Making the Transition from SOC 1 to SOC 2 Reporting

August 30, 2022 | By IANS Research

The advantages of taking the additional steps to complete a SOC 2 audit and report justify the lengthier investments of time, staffing and cost versus keeping your existing SOC 1 designation. Undergoing a SOC 2 audit demonstrates a commitment to your own security protocols and by extension, the safety of your customer/client data. 

In fact, these SOC audits can provide a competitive advantage to secure business from competing firms with a less mature security program. It is becoming increasingly common for prospective new business clients to use SOC 2 reporting as a defining requirement for vendor processes and control functions.  

Are you ready to move to a SOC 2 audit? This piece details how to transition to SOC 2 reporting along with SOC 2 types, how to determine when SOC 2 reporting is needed as well as tips to implement the SOC 2 audit process. 

SOC 2 Report Use Cases 

SOC 2 reports identify how organizations meet security commitments and safely handle client data. Auditors use predefined criteria to evaluate service providers, most of whom specialize in cloud storage, software or data processing. 

SaaS companies, data hosting platforms and cloud storage providers are the most common organizations opting for SOC 2 audits. However, all firms with client information stored via the cloud may benefit from this compliance check. 

A growing number of clients seek confirmation of compliance before signing on, not just with large companies but also for small and midsize firms. That's why a SOC 2 audit is valuable for providers who want to stay at the forefront of their industry and gain new clients. 

Why SOC 2 Reports Are in Demand 

SOC 2 audits are not a legal requirement, but they are in demand across many industries as the reliance on tech and cloud storage grows. When you skip a SOC 2 audit, you're likely missing out on new business, because clients may choose a competitor that can prove security compliance. It's one thing for a service provider to say its systems are secure, and it's another thing to have a licensed auditor confirm this high level of security. 

If you've had a SOC 1 audit in the past but want more detailed information on your organization's security measures and data handling, then it's time to transition to SOC 2 audits. 

Questions to Answer When Considering a Transition to SOC 2 

  • What measures do you have in place to protect client data? 
  • How often do you check your security controls for compliance? 
  • Could you benefit from an extended review of security controls? 
  • How do you prove compliance with Trust Services Criteria? 
  • Are prospective clients asking for SOC 2 audits? 

SOC 2 Audit Challenges 

SOC 2 audits offer multiple benefits, but they do take time and require a financial investment. As a broader evaluation of security compliance, SOC Type 2 reports could take a few months or up to a year, which is why sometimes a SOC 1 or SOC Type 1 is used first. 

Another potential challenge with SOC 2 audits is stakeholder buy-in. If management doesn't acknowledge the value of these reviews, staff preparation may fall short. Unclear communication could get in the way of favorable audit results, which is why a readiness assessment is recommended. Internal control monitoring may also help with SOC 2 preparation. 

Best Practices to Transition from SOC 1 to SOC 2 

SOC 2 reports help to protect the privacy of internal processes such as software use, cloud storage and transaction processing. SOC 2 audits check these controls to ensure service providers and their clients are well-protected in line with Trust Services Criteria such as security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy. 

SOC 1 is a good place to start for financial reporting services, although it's very specific. SOC 2 offers a broader look at overall organizational security, so if your organization relies on cloud storage or SaaS software, it's a good idea to transition to SOC 2. 

Tips to Transition to SOC 2 

  • SOC 2 offers detailed insights into controls for data protection and service delivery. If potential clients are asking for proof of compliance, it's best to arrange a SOC 2 audit. 
  • The more you can prepare, the better. Ask for a SOC 2 compliance checklist and run through a pre-audit assessment to boost confidence before the review. 
  • If time and resources are a factor - SOC 2 Type 1 is a faster, short-term solution that confirms compliance at one point. SOC 2 Type 2 looks at the operational efficiency of these controls in detail, but it takes several months at least, making this a longer-term review for a full compliance check. 

Although reasonable efforts will be made to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the information contained in our blog posts, no liability can be accepted by IANS or our Faculty members for the results of any actions taken by individuals or firms in connection with such information, opinions, or advice.

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