Most organizations outsource some part of their operations. Several reasons exist, including reduced costs, amplified efficiency, and automation for seeking services from third-party vendors. While cyber-security is continuously becoming more critical for businesses, getting SOC 2 compliant adds immense credibility to service organizations' commitment to security and privacy. Every organization wants its information and essential customer data to be safe and secure. Hence, modern organizations must surpass SOC 2 audits to prove their infosec standards.
However, getting SOC 2 compliance can be complex, especially if preparing for a SOC audit for the first time. Apart from being a lengthy and interactive process, it also requires a lot of collective effort from your technical experts. It can divert their focus from business to compliance for an extended period. We analyzed a few service organizations that recently prepared for SOC 2 compliance and found a pattern. The analysis suggested a few repeated errors that organizations usually perform. In this blog, we will discuss in detail the compiled list of the six most common mistakes and why you should avoid them while preparing for SOC 2 compliance.
Before we discuss the most common mistakes by organizations in SOC 2 compliance, let's skim through SOC 2 compliance requirements.
What are SOC 2 Compliance Requirements?
A SOC 2 audit can only be conducted by a third-party Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
A compliance report consists of the auditor's opinion that they finalize after evaluating your systems and controls.
The auditor checks your systems with respect to five Trust Service Criteria - Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Privacy, and Confidentiality.
The SOC 2 Type 1 report audits your system at a given time, whereas the SOC 2 Type 2 report evaluates your controls and systems over a specific timeframe.
Top 6 Mistakes To Avoid in SOC 2 Compliance
#1 Lack of Active Participation by Stakeholders
Overcoming SOC 2 audit preparation requires the active involvement of stakeholders and leaders of the organization. However, in most cases, the attitude of the individuals is passive. They don't necessarily see compliance as an important task.
Organizations must cultivate and communicate the critical advantage of being SOC 2 compliant in business growth and enhancing product credibility. Furthermore, not giving compliance preparation the immediate attention it needs will delay the process with a cut-down in efficiency. You don't want that as a service organization, so ensure you are dealing with potential errors that could cost you a bomb in the long run.
#2 Inadequate Education About SOC 2 Compliance
No one can do all the tasks involved in preparing for SOC 2 compliance alone, and that's a fact. To work effectively towards getting SOC 2 compliant, you need a dedicated and, more importantly, educated team who knows your system controls. They should be able to interact efficiently and work closely towards achieving compliance.
The leadership should look after a few of the following to ease the SOC 2 process:
Make all the necessary resources - Policies and procedures related to SOC 2 easily accessible for all the employees.
Conduct regular awareness and training programs.
Establish norms of conduct for employees to follow while working on SOC 2 compliance.
Not following the policies and predefined procedures for compliance preparations may lead to inadequate security, qualified audit, or even a data breach.
Hence, educating and training the employees regarding the compliance motives and benefits should always be the priority.
#3 Missing Out On Readiness Assessment
Before hiring an auditor, it is essential to assess your controls and systems that will be audited internally. Check if any necessary controls are missing or exist without sufficient documentation.
Not evaluating your systems and processes internally before going to audit will most probably lead to unexpected failures and significant gaps during the actual evaluation. Hence, to get SOC 2 compliant, ensure you work on the readiness assessment.
#4 Incomplete Scoping of the SOC 2 Report
One of the priorities while preparing for SOC 2 compliance is clearly defining the scope. It will be pretty simple if you are running a service organization that doesn't provide multiple services. On the other hand, for enterprises providing multiple services, identifying risks and defining scope become complex.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while defining the scope of the SOC 2 audit:
Identify the people, controls, processes, and technology involved in your services.
List down all the possible risks that may threaten the objectives of your services.
Frame controls to wipe off the identified risks.
Not identifying all the risks at the right time could cost your organization important resources and adversely affect your brand value.
#5 Control Failures
Suppose you have done efficient scoping and completed the readiness assessment - your organization's controls and systems can still fail. Why? SOC 2 audit takes months, and various control areas are prone to fail at the time to audit:
Unassessed Access Controls - Providing your workforce with access to the right resources and applications is essential. But, not removing those access controls while offboarding can be a problem.
Make sure you have predefined systems and regulations for those changing positions. Additionally, periodic monitoring should be performed to identify any gaps or problems.
Inappropriate Asset Management - To maintain a protected and secure system, efficient asset inventory management is the key. Every organization must be aware of the things happening in their network to monitor and identify risks. One lousy system is enough to harm your entire enterprise system, even if it's the most secure one. So, maintain an inventory of all the inventory assets regularly.
#6 Not Monitoring Internal Controls
All the internal controls at your organization, either manual or automated, are prone to breakdown in various cases. Failure will always be on the cards if you are not monitoring and maintaining the controls appropriately until the audit. The status of controls should be owned and managed by dedicated managers, and a team should be assigned to collect relevant monitoring data.
If internal controls are ideally maintained, even during breakdowns - the effects will be minimized for your security and business.
SOC 2 Compliance Is Easy When Automated With Scrut
Scrut Automation helps you get SOC 2 ready within weeks through powerful technology combined with automation. You get single window access to all your infosec frameworks and compliance management, so you never need to worry about preparing and getting SOC 2 compliant. With a built-in marketplace, finding auditors and vendors is now a matter of seconds with Scrut.
Want to get SOC 2 compliance ready without going through months of hassle and allow your team to focus on business growth rather than compliance? Want to prepare and get audited while avoiding all the mistakes we discussed above? Schedule your demo today to see how it works.