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What is the Role of the IT Audit in SOC Reports?

Developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Service Organization Control (SOC) reports are independent reports designed to establish a framework for the system-level controls that protect sensitive information and ensure confidentiality. What is the Role of the IT Audit in SOC Reports?

Service organizations using SOC reports are defined as a provider of services that may pose risks to a user’s financial reporting, business, or compliance with regulations. With SOC reports, organizations can build trust and confidence in the services they provide and that they successfully adhere to necessary protective controls.

What is the Role of the IT Audit in SOC Reports and the Types of SOC Reports

There are three different types of SOC reports, SOC 12, and 3. SOC 1 includes a report on the internal controls over financial reporting. The intended users of SOC 1 reports are the CPAs who audit financial statements. SOC 2 reports on the “security, availability, and processing integrity of the systems the service organization uses to process users’ data and the confidentiality and privacy of the information processed by these systems.” Lastly, SOC 3 is a general report on the controls in place by the organization, intended for users who do not possess the information necessary to understand a SOC 2 report, such as a general consumer.

While the three different types of SOC are designed with a different audience and purpose in mind, the process of generating each report remains similar. They begin with an independent auditor’s opinion, which is where the role of an IT audit comes into play.

IT audits are defined as “the examination and evaluation of an organization’s information technology infrastructure, applications, data use and management, policies, procedures and operational processes against recognized standards or established policies.” Through IT audits, it can be objectively determined if an organization is meeting its information security control objectives. These types of audits should play a critical role in cybersecurity, as when conducted regularly, they can point to vulnerabilities and areas that require improvement.

IT Audits and SOC Reports

In addition to generating SOC reports, IT audits are required to meet compliance requirements of regulations such as SOX, HIPAA, or GDPR. In this sense, IT auditors are required to check and ensure that organizations are properly protecting personal health information or financial reporting. If they are not, IT audits allow organizations to discover weaknesses in their cybersecurity practices so that they can be fixed before they either receive penalties or are hacked.

Without an IT audit, SOC reports cannot be complete. There would be no independent verification of the security controls and processes in place, therefore, making it impossible to assess whether or not the organization is successfully meeting the requirements established by AICPA. Without this assessment, it is more difficult for an organization to establish trust in its service offerings.

YouAttest and SOC Reports

YouAttest provides a key component for the SOC reports.  YouAttest accounts for the access privileges for the users in the enterprise – via conduct cloud-based User Access Reviews.   YouAttest enables access review by Users, by Groups and by Applications.  Each is a part of the IT audit process and may be requested by the external auditor.

In addition, YouAttest provide triggers to help an enterprise quantify and then review in real-time,  what user rights and roles has changed.  This is important for not only IT audit – but for security reasons to attempt privilege escalation which a key part of the Lockheed Cyber Kill Chain.   This allows enterprises to detect both malicious users attempting to obtain privileges but also users who are gaining privileges through privilege creep.

YouAttest is the only cloud-based IGA platform that deploys in minutes via application SSO to platforms like Okta.   YouAttest executes access reviews and other need audit functionality ofr your SOC reports.   Register for YouAttest SOC focus webinar, March 3rd:  SOC Reporting and Access Reviews – Special Guest Raj Sawhney,  IT Audit Lead, Focal Point.

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