SOC 2 Section 5

SOC 2 (System and Organization Controls 2) is a framework for managing customer data based on five Trust Service Criteria (TSC): security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. SOC 2 reports are crucial for service organizations to demonstrate that they have the necessary controls in place to protect client data.

SOC 2 Section 5

Section 5 of a SOC 2 report typically pertains to the “Additional Information Provided by the Service Organization.” This section is not part of the core audit but includes supplementary information that the service organization wishes to provide. This additional information can include:

1. Management’s Assertion:  Management’s assertion is a statement provided by the organization’s management that asserts the system meets the relevant trust service criteria listed above. 

2. Subservice Organizations: Details about subservice organizations, which are third parties that provide services to the company and impact the control environment. This section describes how these subservice organizations are managed and the direct  relationship with the enterprise .

3. Control Frameworks: A detailed description of the control frameworks used, this could include additional frameworks  besides the standard SOC 2 criteria. Examples might be NIST, ISO, or COBIT frameworks that the organization aligns with.

4. Additional Explanations or Clarifications: This is specific depending on the company and their controls. This might include detailed descriptions of complex processes or unique control environments.

5. Future Plans: Information about future plans for control enhancements or upcoming audits. This demostrates  the organization’s commitment to continuous improvement and compliance.

6. Illustrative Controls: This is about providing more context and evidence of control effectiveness.

7. Customer Responsibilities: Outlines the responsibilities of customers in maintaining security and compliance. This section ensures that customers understand their shared responsibility with the company.

SOC 2 Report

A SOC 2 (System and Organization Controls 2) report is a detailed evaluation conducted by an independent auditing firm to assess an organization’s controls related to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of customer data. This report is essential for service organizations, particularly those providing cloud services, to demonstrate their commitment to data protection and compliance.

Obtaining a SOC 2 Report

To obtain a SOC 2 report, an organization must engage an independent, certified public accountant (CPA) or firm that specializes in SOC audits. The process involves:

  1. Preparation: Conducting a readiness assessment to identify gaps and prepare for the audit.
  2. Audit: The auditor evaluates the organization’s controls over a specified period.
  3. Report Generation: The auditor compiles findings and issues the SOC 2 report.

By adhering to the SOC 2 framework and obtaining a SOC 2 report, organizations can build trust with their clients and stakeholders, demonstrating their commitment to maintaining high standards of data protection and operational integrity.

Non Occurrence

In the context of compliance, “non-occurrence” refers to the absence of compliance breaches, incidents, or violations. It  means that no events have taken place that would constitute a failure to adhere to legal, regulatory, or internal policy requirements. This concept is  extremely important for maintaining the integrity of an organization’s compliance program and ensuring to customers that the company adheres to standards.

Importance of non occurrence:

  1. Effective Controls: It suggests that the compliance program is functioning as intended.
  2. Risk Management: If risks are identified and assessed appropriately and on time, the absence of mistakes affirm that all of these strategies are working
  3. Improved reputation: Regularly demonstrating compliance and the absence of breaches  helps build trust with customers, stakeholders, and law enforcing bodies.
  4. Cost Savings: This is done by avoiding fines, legal fees and all costs that are related to managing breaches and fixing their negative impact..
  5. Continuous Improvement: Tracking and reporting non-occurrence helps organizations identify trends and areas for improvement. Even in the absence of incidents, continuous monitoring can  help discover vulnerabilities that need to be addressed in the future .

Unaudited Section

In a SOC 2 report, the “unaudited section” refers to portions of the report that are not covered by the auditor’s opinion. This section is typically included at the end of the SOC 2 report and  has all the additional information provided by the organization. While this information can be useful for stakeholders, it is not verified or tested by the auditor and should be interpreted with that understanding.

Purpose of the unaudited section:

  1. Provides context or additional details that might be helpful for users of the report.
  2. Describes the organization’s plans for future improvements or changes planned for the company 
  3. Information about third-party services that the organization uses, which impact its control environment.
  4. Examples of specific controls and how they operate, providing deeper insights into the organization’s control framework.
  5. Outlines the responsibilities that customers have in maintaining security and compliance, emphasizing a shared responsibility model.