Often times, clients will approach us with a simple question: What does an SOC audit find? We could respond with a bloated comeback, discussing how a service organization control audit yields a comprehensive, actionable analysis of the controls and procedures of an operation, while examining areas of potential loss and providing added assurance to investors. But we’d much rather take an easily digestible look at the three most commonly discovered organizational threats that are uncovered with an SOC audit! (Remember: these are just SOME of the conflicts we find.)
High Risk: Classified/Personal Information Breaches
Perhaps the most dangerous threat to your organization is improper firewall protection and protocol, which could result in a disastrous breach of information, including financial statements and healthcare records. Firewalls are put in place to prevent hacking attempts and theft. If someone is trying to get in, this control keeps them out. If you’re working with a third party, you should be sure that adequate security measures have been put into place. A breach could be absolutely fatal to your organization, whether it be the result of a lawsuit or damaged reputation. A SOC audit will first look to see if you need a firewall, identify if you have one or not and, finally, decide whether or not the network firewall is adequate to protect your vulnerable data. If you can be confident in your information security measures, so can your investors.
Medium Risk: Quality Control Pitfalls
SOC audits identify cracks in quality assurance processes. Suppose a flawed product batch goes through or a not-so-great service was performed. What does your team do next? Do you have a proper recall mechanism in place? How do you make things right for an unhappy client? How does your team even find out about a poor product or service? Hopefully it’s not through a negative online review or angry social media post. Quality controls ensure that only a high level service or product ever reaches the market and, should a faulty product slip through, you have the right means to make things better in a timely fashion. This risk should not be taken lightly, as it could damage your organization’s reputation and result in the loss of a customer.
A SOC audit, in a way, acts as a comprehensive benchmark for your organization’s performance. It answers the following questions:
- How are we doing currently?
- What are we doing wrong?
- What have we overlooked?
- How can we instill confidence in our investors & stakeholders?
- How do we ensure we are stronger in the future?
After undergoing a complete analysis, you will be left with a lot of answers, but obviously some new questions. Particularly #5. One reason many organizations begin to falter is because they lack proper mechanisms to gauge performance. They don’t have personnel in place to track productivity and spot areas of waste. Sure, a lack of benchmarking processes won’t result in an immediate fatality, but it is a constant wound that could leave you to bleed out.
For more information on what SOC audits determine for your organization or business, contact Holbrook & Manter’s professional SOC audit team today!