SOC 2 Readiness Assessment [A Quick Guide]

Srividhya Karthik

Srividhya Karthik

Nov 19, 2023

SOC 2 Readiness Assessment [A Quick Guide]

After spending months getting SOC 2 ready, when and how can you know if you are ready for the SOC 2 audit? How much audit prep is good enough? After all, you don’t want to appear ill-prepared for your SOC 2 audit and risk an adverse auditor’s opinion on your SOC 2 report.

Enter SOC 2 Readiness Assessment. A dress rehearsal of sorts and SOC 2 readiness assessments are conducted before your SOC 2 audit.  An examiner (external auditor) goes over all your SOC 2 requirements and controls and flags off non-compliances and control gaps for you to remediate before your SOC 2 audit. SOC 2 readiness assessments, therefore, are much-needed course corrections in your SOC 2 journey. 

This blog will act as a guide to your SOC 2 readiness assessment checklist – when should it be performed, what to expect from it, and what does it cost.

What is a SOC 2 Readiness Assessment?

A SOC 2 readiness assessment is part of an audit evaluation that examines whether an organization securely maintains its data processing systems. The assessment captures the lapses or misses in your organization’s processes, policies, and gaps before the final audit. 

Readiness assessments SOC 2 compliance will help your company grow and land larger deals. But it takes work to get there. SOC 2 readiness assessment is an effective way to ensure all the necessary measures have been taken to become compliant and changes are made in time before the SOC 2 audit. 

SOC 2 self-assessments (carried out by internal resources) aren’t always the best option. They are akin to you reviewing your own work and might not always yield results in discovering control gaps and oversights. You can hire an external consultant or a Certified Public Accountant firm or institute an internal audit team to conduct your SOC readiness assessment.

Why conduct a SOC 2 readiness assessment?

A SOC 2 readiness assessment acts as a crucial component in helping businesses identify weaknesses in their security and compliance. It involves implementing security measures and other necessary safeguards and assessing potential risks. A readiness assessment also enables businesses to sufficiently address vulnerabilities, protect their data, demonstrate their commitment to compliance, meet security objectives, and project a strong security posture to clients.

As we mentioned before, SOC 2 readiness assessment isn’t a mandatory step in your SOC 2 compliance process. But it comes highly recommended. And here’s why:

Benefits of SOC 2 Readiness Assessment

A SOC 2 readiness assessment assesses your control activities and helps you align them with compliance requirements, facilitating a smoother audit process. Here are the benefits of SOC 2 readiness assessment:

Reduce scope for errors & oversight

The readiness assessment comprehensively reviews all the aspects of your security compliance. It’s perhaps the most effective way to ensure you have ticked all the boxes in terms of your SOC 2 compliance requirements. And since the assessments detail the lapses and gaps, and make recommendations to fix them as well, it reduces the scope for errors and oversights when you eventually go through your SOC 2 audit.

The assessment gives feedback on every aspect of your business and recommends how to fix every gap. The recommendations may range from simple to complex – from making organizational charts to having your vendor assessments reviewed and approved by the leadership team periodically. 

Better prepare for SOC 2 audit

Since readiness assessment is like a trial run of your SOC 2 audit, you know what to expect in your SOC 2 audit in terms of the questions/observations that can be raised. It also preps you in terms of collating evidence, documentation, policies and procedures, and detailing your control objectives matrix, to name a few.

For the most part, it will prepare you to prove compliance to your auditor. In short, it helps you get better prepared for your SOC 2 audit.

Improve your chance of a successful SOC 2 audit

At the end of the day, you want a successful SOC 2 audit and a SOC 2 report that assures your customers that you take data security seriously.

A SOC 2 readiness assessment improves your chances of getting an unqualified auditor’s opinion in your SOC 2 report. ​​An unqualified opinion in your SOC 2 report means that your auditor did not find any issues during the audit; every control test was designed appropriately (Type 1 report) and operated effectively (Type 2 report).

Get a wingman for your SOC 2 audit. Talk to our experts today!

What does SOC 2 Audit Readiness Assessment Include?

A SOC 2 readiness assessment is akin to a private screening of a movie before its release to test the audience’s reaction so that the director can make the necessary changes. Typically, your SOC 2 readiness assessment will involve 2 steps following steps:

What does SOC 2 Audit Readiness Assessment Include_

1. Review audit scope and controls mapping

The consultant will review your audit scope in terms of the TSC chosen and then verify how you have mapped them to your internal controls. Each of the criteria has a set of individual criteria and requirements, and the assessment will take a detailed look at how well your SOC 2 controls are mapped to each individual criterion.

