Auditing Basics: What is Scope?

by Joseph Kirkpatrick / May 24th, 2019

What is Scope of Audit and How Does it Impact an Audit?

Knowing where your assets reside is critical for any organization. Why? Because knowing where your assets reside and which controls apply to them is the only way you can manage and secure them from a potential data breach or security incident. During the initial phases of a SOC 1 or SOC 2 audit, an auditor will walk you through defining the scope of your audit. But what exactly does that entail? The scope of your audit sets boundaries for the assessment. It requires organizations to identify the people, locations, policies and procedures, and technologies that interact with, or could otherwise impact, the security of the information being protected.


How Do You Define the Scope of a SOC 1 or SOC 2 Audit?

When an organization partners with their auditor to define the scope of their SOC 1 or SOC 2 audit, they’ll typically answer questions, such as:

  • Which locations are involved?
  • Do you have any third parties? What services do they provide?
  • How many business applications and technology platforms are involved?
  • Which systems are involved?
  • What people are responsible?
  • Which processes focus on internal control over financial reporting?

Can Your Scope be Too Broad or Too Narrow?

The scope of an audit can greatly impact the overall effectiveness of the audit. If the scope is too broad, an auditor could miss critical items during the assessment. If the scope is too narrow, an auditor might not be able to perform an accurate assessment or give an accurate opinion of an organization’s controls because some may have been left out. This is why partnering with an expert, senior-level Information Security Specialist, like those at KirkpatrickPrice, is so critical. If you want to get the most out of your investment in a SOC 1 or SOC 2 audit, effective scoping is key.

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One of the very first things that you will do as part of your audit is work with your auditor on the definition of scope. You’ll go through a scoping process with us where we identify the policies and procedures, the people, and the locations. For example, is there application development that’s in scope? Where are those developers located? Where do they do their work? What cloud applications are involved in this? What part of that is or isn’t in scope? What IT resources are in scope? Are there parts of the network that should be included or excluded from the audit? We’ll go through that and define it because it is a very important step, and we have to know what the boundaries of the system are so that we can collect evidence from the appropriate people, processes, and technologies. Contact us today and enjoy working with one of our expert Information Security Specialists who will guide you through the scoping process.