SOC 2 is the most popular standard for IT compliance because it covers the broadest range of IT disciplines, including application development, security, and hardware maintenance. SOC 2 Readiness Assessments also includes a section on how an organization handles personal data, an area of great concern due to recent breaches.
1. SOC 2 Readiness Assessment
A SOC 2 Readiness Assessment is an audit process that evaluates a company’s ability to maintain the company’s information assets, including data processing systems, communications processes, and physical facilities, in a secure and compliant manner. A SOC Audit is an important part of an information security system audit. It helps to certify that a company maintains adequate security measures to protect its customer’s data and other sensitive information from unauthorized access and disclosure. Developing an information security system involves training and certification personnel, facilities, and policies.
The SOC Readiness Assessment also checks compliance with relevant federal statutes, regulations, and standards to ensure that a company adequately protects the sensitive data it holds on customers and employees. It comprises the three sub-processes: an audit, a gap analysis, and a corrective action plan. These processes aim to certify a company with a good information security system. Only then will the company be deemed SOC 2 certified, giving the company a competitive edge.
The process is conducted by an independent third-party auditor accredited by an accreditation body. The accreditation body evaluates the independent third-party auditor based on its assessment of the internal control procedures, competence, and expertise of the auditors and their network of peer reviewers.
2. The cost of SOC 2 Readiness Assessment
The cost of a SOC 2 Readiness Assessment is not fixed. The cost depends on the audited company’s size, the information system’s type and complexity, location, and other aspects of the audit. They also vary depending on the rate of the auditor, the accreditation of the auditor, and audit methodology. The audit cost normally depends on whether the company is small, medium, or large. Small companies tend to have a less expensive audit, whereas larger companies can incur higher costs. The cost also depends on the type of business and industry in which a company operates. Banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions often pay more to their external auditors. In addition, external auditors can charge extra fees based on an audit assignment if they need to employ an extra workforce or spend more time conducting an audit.
3. When should a Readiness Assessment be performed
A readiness assessment should be performed prior to the start of a new audit or when there has been a change to the size or scope of the environment being audited. An organization should always be aware of its current risks and vulnerabilities and its customers’ information system. The best way to do that is to perform a continuous assessment. In addition to the internal assessment, it is also important to identify and develop a list of critical vulnerabilities that could be at risk.
A Risk assessment is often conducted by identifying and evaluating any critical risks using various testing methodologies such as Penetration Testing, Security Analysis, and Computer network attack. It can also be conducted by performing thematic evaluations to identify potential weaknesses that could lead the company toward an information security breach. It is also recommended to conduct a threat assessment which involves examining the vulnerabilities of the company’s network and information system and then determining what kind of risk could be posed by potential attackers to avoid the risk of business loss. It is important to note that high-level security breaches often result in a huge financial loss. Therefore, it is also important to establish a control objective, which can help an organization meet its objectives.
Ensuring continuity of business processes is another reason behind performing readiness assessments regularly. It is recommended to ensure that a Company can negotiate the necessary technical certification and auditing process to maintain continuity of various business processes.
4. What is Included in a SOC 2 Readiness Assessment
The SOC 2 Readiness Assessment includes a review of the information security policies, procedures, and controls and a review of the training and test requirements for personnel working in critical business units. The assessment will also include an assessment of physical security controls, such as locks and surveillance cameras. The assessor will also evaluate the availability and frequency of IT systems (e.g., troubleshooting, maintenance schedules, time of completion, etc.) and the integrity and reliability of the information system (e.g., backup and recovery strategy).
5. Why a Company Maintains its SOC 2 Readiness Assessment
The SOC 2 Readiness Assessment helps the company determine where it is weak in security and compliance. It helps to identify, measure, and mitigate all information system risks. It also helps identify any weak links in the company’s security measures, potentially leading to business loss. These steps are essential for an organization to achieve its business goals and maintain its integrity and reputation.
Information security is one of the most important components of a company’s intellectual property. An organization must focus on internal and external controls to protect its information system from any security breach. A SOC 2 Readiness Assessment can help a company effectively identify potential risks and vulnerabilities within their information system and mitigate them, resulting in improved business performance.