The detailed spreadsheet (where you maintain the controls mapping), requisite documentation (such as management assertion letter, system description, and policies, to name a few), and evidence of compliance are reviewed too. In short, this initial readiness assessment will bring to light missing controls or key processes, if any, that you can correct before your SOC 2 compliance audit.

Ensure you have enough time to remediate and plug the gaps before you slot your SOC 2 audit.

Running short on time? What’s the easier solution?

Ace your SOC Readiness Assessment with Sprinto : Sprinto, the smart compliance automation solution, facilitates your SOC 2 readiness assessment by evaluating your control environment and automates your security controls, performs gap analysis, and audit documentation all in a single dashboard and helps you achieve your SOC 2 compliance within weeks.

Case Study

Check out how Sprinto enabled Dassana to be SOC 2 audit-ready in two weeks!

2. Get a detailed remediation plan 

Your SOC 2 readiness assessment will highlight the missing links, controls design, and operational oversights of your controls vis-a-vis the SOC 2 compliance requirements. It enables you to perform vulnerability scanning, risk assessments, and penetration tests. And allows you to create remediation plans for the identified risk.

 The external consultant typically would make recommendations on improvement areas and offer remediation plans to fix the deficiencies and oversights.

Redesign of processes, implementation of security awareness training programs, and improvement in evidence collection are some of the other areas your consultant might weigh upon following their assessment. Typically, the consultant would issue a letter to the management detailing their observations, recommendations, and opinions on your SOC 2 readiness. 

Also, find out how you can automate SOC 2 compliance

Want a complete SOC 2 checklist? Refer to this video:

How much does a SOC 2 readiness assessment cost?

Generally, you can expect a ballpark of $10,000-$15,000 as charges for your readiness assessment. The cost of SOC 2 readiness assessment is a crucial element for organizations preparing for audits. The cost typically varies depending on the size and complexity of your organization’s controls and the scope of the audit, as well as on the pedigree of the auditor (or firm) chosen. 

Big 4 firms, as expected, would cost you more, while a smaller CPA firm, in comparison, would charge less. While it is difficult to tag a specific number, investing in readiness assessment is a distinct and essential part of your audit; costs and the cost of not conducting your assessment can cause severe consequences.

Save up to 60% on SOC 2 audit costs. Talk to our experts today!

When should a readiness assessment be performed?

It’s best done when you have ample time before the observation window of your SOC 2 audit begins; time enough to rectify and fix the observations from your readiness assessment. So, plan your readiness assessment ahead and leave room to incorporate all the suggestions made in time for a successful SOC 2 audit.

Also check out: SOC 2 compliance for startups.

The smart way to reduce readiness assessment cost

Compliance automation platforms such as Sprinto offer a smarter, scalable, and less expensive way to secure your processing integrity and assess your SOC 2 readiness. 

Sprinto offers you a dashboard view of your SOC 2 audit readiness in terms of percentage readiness. It gives a granular view of passing, failing, and critical checks as well as due tests.  It also gives you an entity-level overview of who needs to do what.

With Sprinto, you enter your SOC 2 audit with complete preparedness. Thanks to its intuitive and easy-to-use user auditor-friendly interface, evidence collection, controls mapping, policies, and other documentation are all aligned and made available at the click of a button. The best part is that the SOC readiness assessment feature is built into the application, which means you don’t shell out extra greenbacks to get yourself assessed.

You only pay for the automation platform; readiness assessment is complimentary. Continuous monitoring and integrated SOC 2 risk assessments are added perks too.

Clearly, compliance automation is the way forward. Schedule a free demo with Sprinto to see how you can future-proof your compliance journey and take control of your security posture.

FAQs

Is SOC 2 certification mandatory for SaaS companies?

No, SOC 2 certification isn’t mandatory for SaaS companies in a legal sense. However, SaaS companies should get SOC 2 certification because it is generally a requirement in vendor contracts and demonstrates your commitment to securing clients’ data.

Who Performs a SOC 2 Audit?

SOC 2 audits are usually performed by certified public accounting (CPA) firms. These firms specialize in conducting audits and have professionals trained to audit an organization’s controls and compliance with SOC 2 requirements.

What is SOC 2 compliance?

SOC 2 is a voluntary information security standard developed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) for cloud-hosted organizations. The compliance framework operates on the Trust Services Criteria – security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

Srividhya Karthik

Srividhya Karthik

Srividhya Karthik, is a Content Lead at Sprinto, she artfully transforms the complex world of compliance into accessible and intriguing reads. Srividhya has half a decade of experience under her belt in the compliance world across frameworks such as SOC 2, ISO 27001, GDPR and more. She is a formidable authority in the domain and guides readers with expertise and clarity.

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