What is SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 Audit Reports? Why do you need one?

SOC

INTRODUCTION

SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 Audit Reports are necessary for companies that store, process, or transmit sensitive data. The reports assess the design of internal controls and the operating effectiveness of those controls at a specific point in time. They provide assurance to users about the security, confidentiality, and privacy of the company’s systems. If you’re looking for a third-party assessment of your data security system, you’ll need a SOC 1, SOC 2, or SOC 3 Audit Report.

 

What is a SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 Audit Report?

A SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 Audit Report is an examination of a company’s internal control over financial reporting. The audit is conducted by an independent third party and aims to provide assurance to stakeholders that the company’s financial statements are fairly presented by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

SOC-1: – A SOC 1 report is a review of how well a service organization’s internal controls work when it comes to a user entity’s financial statement. It’s designed for the people who use these services and the accountants who audit their books. In short, it’s an evaluation of a service organization’s internal controls.

SOC-2: – A SOC 2 audit report provides detailed information and assurance about a service organization’s security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and/or privacy controls. The report is based on the service organization’s compliance with the AICPA’s TSC (Trust Services Criteria).

SOC-3: – The Soc 3 report outlines how a service organization’s internal controls can ensure information security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, or privacy. These five areas are the focus of the AICPA Trust Services Principles and Criteria.

 

What are the differences between the three types of reports?

The Major differences between Soc 1 vs. SOC 2. vs. SOC 3

SOC 1 and SOC 2 are the two most common types of SOC reports. They differ in that SOC 1 looks at financial reports, while SOC 2 looks at compliance and operations. The focus on compliance is especially important for technology companies, as they need to make sure their systems are secure and protect their customers’ data.

V SOC 3 reports are not as common as SOC 2 reports. SOC 3 is a variation of SOC 2 with the same information, but it is presented in a way that is accessible to a general audience rather than an informed one. If a SOC 2 report is for auditors and stakeholders inside the company you’re selling to, SOC 3 is for that company’s customers.

SOC 3 reports are less common than SOC 2 reports. SOC 3 is a variation on SOC 2, and it contains the same information as SOC 2, but it’s presented for a general audience rather than an informed one. If a SOC 2 report is for auditors and stakeholders inside the company you’re selling to, SOC 3 is for that company’s customers.

 

Why do you need a SOC 1, SOC 2, or SOC 3 Audit Report?

A SOC report is an auditing report which is performed by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It is a collection of services offered by a CPA concerning the systematic controls in a service organization. SOC reports tell us if financial audits are performed or not; if audits are done as per the controls defined by the serviced company or not; and the effectiveness of the audits performed.

Just as an organization must take steps to protect its data and ensure that it is meeting all legal requirements, so too must it demand that its vendors submit to a SOC report. This report is a compilation of safeguards within the vendor’s control base and also a way to check if those safeguards actually work. Without it, you are taking a risk with your business.

Some of the vendors provide a SOC 1 report, while some give SOC 2. Sometimes it might also happen that some of the vendors provide a combination of both. Not just this, but SOC 3 reports to exist. The differences are vast and are not always clear to those who are not familiar with the domain of Systems and Organizational Control.

If you are an health care professional read about HIPAA.

 

How can you get a SOC 1, SOC 2, or SOC 3 Audit Report?

A SOC 1, SOC 2, or SOC 3 report is an important document that shows the level of trust and security your company has with its customers. It can also be used to show compliance with certain regulations.

SOC in 5 Simple Steps

Determining the Scope of a Project: – The first step in getting a SOC report for your company is to define the scope. The stakeholders should ask themselves some questions, including:

-What service(s) do you need a SOC report for?

-What systems are involved in providing those service(s)?

-Are the services provided from a single location or several?

-Is the report intended for all users or only one specific customer?

When it comes to service organizations, it can be difficult to define the scope because they offer a variety of services to their clients. However, it is important to narrow down the scope so different services can have their own SOC report. This isn’t always easy since some services can be combined into one common report (i.e. the various payroll processing services of a payroll company). But it is important to make sure each service has its own specialized report.

Choosing a Report: – The next step is to determine which type of report(s) will best suit your company’s needs. This decision should be based on what your customers need, as well as what their auditors require. The most common report is the SOC 1 report (SSAE 16 or the historic SAS 70), but SOC 2 and SOC 3 reports continue to gain traction. It is important to ensure that the type(s) of the report(s) a service organization pursues will satisfy its customer needs.

The service organization should select the SOC report that meets their needs based on contractual agreements and client requests. The SOC 1 report detailed the controls placed into operation for services relevant to financial reporting. The SOC 2 report detailed the controls placed into operation for services concerning security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and/or privacy. The SOC 3 report was a high-level report that included a seal and was made publicly available to users with a need for confidence in the service organization’s controls.

Preparing for the Assessment: – Organizations can take steps to prepare for a SOC assessment by undergoing a readiness assessment. This assessment is meant for management and will help identify strengths and weaknesses in terms of the control environment. It is typically recommended for clients that have never undergone an assessment before. No matter how many SOC reports a service organization has released, management should always review and update their policies and procedures to ensure they reflect current practices. This will help to ensure employees are aware of the upcoming assessment.

It’s SOC time: – The auditor who is conducting your SOC 1, 2, and 3 will be working closely with you to make sure the assessment goes smoothly. After agreeing upon when fieldwork will take place, the process for assembling the SOC report can be outlined in a few basic steps:

The auditor will provide you with a list of requested evidence (usually a month in advance of fieldwork).

The audit team will arrive onsite at your service organization to perform testing (that includes interviews, walkthroughs, and documentation review).

Service auditors document the results of their work and work with service organizations to clarify any exceptions. They then provide a SOC report to the service organization.

Next Steps: – Most service organizations undergo a SOC assessment on an annual basis. This allows them to continuously improve the quality of their SOC report and control activities within it. They should consider feedback from their service auditors and customers (who use the report) to do this. Service audit firms often provide their clients with a list of observations made during SOC fieldwork.

Read our latest blog for HITRUST 

 

Conclusion: –

SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 Audit Reports are necessary for companies that store, process, or transmit sensitive data. The reports assess the design of internal controls and the operating effectiveness of those controls at a specific point in time. They provide assurance to users about the security, confidentiality, and privacy of the company’s systems. If you’re looking for a third-party assessment of your data security system, you’ll need a SOC Auditor.