In our last article, we discussed the nature of a SOC for Cybersecurity report and laid a solid foundation of what the audit includes. In this article, we are going to dive into the importance of a SOC for Cybersecurity audit to an organization’s stakeholders. Throughout the business world, the risk of a significant cybersecurity breach continues to grow. A breach can cause significant losses of operating time, lost production and revenue, negative impacts on a company’s image, and can cost thousands of dollars in remediation expenses. Well governed organizations are looking to prevent these breaches from occurring instead of only worrying about how the organization will recover after a breach.
Over the last few years, senior management and boards of directors at most organizations are starting to question ‘How effective is our cybersecurity risk management program?’ Organizations and investors alike are looking to gain comfort that the organization has processes, policies, and controls in place to protect and secure the organization’s information systems. While it is true that strong policies and procedures can’t prevent a breach, the lack thereof certainly increases the risk exponentially. Now, with the introduction of SOC for Cybersecurity, CPAs can provide advisory services and provide a report that gives organizations and investors comfort that the organization has proper preventative measures in place.
Benefit of a SOC for Cybersecurity
First, a SOC for Cybersecurity will be a report that provides simple and clear communication to an organization on how well equipped the organization is in order to mitigate the risk of cybersecurity breaches. The report includes the auditor’s evaluation of the organization’s design and operating effectiveness of controls within the organization’s cybersecurity risk management program. In turn, this report will increase the confidence of those charged with governance of the organization that the processes, policies, and controls in place are designed and operating effectively to prevent a cybersecurity attack, or conversely it will give the organization an opportunity to see the gaps in their cybersecurity risk management program and recommendations on how to improve it.
Second, the AICPA noted that there is a possibility that organizations might not be ready for a SOC for Cybersecurity audit. However, a SOC for Cybersecurity also allows auditors to provide guidance and advisory services in order to improve the cybersecurity risk management program of the organization. This guidance will be provided during the pre-assessment phase of the SOC for Cybersecurity audit and allow the organization to enhance its processes and controls so that it is ready to receive a SOC for Cybersecurity audit. Similar to the pre-assessment phase of a SOC 1 or SOC 2 audit, the auditors will review processes, policies, and controls included within the organization’s cybersecurity risk management program. From there, the auditors will provide insight in order to strengthen the current processes, policies, and controls in place or provide recommendations of best practices in order to fill in the gaps of missing preventative measures.
Finally, a SOC for Cybersecurity provides answers to the question ‘How effective is our cybersecurity risk management program?’ The report includes the organization’s description of their cybersecurity risk management program, which lays out the organization’s processes, policies, and controls in place to prevent cybersecurity attacks. The description also informs as to how the organization is monitoring, evaluating, and enhancing their controls to respond to evolving risks and threats. The report also indicates the results of the auditor’s tests of such controls to provide a level of comfort over their effectiveness. A SOC for Cybersecurity provides this useful information on how the organization is mitigating the ever growing cybersecurity risk in a clear manner for the use of management and stakeholders.
Does your organization need a SOC for Cybersecurity?
McKonly & Asbury has the experience and expertise to work with your organization to evaluate your preparedness for a SOC for Cybersecurity examination. Our goal is to work with you to evaluate your internal controls and reporting needs and then provide you with valuable recommendations to ensure your SOC for Cybersecurity examination goes smoothly.
In our next article, we will compare a SOC for Cybersecurity to a SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 audit. As always, if you have any questions regarding this article or for more information about our SOC for Cybersecurity services, please contact Michael Hoffner, Partner and Leader of McKonly & Asbury’s SOC practice, at email@example.com.