Playbook: SOC2 Monthly Review
In today’s ever-evolving digital landscape, ensuring the security and confidentiality of sensitive information is paramount. For organizations handling customer data, the Service Organization Control 2 (SOC2) framework serves as a gold standard for demonstrating their commitment to data security and privacy. To maintain SOC2 compliance, organizations must not only undergo regular audits but also conduct thorough monthly reviews. In this blog post, we will delve into the importance of SOC2 monthly reviews and provide a comprehensive playbook to guide organizations through this critical process.
This playbook is a FREE Industry template that can be tweaked or used as-is for your own organization or teams, in perpetuity. This contribution to the community was created after research on the current Industry best practices on the subject. However, this is only a guidance and needs to be modified as required, to best fit your needs. This template does not provide any assurances or guarantees. It also needs you to modify Roles, Tasks and Durations to those that best fit your specific needs.
The template provided for FREE DOWNLOAD covers the following sections:
Why SOC2 Monthly Reviews Matter:
Regular SOC2 audits are vital, but monthly reviews play a crucial role in ensuring ongoing compliance. These reviews allow organizations to stay agile in addressing emerging security threats and adapting to changes in their internal processes. By conducting monthly reviews, businesses can proactively identify and rectify potential compliance gaps, ultimately enhancing their overall security posture.
The Playbook: Steps for a Successful SOC2 Monthly Review:
Update SOC2 Compliance Checklist:
Begin by reviewing and updating the SOC2 compliance checklist. This document serves as the foundation for your monthly review and should reflect any changes in regulations, technology, or internal processes.
Communication and Coordination:
Circulate the updated checklist to stakeholders, keeping them informed about any additions or updates. Send reminders to department heads and managers about the preset meeting, ensuring their representation and active participation in the review process.
Share the compliance item list with relevant departments, discussing any discoveries from previous reviews and highlighting special items for the current assessment. This step fosters collaboration and ensures that all departments are aligned with the organization’s compliance goals.
IT Systems Security Audit:
Conduct a thorough security audit of IT systems, identifying areas of improvement. Note down these areas for follow-up in the next month and prioritize urgent tasks by creating specific action items.
Collaborate with the Risk Management team to conduct risk assessments. This step ensures that potential risks are identified, analyzed, and addressed promptly, contributing to a more robust security framework.
HR Policies and Training:
Review HR policies and training materials for compliance. Similar to the IT systems audit, discuss areas of improvement, note them down for follow-up, and create specific tasks to address urgent issues.
Data Protection Measures:
Examine data protection measures and protocols, involving the Data Protection Officer in the process. This step ensures that the organization is actively safeguarding sensitive data in accordance with SOC2 requirements.
Drafting the Preliminary Report:
Compile the findings from the monthly review and draft a preliminary report. Share this report with all managers and department heads who participated, as well as the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for review.
Documentation and Signoff:
Ensure that documentation of the monthly review is updated with signoffs from all managers and department heads regarding the action items expected from them and their respective timelines.
Evidence Gathering and Closure:
Gather and organize evidence of action items taken to closure. Create new tasks with appropriate assignees and timelines for items that require further attention.
Final Review Meeting:
Conduct a final review meeting with department heads and managers to discuss findings and associated new tasks and timelines. This step promotes transparency and accountability within the organization.
Compliance Officer Review:
Showcase findings to the Compliance Officer and address any identified compliance gaps promptly.
Finalizing the Monthly Review Report:
Finalize and approve the SOC2 Security review report for the month, ensuring accuracy and completeness.
Dissemination of the Final Report:
Disseminate the final report to relevant stakeholders, maintaining transparency and keeping all parties informed of the organization’s compliance status.
Debrief Session or Report Sharing:
Organize a debrief session with senior management to discuss learnings and improvements, or share the report with comments. This step allows the organization to continuously learn and adapt its security practices.20
In conclusion, a well-executed SOC2 monthly review is instrumental in maintaining and enhancing an organization’s compliance with industry standards. By following this playbook, organizations can establish a systematic and thorough approach to monthly reviews, ensuring that they stay ahead of potential security threats and demonstrate an unwavering commitment to data security and privacy.