documenting evidence to coordinating with stakeholders inside your organization, inefficiencies and frustration were the norm.
Fortunately, Vanta is specifically designed to streamline all things compliance, and that includes the audit. Vanta is the fastest product to get you to your audit, and—because of our deep investments in tools and services around the audit itself—Vanta’s the preferred platform of auditors to help get you through it.
In this post we take a look at some of these audit-focused investments. These newly released tools and services were designed to make you and your auditor’s life a bit easier when it comes time for audit.
Introducing: Smart System Description
One of the first documents your auditor will ask you for is a system description. The system description is a fundamental section of your SOC 2 report and outlines the scope of the system being audited, including all the internal controls in place.
It is your responsibility to write this section, oftentimes with limited or no support from your auditor. But gathering all the details for a system description can be time consuming and difficult—customers report spending up to 15 hours finding all the information and putting together the report itself, which can reach dozens of pages in length. A poorly written or incomplete system description can result in delays to your audit, or even a qualified SOC 2 report.
Smart System Description walks you through 13 important sections to complete, including details on your service description, people, and data operations. Best of all, Vanta pre-populates parts of these sections based on your existing work in the platform, saving you from over 10 hours of tracking down information.
An updated system description is needed each year for your SOC 2 audit, and Vanta will automatically remind your team or any assigned owner of its upcoming renewal. Keeping track of and modifying last year’s system description is easy because Vanta stores previous versions in one place for your team to access.
• View Smart System Description within the Documents page to get started.
Vanta Seamless Audit
Finding a trusted compliance platform, like Vanta, to guide you through and automate the evidence collection process is just one part of the equation of an audit. It can be equally, if not more, daunting to research and interview a handful of auditors to determine which is the right one for you. To make solving for a SOC 2 report or ISO 27001 certification a single motion, we’ve rolled the auditor selection into Vanta with Vanta Seamless Audit.
Vanta Seamless Audit simplifies the audit process by providing access to Vanta platform along with an independent, Vanta-vetted SOC 2 auditor in one simple transaction, and for one attractive price. Get matched directly with an independent, five-star rated auditor who brings years of expertise and knowledge of Vanta to your audit, cutting out countless hours of interviews.
And because Seamless Audit partners have completed hundreds of audits in Vanta before, they know the system well and can quickly get a clear view of your organization’s compliance performance. This deep understanding of how to use Vanta to review, request, and accept evidence greatly reduces your effort and audit prep time, with some customers reporting an 80% reduction in total audit completion time.
Audit Preferred Evidence
An exciting new benefit that comes with Vanta Seamless Audit is Audit Preferred Evidence. Preparing evidence for your audit can be a daunting task, especially on first view of your required documents in Vanta. To alleviate some of this initial anxiety and eliminate unnecessary work done by your team, we’ve launched Audit Preferred Evidence.
With Audit Preferred Evidence, your Seamless Audit partner has predefined exactly which evidence they’re looking for in Vanta during an audit. In turn, your team has clear instruction on your auditor’s evidence expectations upon first login and can get started immediately knowing that you’re on the right track.
Vanta automatically adjusts the Documents pages to match the requirements as determined by your auditor. Additional pieces of evidence or the Vanta defaults can be added at any time for further customization. Best of all, you and your team know precisely what your Seamless Audit partner is expecting, greatly reducing the typical stress, uncertainty, and time needed to get to audit and through it.
• Contact Sales or your Success Manager to learn more about Vanta Seamless Audit.
Customize your controls with Control Management
Controls are the commitments your organization maintains to stay secure and demonstrate trustworthiness to others. When preparing for an audit, much of your work centers on gathering evidence to show that your organization is delivering on its control commitments. Vanta greatly reduces the effort surrounding audit preparation by automating evidence collection and providing a list of industry-adopted controls for your company to follow.
There are times, however, when your organization may wish to maintain controls not reflected in Vanta’s default list. This is especially true for companies that have completed a SOC 2 or ISO 27001 audit in the past and wish to carry-over existing controls into Vanta. There are also times where Vanta’s default controls may not be applicable to your business. To address these scenarios and provide increased customization, we’ve released Control Management.
Control Management gives your team the flexibility to create custom controls and opt-out of Vanta defaults. Custom controls work seamlessly with the rest of Vanta and are displayed, monitored, and reported alongside Vanta’s default set. Custom controls can be further defined with evidence requirements. Choose one of Vanta’s default tests or create your own evidence requirement. The possibilities for the customization of controls are vast with Control Management.
Control and Test ownership
When it comes time to get audit ready, lack of accountability can cost your team weeks in delays due to coordination costs and backlogged work. Control and test ownership in Vanta solves that with clear oversight and accountability within your compliance program.
Vanta makes it easy for teams to stay accountable with control and test ownership. Organizations can assign control owners, who are ultimately responsible for the health and implementation of a control. Control owners or admins can then assign tests to test owners who are responsible for getting the underlying issue resolved. Both control and test owners are kept updated on the health of their assigned items with notifications along the way.
Establishing ownership is crucial for any high-performing compliance program and especially so when your team approaches an audit. Keep your team informed and accountable throughout the audit experience with control and test ownership.
