Step 1: Set Vendor Review Goals

Start by outlining your goals for the vendor review, with a focus on SOC compliance and safeguarding data privacy. Pinpoint the specific SOC standards and requirements your vendors need to meet, reflecting your company’s specific needs and legal responsibilities.

Step 2: Identify Critical Vendors

Catalog all external vendors who interact with your company’s systems, data, or confidential info. Make sure to include every relevant vendor in the review to cover all aspects of data privacy.

Step 3: Gather Vendor Documents

Reach out to each vendor for the required documents that will help assess their SOC compliance. This includes their SOC and audit reports, security and data management policies, and privacy practices.

Step 4: Evaluate Vendor Policies and Documentation

Carefully examine the materials each vendor provides, with a keen eye on their SOC reports for control objectives, activities, and any flagged issues or exceptions. Also, ensure their privacy policy is in line with your data protection and compliance standards.

Step 5: Perform a Risk Analysis

Evaluate the risk each vendor poses, considering the services they provide, data access levels, SOC compliance risks, and their dedication to privacy as stated in their policy.

Step 6: Identify and Address Compliance Shortcomings

Spot any compliance or privacy shortcomings in your vendors’ practices. Work together with vendors to rectify these gaps, ensuring they meet your organization’s requirements. Pay extra attention to any mismatches between their actual practices and their privacy statements.

Step 7: Foster Vendor Relationships with a Focus on Privacy

Keep communication with vendors clear and ongoing. Build a cooperative relationship to swiftly deal with compliance and privacy issues, ensuring they understand and comply with your data privacy needs.

Step 8: Maintain Continuous Monitoring for Compliance

Set up a system for regular checks on vendor adherence to SOC and privacy standards. This includes routine reassessments, risk re-evaluations, and updates on documentation and privacy policies.

Step 9: Document the Review Process, Highlighting Privacy

Keep comprehensive records of the entire review process, from communications to assessments and any corrective steps taken. This documentation is crucial for proving compliance to auditors, with a strong emphasis on privacy.

Step 10: Pursue Ongoing Process Enhancement

Use insights from each review to refine your process, staying ahead of evolving SOC standards, privacy threats, and changes in vendor policies. This ensures a seamless integration of compliance and privacy considerations.

By adhering to these steps, businesses can conduct thorough vendor reviews for SOC compliance, ensuring their third-party vendors adhere to required security and privacy standards, with a continual emphasis on data privacy throughout the review process.

author avatar
Ken Cox