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When it is time to prepare for your first audit you might be filled with dread.  How are you going to get through the audit? Will your employees or IT team have enough time to devote to this important process? Who should take the lead when your team is already busy with the recent technology challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic?  It’s time to look for experts who can help set you up for success and help you through the often complex audit process. In today’s marketplace, it is not always easy to directly hire cybersecurity experts with the skills you need so many organizations look for Professional Services assistance during an audit.

Who should be helping me?

You should be looking for an experienced group of experts who know how to handle the audit you are about to undertake. Make sure they are versed with the software you are using and understand how to use it to make the process as efficient as possible. Choose a team that has experience working with auditors directly so they can either advise you who to select as your audit partner or help assess the auditors that you have shortlisted.

[Read more: How to run a successful data security program]

Why do you need help?

There are many reasons why bringing in experts to help your organization makes sense but here are the top 5 reasons why you should get extra professional help:

  1. Incremental support
    When your IT team is already busy with their regular responsibilities it can seem overwhelming to attempt an audit.  By bringing in a Professional Services team you can speed up the audit process by engaging professionals who can get up to speed quickly, assist your team or even drive the audit process for you.  They will provide additional bandwidth to write policies and procedures, configure recurring tasks and complete assessments.  This helps reduce the distractions to your core business.
  2. Resources that understand the platform you are using and the Ostendio MyVCM approach.
    Ostendio has developed a tried and trusted approach to preparing for and passing an audit.  By using a team of professionals who understand the platform you are using and specifically how to optimize it for a complex audit, you will save time and money.  The Ostendio MyVCM platform has helped hundreds of customers with their security and risk management requirements including audits to popular standards such as SOC2 and HITRUST.  By using the Ostendio MyVCM platform and engaging with the Ostendio Professional Services team you will be able to get a jump start on your audit.  They will easily explain to your team the best way to move forward with the audit process and help them through every step of the process.
  3. Experts who understand multiple security frameworks
    It is becoming more common for companies to undertake audits to more than one security framework. Afterall, if you have done all the work to comply with SOC2, for example, you can use software, like the Ostendio MyVCM platform, to map that same evidence and documentation to other frameworks such as HITRUST.  By using a Professional Services team they will be able to show you which frameworks are most relevant to your business, and how much extra work is involved in order to handle multiple frameworks.  Choose a Professional Services team that has expertise in multiple areas and has experience dealing with multiple frameworks so they understand the intricacies of the framework you select.
  4. Experts who have relationships with audit partners and experience working with them
    Good relationships, understanding and teamwork are essential when undergoing a complex audit.  Select a Professional Services team that understands why relationships matter. Find a team that has worked successfully with multiple audit firms and can help you with your selection process. By working closely with your auditors to understand what challenges lie ahead you will be able to smoothly move through the audit process.  Note, even although the audit criteria might be the same every auditor approaches it in their own unique way.  In may cases we have already incorporated our audit partners proprietary templates into Ostendio MyVCM and are already familiar with them.
  5. Audits are not one and done
    While it may be tempting to draw a huge sigh of relief once the audit is over, this is actually where the real work starts.  Most audits like HITRUST and SOC2 require you to collect on-going evidence to maintain certification.  Ostendio’s Professional Services resources will work with you to ensure you are collecting this evidence as part of your core process so that when you are ready to conduct your next audit it is a much easier lift than the first time.

Ostendio uses a proprietary 5 stage framework, based on leading Industry Standards and Best Practices, to guide organizations through developing and implementing a robust and comprehensive cybersecurity and risk management process. Clients completing the process have a broad framework to manage their information security and risk and will be ready for a risk assessment or audit by a client or regulator. Ostendio experts can take you through the entire process or through individual stages.

Ostendio has over 7 years of experience helping organizations with their security and risk management programs. The Ostendio MyVCM platform helps organizations build, operate and showcase their compliance programs. Engaging the experts in our Professional Services team can provide additional assistance to companies who require help establishing a program or switching to a new framework. If you are considering an audit such as SOC2, HITRUST, FedRAMP or others, speak to Ostendio for Professional Services support and learn more about how the Ostendio MyVCM platform can help your business. 

Michelle Moreno,
Post by Michelle Moreno,
August 27, 2020