Do you have to perform SOC 2 compliance? If yes, you’ve come to the right place. Read through our detailed SOC 2 audit checklist and effortlessly meet your SOC 2 requirements.
But first things first.
What is SOC 2 compliance?
The Service Organization Controls (SOC) is a compliance requirement for all service industry or software field organizations. The SOC2 compliance refers to having your company checked and attested for SOC Type 2. All SOC compliance checks are done through a certified public accountant (CPA).
SOC 2 refers to the attestation of a company’s compliance with the Trust Service Principles (TSPs). Here, the CPA will check to make sure that all of the non-financial processes and operations performed in your company are in alignment with the TSPs.
What are the 5 Trust Service Principles (TSPs)?
Trust Service Principles are the principles by which every service and software organization promises to discharge its responsibilities to clients. Your SOC 2 compliance checklist template will actually vet these TSPs.
The five TSPs include –
Having in place measures that protect backend and frontend systems – both physical and logical – from any unauthorized access and violation.
Protecting sensitive data shared by the client and using their information in a regulatory-compliant way. Safeguarding all agreements, contracts, and forms that have been created with customers while controlling who accesses these sensitive materials.
Making available the agreed-upon services, infrastructure, and technology to customers when they need them and for the decided duration. Ensuring that all resources are of good quality and meet performance and safety requirements. This also involves thorough and transparent documentation of what has been promised. Plus, the client’s signature is also needed to attest that they understand what this agreement entails.
- Processing Integrity
Ensuring that the authenticity of any financial transactions or service provision has not been compromised. Verifying the accuracy of service delivery and being accountable to the terms of the contract/agreement. Choosing authorized third-party service providers that are qualified to serve your customers.
Respecting a client’s consent about how they’d like their personal data to be handled. Making private data that clients don’t want to be shared and only sharing partial information with third-party providers. Adhering to privacy regulations such as GDPR and making system-wide changes to ensure data privacy.
Following globally mandated rules about careful disposal of personal information after client ends their patronage. Having procedures in place to notify clients of data breaches and having steps to secure their personal data.
SOC 2 compliance checklist
Now that you know about the TSPs, let us focus on the SOC 2 compliance checklist. This list gives a set of steps you must undertake to get a SOC 2 report from your CPA. This checklist includes –
- Check with your clients what expectations they have from your company
Asking your clients about what they’d like to see in your company’s services and processes can really help. Be sure to check your SLAs and previous client feedback.
Their expectations and concerns can help you do a self-assessment of your company’s processes, infrastructure, and operations to judge their quality and effectiveness. When you call a CPA for SOC attestation, you can share your own SOC 2 controls list with the CPA to make them priority areas.
- Determine where you’d like to be after the SOC 2 compliance
Make a plan about what your vision is for your company. What is the ideal you aspire towards in terms of the quality and integrity of your processes, operations, and infrastructure? This will give you a goal to work towards and act as the focal point of the SOC 2 testing.
- Research CPAs to find an experienced and qualified professional
The CPA you choose must have some experience providing SOC audits. This individual should also be familiar with your type of company and industry. They must be familiar with the processes and potential solutions and use a regulatory compliant SOC 2 implementation guide as their compliance checklist. They must be an independent and impartial reviewer who can provide genuine feedback.
- Involve everyone in the company to be a part of the audit
The SOC 2 report takes a few months (usually between 2 & 4) to reach you. This is because SOC 2 compliance tests how well your processes and operations are performing over a period of time. You will need the buy-in of all stakeholders to complete this audit successfully.
Inform all employees about the value the SOC 2 will provide. Tie the audit to important metrics like sales targets, social media engagement, client feedback, etc. Your employees will be more likely to work with you then. Plus, outline your expectations from them and how they can help the CPA.
- Welcome all decision-makers to share ideas on SOC 2 compliance improvements
When the results finally arrive, it is necessary to address any areas of concern. You will receive one of three opinions from your CPA –
- Unmodified Opinion – Everything is perfect with your company, and you are fully SOC 2 compliant.
- Qualified Opinion – Most areas of your processes are fine. However, specific areas of your company require attention and improvements.
- Adverse Opinion – Your company is mostly/fully not in alignment with SOC 2 requirements. Immediate and extensive reworking of your services is necessary.
Involve all key decision-makers, managers, team leaders, project managers, etc., in this task. This can help you understand what this means for your company. You can also get ideas from everyone about how you will bridge any gaps that may be present in the company.