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Understanding SOC 2 Audits

SOC (Service Organization Control) examinations, also known as SOC audits, are an essential tool to affirm your service organization’s integrity for your stakeholders and clients. Your organization will improve its credibility and financial reporting with regular, thorough SOC audits performed by audit professionals.

Below is an overview of the SOC 2 audit process along with answers to some common questions our clients have for us. If you’d like more information, contact our experienced audit CPAs.

What is a SOC 2 Audit?

Unlike SOC 1 audits, SOC 2 audits go beyond just confirming that your organization has control systems in place. These audits focus on the technical details of your information security controls to ensure they function properly. During the SOC 2 audit process, a licensed CPA firm thoroughly analyzes if your client’s data is being properly protected and that your systems are safe from any potential security breaches.

SOC 2 audit compliance is not legally required, but it meets an accepted security standard that shows your organization is credible and not at risk. Providing evidence of regular SOC 2 audits tells your clients that their sensitive information is being treated with respect and is keeping up with modern information security standards.

The SOC 2 Audit Process

Throughout the audit process, your CPA firm will test for five major non-financial controls included in a SOC 2 report, known as Trust Service Criteria (TSC):

  1. Security: Protection from unauthorized outside interference (firewalls, authentication)
  2. Availability: Efficiency and accessibility of operational systems as per customer agreements (incident handling, disaster recovery, performance monitoring)
  3. Processing Integrity: Accurate, on-time information system processing (quality assurance, processing monitoring)
  4. Confidentiality: Confidential information is protected according to objectives (firewalls, encryption)
  5. Privacy: Information is kept private according to your organization’s privacy notice (authentication, access control)

To test if your service organization adheres to these criteria, the SOC 2 audit process could involve cooperating with management across your entire organization. To ensure safety across departments and ensure there is no unauthorized access, a rigorous audit may involve contacting anyone in your organization who has access to your systems.

How Often to Perform a SOC 2 Audit

A SOC 2 report is valid for 12 months from the date the report was issued. You should perform a SOC 2 audit at least annually or whenever your organization makes significant changes to its information security processes or structures.

Who Can Perform a SOC 2 Audit

Only licensed Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), a designation by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), can perform SOC 2 audits.

This reputable designation helps enforce and ensure professional standards in the accounting industry, and makes your SOC audit all the more valuable.

Contact Maxwell Locke & Ritter for Thorough CPA Audits

Make the SOC 2 audit process go smoothly and efficiently with the help of highly experienced, knowledgeable CPAs from Maxwell Locke & Ritter. We would be happy to provide you with more information about SOC 2 audits and how we can help your company undergo this process. Contact us today.

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