When faced with the news that you have failed your SOC 2 audit, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and uncertain of what to do. However, having a plan for addressing the findings is essential in order to ensure that your organization is compliant with all applicable standards. Here’s what you should do after learning that you have failed an SOC 2 Audit:
1. Review the Report
The first step is to thoroughly review the SOC 2 auditor’s report. This should include studying any weaknesses or deficiencies that were identified during the audit as well as any areas for improvement that were suggested. This will provide you with a better understanding of what went wrong and why, which can help you decide what actions need to be taken.
2. Identify the Root Cause
After thoroughly reviewing the SOC 2 auditor’s report, you can begin to identify the root cause of the failed audit. Common causes include inadequate internal controls, improper configuration of systems or applications, insufficient monitoring and logging of activities, lack of segregation of duties, or inadequate training.
3. Develop an Action Plan
Once you’ve identified the root cause of the failure, it’s time to create an action plan for addressing the issues and making necessary changes. Depending on the severity of the findings in your SOC 2 audit report, these changes could be minor modifications or require significant investments (e.g., additional people, resources, or technology).
4. Implement the Action Plan
Once you’ve developed an action plan for addressing the findings in your SOC 2 audit report, it’s time to start implementing the changes. This may include implementing new processes and procedures, upgrading software and systems, training staff on updated policies, or installing new monitoring and logging tools. For each action plan item, it’s important to create a timeline for completion and assign individuals or teams with responsibility for spearheading the project.
5. Remediate Weaknesses and Deficiencies
Once you’ve implemented the changes from your action plan, you should look for any weaknesses or deficiencies that still exist. This could include areas where processes are not yet fully mature or systems are still misconfigured. If any of these weaknesses or deficiencies are identified, they should be addressed as soon as possible.
6. Reassess Your Environment
Before scheduling a re-audit of your SOC 2 program, it’s important to reassess your environment and make sure that all the changes you’ve made are effective and that the weaknesses or deficiencies have been addressed. This includes testing new processes and procedures, verifying the accuracy of system configurations, and performing additional training as needed.
7. Schedule a Re-audit
Once you’ve reassessed your environment and are confident that all weaknesses have been addressed, it’s time to schedule a re-audit with the same SOC 2 auditor (or a different one if needed). This will allow you to demonstrate that your organization has addressed the findings of the previous audit and is now compliant with the relevant security requirements. In some cases, this may be done through a light “touch-up” audit.
By taking these steps and following the guidance provided in this article, you can ensure that your organization is better prepared for its next SOC 2 audit and minimize the risk of failing again. Good luck!