Compliance for Software as a Service (SaaS)

Challenging economic times have companies around the world cutting costs and tightening their IT budgets. Many organizations find the potential cost advantages appealing of SaaS over in-house operations. A manageable monthly expense verses a large one-time outlay will continue turning customers to pay as you go SaaS agreements. The SOC 1® attestation plays an important role for SaaS organizations by providing confidence and assurance to user organizations.

Moving critical business data outside the walls of the organization has propelled compliance departments to assess vendor risk and seek validation of risk from data loss or inadvertent exposure of sensitive information. Two factors play into this for SaaS providers: the first is obtaining the customer’s confidence around your information security system to initially win their trust and business; the second is the SaaS provider’s reputational impact caused by a data breach, resulting in the loss of business revenue. SOC 1® attestation for SaaS providers is focused on providing third party assurance regarding the confidentiality, integrity and availability of user organizations’ data that can help to increase customer confidence and reduce the risk of information security infringements.

Simply put by an attestation client, “A SOC 1® attestation tells our customers that we are doing what we promise.” Although this may not be the most technical answer, it is generally aligned with the purpose of a service auditor’s report.

Software as a Service’s SOC 1® involves the following critical areas:

  1. Organizational Level Controls: also known as “tone at the top” and is the evaluation of management’s oversight and internal operational level controls.
  2. Physical Security: the protection of information systems as it relates to third party data.
  3. Environmental Security: the protection of information systems and data from environmental threats.
  4. Data backups: the availability and protection of third party data.
  5. System Availability: the availability of information systems to user organizations.
  6. Application Change Control: the processing and procedures used to ensure that systems function per user requirements.
  7. Information Security: the logical protection of data from unauthorized system access.
  8. Data Communication: the data maintains its integrity and security as it is transmitted between third parties and the service organization.

The scope of the SOC 1® attestation is determined by the service organization. Accordingly, a well scoped attestation can clearly demonstrate your organization’s quality of service and ensure that sufficient information is provided to your user organization to communicate your stringent controls over physical security, environmental security, authorized access and continuous availability of services.

SOC 1 Compliance Process

We tailor every attestation engagement to our client’s requirements. However, we have a fundamental four phase process that normally meets our clients’ needs and creates an efficient, unobtrusive attestation that enables you to focus on your business while we focus on your compliance.

<h2 style="display:inline;">Scope</h2> (Phase 1): Not every SOC 1<sup>®</sup> attestation has the same requirements. Each company can vary depending on the type of services they perform for their customers. We have years of experience working with just about every industry and work with our clients to ensure that we cover the appropriate scope to ensure your customers’ needs are satisfied. While the scoping phase of our attestation is normally covered during our initial quoting process, we offer a formal meeting with our clients to ensure we have a mutual understanding of the attestation goals.
<p> <h2 style="display:inline;">Plan</h2> (Phase 2): We offer two options for the planning phase of your audit:</p><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --><ol><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <li>We provide our in-house developed questionnaires and request list that are based on industry leading compliance frameworks such as CobiT, ISO 27000, PCI and HIPAA. Customers benefit from this approach by getting to work at their own pace with just a deadline in mind.</li><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> <li>The other option is an onsite visit to perform walkthroughs of the relevant service offerings. We then customize our attestation plan and deliver a detailed document request list to prepare our clients for phase three (fieldwork).</li><!-- [et_pb_line_break_holder] --> </ol>
<h2 style="display:inline;">Fieldwork</h2> (Phase 3): Our service auditors have a minimum of five years of experience with the Big 4 global CPA firms, large consulting firms and smaller boutique firms that specialize in SOC 1<sup>®</sup> attestations. Due to this, we are efficient and understand what is required for each attestation.
<h2 style="display:inline;">Report & Market</h2> (Phase 4): Your SOC 1<sup>®</sup> service auditor’s report is essentially the product for which you pay. We provide well defined and quality written reports that focus on providing your customers with everything they need from a third-party assurance perspective. We take pride in delivering professional quality reports in a timely manner; we stand behind everything we issue. Publicizing or marketing your service auditor’s report is the opportunity for your attestation to pay for itself. A major benefit from completing the SOC 1<sup>®</sup> attestation is the tangible return on investment that is created from having your company examined under the SSAE 18 standard for SOC 1<sup>®</sup>. We provide customized press release information and a SOC for Service Organizations logo to place on your web site, all included in our fixed fee pricing.

Project Timeline: Four Phase Attestation

For More Information Speak to a Service Auditor at Roosa CPA, LLC (877) 410-8516

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