Project Management For A SOC 2 Audit

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On average, it takes 197 days to identify a data breach. Within this time, hackers could easily be accessing your data and altering its integrity without your knowledge. When the breach is discovered, the chances are that the damage caused will be quite significant. 

That’s why it is always wise to be proactive in data security than to react to data breaches. Ideally, you ought to invest in effective data security tools as well as monitor your security landscape to be on the safe side. Sadly, without proving to customers that you have indeed implemented the right security procedures, the chances are that you might miss out on great business opportunities. Luckily, showing clients SOC 2 reports might be proof enough that you have their best interests at heart.

While it might be easy to talk about being SOC 2 compliant, implementing the necessary controls isn’t always easy. There are a lot of aspects you need to look into, not to mention that you need to coordinate your team effectively. With the right project management practices, however, compliance will be more achievable. 

Here are some project management practices you should follow:

Finalize Project Details

If you want to cement the failure of your SOC 2 compliance project, ignore creating a scope of the project details. Without a well-outlined scope, your workforce is likely to be receiving new information now and then, such as deadlines and project expectations. Ideally, they need to understand what needs to be done from the start of the project. For instance, your employee should know that your aim is to meet the five trust service principles. These include data security, availability, processing integrity, privacy, and confidentiality.

Also, you should define the various responsibilities of every employee. Compliance is typically something that should be weaved into your daily operations, with every employee knowing how they can assist in its achievement. Also, you should set measurable goals to make it easy to track the project’s progress. Sure, some of the elements of your project are bound to change with time, but a well-outlined plan will make it easier for your workforce to adapt accordingly.

Choose The Right Team

Most projects come with diverse needs. As long as you have the right people at the forefront of the project, the chances of success will be quite high. However, you can do much more when it comes to choosing a project team than just picking the right people. Ideally, you need to concentrate on how the personalities of the different team players fit together.

Also, using clear communication tools will be essential to the success of the project. For instance, you will need to have representatives from the compliance and IT departments, which means that these team members might not always spend time together. Other than just using emails for communication, you should set up a project management platform to make the achievement of tasks seamless. 

Manage Project Risks

What might be the challenges that your compliance efforts will face? Managing these risks is essential to prevent the problems that come with non-compliance. Risk management is never a one-time process, and it needs you to monitor how the different risks might affect your business continually. Today’s risk might easily grow, requiring you to implement even stronger control measures. 

The trick is to have an individual monitor each risk vector and implement a strong reporting culture. If anything seems amiss, the individual in charge will know who to contact or what to do as long as you set clear expectations.

Focus On Escalation And Issue Management

Compliance projects, just like any other project, come with good and bad news. While good news rises fast in the chain of command, bad news typically remains at the working level as people try to sort everything out. Often, these issues might make it to the upper levels when it’s too late. With a great escalation and issue management system, you can ensure that such issues are handled in the right way. The lowest levels of project management will try to handle the issues first. 

If it is tough to solve and close it, it is then taken up to the next organization level. Ideally, you need to have a formal process in place to ensure that such issues are handled before they can be fatal to your compliance project.

Evaluate The Project After Completion

Compliance is an ongoing process, and you wouldn’t want to make last year’s mistakes during the next auditing period. Ideally, you should evaluate the progress of the previous project to identify issues that arose during the lifetime of the project. Next, you should outline ways in which you can avoid such issues from affecting next year’s audits.

It might also pay to record wins. You can easily refer to your records to identify how to improve your project’s success further. Ideally, these reviews should be done as a team so as to have ideas from all members.

SOC 2 will only benefit your business if you approach it in the right manner. In turn, you can earn your client’s trust as well as fortify your business’ future. Consider the tips above for smooth project management.

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