Your business needs to achieve and sustain compliance with SOC 2 to maximize trustworthiness and business prospects. And you cannot achieve or sustain SOC 2 compliance without an auditor. Your success depends on picking an auditor who understands your business and its specific requirements and goals. Your chosen auditor should also have a sterling reputation and a passion for thoroughness and completeness. This article will provide specific questions you should ask and the answers you should look for when choosing your auditor.
SOC 2 Compliance: Why An Auditor?
A SOC 2 audit examines whether your company executes the proper controls, as defined by the AICPA. There are 5 Trust Services Criteria – Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy. A successful SOC 2 audit demonstrates that your company has solid policies in place to secure customer data and ensure the services your company delivers are up and running when customers need them. Success with SOC 2 compliance requires a credible, certified auditor. Accounting firms have a duty to serve the public interest and uphold the public trust in their profession. These responsibilities led to the creation of the SOC framework by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). In addition to their traditional role as financial auditors, accounting firms have teams of people who focus on technical audits related to cybersecurity and disaster recovery. These are critical elements of SOC 2 compliance. CPAs must also be certified to perform SOC 2 audits and create audit reports in partnership with client company leadership.
SOC 2 Compliance: Questions for Candidate Auditors
The ideal auditor for your company possesses a combination of SOC 2 expertise and experience directly relevant to your business. Here are some questions that can help you compare and contrast the auditors and firms you consider.
Do you have experience in our business or with businesses like ours? You want to make sure your chosen auditor is not unfamiliar with your business and its particular characteristics. Knowledge about your business’ dynamics will help ensure that your SOC 2 compliance journey is optimally aligned with the needs and requirements of both your organization and your current and prospective customers and partners.
How deep is your experience in helping businesses like ours to become and remain SOC 2 compliant? Your auditor should not only know about your business but have relatively deep experience in it. You must avoid any “bait and switch” or being assigned a less experienced auditor than you were introduced to during the accounting firm’s sales efforts.
Can you provide credible references we can talk with independently of you? Companies tend only to offer references they are confident will give positive assessments of their skills and work. To this end, some such companies will also request or insist that they be present during your discussions. To ensure the references you get are credible, give preference to candidate firms that will let you have unfettered conversations with their reference customers. You should also balance reference input with credible reviews from other sources, such as online user review sites.
What resources can you provide to help us prepare for our first SOC 2 audit? Your chosen auditor should be willing and able to deliver knowledge and value to you and your team well before your first audit. Look for on-demand webinars and presentations, opportunities for real-time discussions, informational documents, and other educational and instructional content.
What tools does your firm use and/or recommend to ease and speed our journey toward sustained SOC 2 compliance? Like organizations in every other business, the use of technologies can vary widely from auditor firm to auditor firm. Some use state-of-the-art hardware and software, while others rely on spreadsheets. Before choosing an auditor, get to know what technologies they use to conduct SOC 2 audits and generate reports. Then, determine if your company’s technologies to monitor and manage IT systems and data are compatible with your auditor’s choices. Gaps between your systems and your auditors can make audits and reports more complex and even challenge your company’s ability to achieve and sustain credibly demonstrable compliance.
How Trustero Can Help
SOC 2 compliance is a critical foundation for robust cybersecurity and consistent, agile, transparent processes that enable verifiable trust for your company. Committing to SOC 2 compliance requires clearly defined internal controls, policies, and procedures.
Trustero Compliance as a Service streamlines the audit process and helps businesses discover their source of truth. The Trustero solution includes pre-packaged intelligent controls mapped to SOC 2 Trust Services, access to a library of auditor-vetted policies, and customizable policy templates. As a result, Trustero saves you hundreds of hours automating hundreds of tasks, easing and speeding the path toward credible, sustainable compliance and trustworthiness. In addition, Trustero Compliance as a Service works with you and your trusted auditor to achieve and sustain SOC 2 compliance effectively, efficiently, and economically – and without expensive investments in hardware, software, or services.