• View and manage your controls from the Compliance page.
• Control ownership will be available to all users at the end of August.
Managing policies in Vanta with Confluence
Policies codify your security practices into agreements for internal and external audiences. These documents can be challenging to understand or write. That’s why Vanta provides templates and an in-app policy editor to help your team create the collection of policies needed prior to an audit.
To get you through policy creation faster and one step closer to audit, we’re expanding the ways you can use Vanta to manage policies. We’ve heard that sometimes you’d prefer to use an external document management tool, such as Confluence, for policy creation and revision control. To match your team’s preferred workflow, you can now sync policies into Vanta directly from Confluence.
Now your team can work on policy iterations within Confluence and sync the final version into Vanta. For any policies not stored in Confluence, you can always use Vanta’s document upload feature or native policy editor to meet your policy requirements.
• Visit the Integrations page to connect your Confluence account to Vanta.
Determine whether the GDPR applies to you and if so, if you are a processor or controller (or both)
Do you sell goods or service in the EU or UK?
Do you sell goods or services to EU businesses, consumers, or both?
Do you have employees in the EU or UK?
Do persons from the EU or UK visit your website?
Do you monitor the behavior of persons within the EU?
Create a Data Map by taking the following actions
Identify and document every system (i.e. database, application, or vendor) which stores or processes EU or UK based personally identifiable information (PII)
Document the retention periods for PII in each system
Determine whether you collect, store, or process “special categories” of data
Determine whether your Data Map meets the requirements for Records of Processing Activities (Art. 30)
Determine whether your Data Map includes the following information about processing activities carried out by vendors on your behalf
Determine your grounds for processing data
For each category of data and system/application have you determined the lawful basis for processing based on one of the following conditions?
Take inventory of current customer and vendor contracts to confirm new GDPR-required flow-down provisions are included
Review all customer contracts to determine that they have appropriate contract language (i.e. Data Protection Addendums with Standard Contractual Clauses)
Review all in-scope vendor contracts to determine that they have appropriate contract language (i.e. Data Protection Addendums with Standard Contractual Clauses)
Have you performed a risk assessment on vendors who are processing your PII?
Determine if you need to do a Data Protection Impact Assessment
Is your data processing taking into account the nature, scope, context, and purposes of the processing, likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons?
Review product and service design (including your website or app) to ensure privacy notice links, marketing consents, and other requirements are integrated
Does the notice to the data subject include the following items?
Does the notice also include the following items?
Do you have a mechanism for persons to change or withdraw consent?
Update internal privacy policies to comply with notification obligations
Update internal privacy notices for EU employees
Determine if you need to appoint a Data Protection Officer, and appoint one if needed
Have you determined whether or not you must designate a Data Protection Officer (DPO) based on one of the following conditions (Art. 37)?
If you export data from the EU, consider if you need a compliance mechanism to cover the data transfer, such as model clauses
If you transfer, store, or process data outside the EU or UK, have you identified your legal basis for the data transfer (note: most likely covered by the Standard Contractual Clauses)
Have you performed and documented a Transfer Impact Assessment (TIA)?
Confirm you are complying with other data subject rights (i.e. aside from notification)
Do you have a defined process for timely response to Data Subject Access Requests (DSAR) (i.e. requests for information, modification or deletion of PII)?
Are you able to provide the subject information in a concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language?
Do you have a process for correcting or deleting data when requested?
Do you have an internal policy regarding a Compelled Disclosure from Law Enforcement?
Determine if you need to appoint an EU-based representative, and appoint one if needed
Have you appointed an EU Representative or determined that an EU Representative is not needed based on one of the following conditions?
If operating in more than one EU state, identify a lead Data Protection Authority (DPA)
Do you operate in more than one EU state?
If so, have you designated the Supervisory Authority of the main establishment to act as your Lead Supervisory Authority?
Implement Employee Trainings to Demonstrate Compliance with GDPR Principles and Data Subject Rights
Have you provided appropriate Security Awareness and Privacy training to your staff?
Update internal procedures and policies to ensure you can comply with data breach response requirements
Have you created and implemented an Incident Response Plan which included procedures for reporting a breach to EU and UK Data Subjects as well as appropriate Data Authorities?
Do breach reporting policies comply with all prescribed timelines and include all recipients i.e. authorities, controllers, and data subjects?
Implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk
Have you implemented encryption of PII at rest and in transit?
Have you implemented pseudonymization?
Have you implemented appropriate physical security controls?
Have you implemented information security policies and procedures?
Can you access EU or UK PII data in the clear?
Do your technical and organizational measure ensure that, by default, only personal data which are necessary for each specific purpose of the processing are processed?
