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SOC Reports

Risk of Not Reviewing Your Vendor's SOC Report

May 15, 2019 by Desiree Ericksen

Reviewing each vendor’s SOC (System and Organization Controls) report is a critical due diligence step and is vital in the initial vendor selection stage and the ongoing monitoring stage. SOC reports help identify any gaps or faults in the vendor’s control environment.

If you choose to skip this important step altogether – maybe you received the SOC report but didn’t have a subject matter expert thoroughly analyze it or maybe you didn’t request it all – then you run the extreme possibility of your organization being exposed to great risk and regulatory trouble.

What’s the Risk of Not Analyzing Your Vendor’s SOC Report?

If you don’t analyze your vendor’s SOC report, you run the risk of not identifying or doing the following which could greatly protect your organization if discovered:  

  • Red Flags and Concerns: First, your SOC report assists with identifying red flags or concerns. Words like “inadequate”, “qualified” or “misrepresentation” within the Service Auditor’s Report section can be quick indicators that something is wrong with your vendor’s control environment. This means, you may need to dig a little further to understand what should be done next to protect your organization and your customers.

  • Missed Key Controls: Look through the report to verify whether key controls were identified and audited within the report. If they weren’t included, additional evidence may be required.

  • Unimplemented Complimentary User Entity Controls: SOC reports also list the Complimentary User Entity Controls (if any). These are the controls that your organization needs to implement to assist the vendor in maintaining a secure environment. So, if you neglect to review the SOC report, you won’t be aware of these, and in turn, will also be to blame for not having proper controls in effect.

  • Regulatory Risk: Finally, you may pose additional regulatory risk to your organization. All regulatory agencies require that your organization have and maintain a vendor management program, which includes the initial due diligence stage through ongoing monitoring throughout the relationship.

Maintaining a secure environment for your customers is a team effort. Each member of the team, the vendor, their subservice organizations and your organization play a key role, and without everyone working together, you are setting yourself up for unnecessary risk and regulatory trouble.

Do you know the differences between SOC 1, 2 and 3 reports? Download the infographic now to learn more. 

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Desiree Ericksen

Written by Desiree Ericksen

Desiree is a self-motivated financial services industry leader with 14 years’ experience through nearly all financial institution operations, from teller to Vice President – IT/Security Officer. Now providing detailed analysis to financial services companies, she is able to apply years of direct subject matter knowledge, analyzing inherent risk of vendors and their subservice providers. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Information Systems and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Through her experience in regulatory, internal and external audits, she has first-hand experience in what challenges financial services organizations are facing in third party risk management.

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