The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), a not-for-profit organization that promotes the use of best practices on security assurance within cloud computing, has officially endorsed the American Institute of CPA’s framework for evaluating technology-related controls and other safeguards used by cloud service providers.

 The AICPA’s reporting framework, known as Service Organization Control (SOC) Reports was developed in 2011 and consists of three major document types. The first – the SOC 1 report - deals with controls over financial reporting, and replaces the widely used SAS 70 report. The SOC 2 report,focuses on controls that bear on a service provider’s security, processing integrity and operating availability, as well as the confidentiality and privacy of data moving through its systems. SOC 3 is a compressed version of the SOC 2 and is designed for public distribution.

In a position paper released today, the CSA said that for most cloud providers a SOC 2 report “is likely to meet the assurance and reporting needs of the majority of users of cloud services, when the criteria for the engagement are supplemented by the criteria in the cloud controls matrix.”

The CSA’s position paper offers guidance to members on when a SOC 1 report is necessary, when a SOC 2 report is called for, and when both engagement types may be required.

“Technology-related compliance and operating integrity audits are becoming increasingly important as the adoption of cloud-based services become the norm for businesses,” said CSA executive director Jim Reavis. “The CSA Security Trust & Assurance Registry (STAR), serves as the standard for demonstrating transparent alignment with CSA security best practices and this paper is a major step forward in leveraging AICPA's popular reporting framework to consolidate attestation requirements and layer third party trust on top of CSA STAR.”

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