Develop a roadmap for successful implementation of an ISMS and ISO 27001 certification
Implement Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA) process to recognize challenges and identify gaps for remediation
Consider ISO 27001 certification costs relative to org size and number of employees
Clearly define scope of work to plan certification time to completion
Select an ISO 27001 auditor
Set the scope of your organization’s ISMS
Decide which business areas are covered by the ISMS and which are out of scope
Consider additional security controls for business processes that are required to pass ISMS-protected information across the trust boundary
Inform stakeholders regarding scope of the ISMS
Establish an ISMS governing body
Build a governance team with management oversight
Incorporate key members of top management, e.g. senior leadership and executive management with responsibility for strategy and resource allocation
Conduct an inventory of information assets
Consider all assets where information is stored, processed, and accessible
- Record information assets: data and people
- Record physical assets: laptops, servers, and physical building locations
- Record intangible assets: intellectual property, brand, and reputation
Assign to each asset a classification and owner responsible for ensuring the asset is appropriately inventoried, classified, protected, and handled
Execute a risk assessment
Establish and document a risk-management framework to ensure consistency
Identify scenarios in which information, systems, or services could be compromised
Determine likelihood or frequency with which these scenarios could occur
Evaluate potential impact of each scenario on confidentiality, integrity, or availability of information, systems, and services
Rank risk scenarios based on overall risk to the organization’s objectives
Develop a risk register
Record and manage your organization’s risks
Summarize each identified risk
Indicate the impact and likelihood of each risk
Document a risk treatment plan
Design a response for each risk (Risk Treatment)
Assign an accountable owner to each identified risk
Assign risk mitigation activity owners
Establish target dates for completion of risk treatment activities
Complete the Statement of Applicability worksheet
Review 114 controls of Annex A of ISO 27001 standard
Select controls to address identified risks
Complete the Statement of Applicability listing all Annex A controls, justifying inclusion or exclusion of each control in the ISMS implementation
Continuously assess and manage risk
Build a framework for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving the ISMS
Include information or references to supporting documentation regarding:
- Information Security Objectives
- Leadership and Commitment
- Roles, Responsibilities, and Authorities
- Approach to Assessing and Treating Risk
- Control of Documented Information
- Internal Audit
- Management Review
- Corrective Action and Continual Improvement
- Policy Violations
Assemble required documents and records
Review ISO 27001 Required Documents and Records list
Customize policy templates with organization-specific policies, process, and language
Establish employee training and awareness programs
Conduct regular trainings to ensure awareness of new policies and procedures
Define expectations for personnel regarding their role in ISMS maintenance
Train personnel on common threats facing your organization and how to respond
Establish disciplinary or sanctions policies or processes for personnel found out of compliance with information security requirements
Perform an internal audit
Allocate internal resources with necessary competencies who are independent of ISMS development and maintenance, or engage an independent third party
Verify conformance with requirements from Annex A deemed applicable in your ISMS's Statement of Applicability
Share internal audit results, including nonconformities, with the ISMS governing body and senior management
Address identified issues before proceeding with the external audit
Undergo external audit of ISMS to obtain ISO 27001 certification
Engage an independent ISO 27001 auditor
Conduct Stage 1 Audit consisting of an extensive documentation review; obtain feedback regarding readiness to move to Stage 2 Audit
Conduct Stage 2 Audit consisting of tests performed on the ISMS to ensure proper design, implementation, and ongoing functionality; evaluate fairness, suitability, and effective implementation and operation of controls
Address any nonconformities
Ensure that all requirements of the ISO 27001 standard are being addressed
Ensure org is following processes that it has specified and documented
Ensure org is upholding contractual requirements with third parties
Address specific nonconformities identified by the ISO 27001 auditor
Receive auditor’s formal validation following resolution of nonconformities
Conduct regular management reviews
Plan reviews at least once per year; consider a quarterly review cycle
Ensure the ISMS and its objectives continue to remain appropriate and effective
Ensure that senior management remains informed
Ensure adjustments to address risks or deficiencies can be promptly implemented
Calendar ISO 27001 audit schedule and surveillance audit schedules
Perform a full ISO 27001 audit once every three years
Prepare to perform surveillance audits in the second and third years of the Certification Cycle
Consider streamlining ISO 27001 certification with automation
Transform manual data collection and observation processes into automated and continuous system monitoring
Identify and close any gaps in ISMS implementation in a timely manner
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Determine which annual audits and assessments are required for your company
Perform a readiness assessment and evaluate your security against HIPAA requirements
Review the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights Audit Protocol
Conduct required HIPAA compliance audits and assessments
Perform and document ongoing technical and non-technical evaluations, internally or in partnership with a third-party security and compliance team like Vanta
Document your plans and put them into action
Document every step of building, implementing, and assessing your compliance program
Vanta’s automated compliance reporting can streamline planning and documentation
Appoint a security and compliance point person in your company
Designate an employee as your HIPAA Compliance Officer
Schedule annual HIPAA training for all employees
Distribute HIPAA policies and procedures and ensure staff read and attest to their review
Document employee trainings and other compliance activities
Thoroughly document employee training processes, activities, and attestations
Establish and communicate clear breach report processes
to all employees
Ensure that staff understand what constitutes a HIPAA breach, and how to report a breach
Implement systems to track security incidents, and to document and report all breaches
Institute an annual review process
Annually assess compliance activities against theHIPAA Rules and updates to HIPAA
Continuously assess and manage risk
Build a year-round risk management program and integrate continuous monitoring
Understand the ins and outs of HIPAA compliance— and the costs of noncompliance
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