A yearly audit is required to ensure compliance and get a renewal report, regardless of whether you’ve chosen to seek a SOC 2 Type I or Type II report.
This is where the bridge letter comes into the picture: The auditor of a service organization sends their customer’s auditor a SOC 2 bridge letter to let them know if there have been any changes to the control environment between the conclusion of the previous SOC 2 reporting period and the beginning of the current one. An independent auditor issues a SOC 2 report to certify a service organization’s controls over its systems and data, providing reassurance to stakeholders and clients. When there is a gap between reporting periods, a bridge letter is requested to communicate any noteworthy occurrences or modifications that may have affected the organization’s control environment. The letter may include information on system upgrades, security incidents, or changes to policies or processes. often included in the bridge letter.
What is a Bridge letter?
A bridge letter is a particular kind of communication that is intended to tell a third party about a certain circumstance or time period. A gap period report is often used when a third party needs to understand what occurred during a period not covered by a previous report, such as during an audit or other type of review.
For instance, in the context of a SOC 2 examination, a bridge letter may be used to cover the gap between the end of the previous SOC 2 reporting period and the start of the current SOC 2 reporting period. Any noteworthy occurrences or modifications that took place during the interim period that would have an influence on the efficiency of the controls or the accuracy of the data being processed or stored would be detailed in the bridge letter.
They are frequently utilized when a scenario has changed that would affect the reliability of a prior report or inspection. They serve to ensure that the third party has a thorough knowledge of the issue and to provide new information that was not included in the earlier report.
What are the other elements in the SOC 2 Bridge letter?
A SOC 2 bridge letter is basically a document that explains how a company transitions from one SOC 2 report period to another. The contents of the letter can vary depending on the company’s needs, but there are some typical things that might be included in the letter. These could be things like an overview of the controls the company had in place during the transition period, any changes that were made to those controls, and a description of the testing that was done to ensure the company was still meeting the SOC 2 requirements.
- Explanation of the transition period: The SOC 2 bridge letter explains the report period transition with a clear timeline.
- Overview of the controls: The bridge letter outlines controls during transition for security and compliance.
- Changes in controls: The bridge letter explains changes in controls and their impact on compliance.
- Description of testing: The bridge letter details the testing scope, methodology, and exceptions identified.
- Conclusion: The letter affirms commitment to SOC 2 controls and may mention upcoming changes.
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How long can a bridge letter be in use?
You might be wondering how long a bridge letter can span. The user of the report will ultimately determine the answer to this query. The goal of a bridge letter is to fill in the brief gap between the year-end of the user entity and the report’s end date.
In light of this, the majority of bridge letters usually cover a duration of no longer than three months. SOC audits are designed to be repeated at least once annually in order to give user entities ongoing protection. Instead of issuing a bridge letter for a period longer than three months, service organizations may want to revisit the examination period with the service auditor if they discover that the report period for their SOC examination is not timely enough to meet the needs of their users.
Who issues the bridge letter?
Usually, the auditor of the service company sends the auditor of the client a bridge letter. The service organization’s auditor generates the SOC 2 report, which provides an unbiased assessment of the controls. If there is a gap between the end of the previous SOC 2 reporting period and the start of the current SOC 2 reporting period, the customer’s auditor may request a bridge letter to fill the void.
The bridge letter’s objective is to notify the customer’s auditor of any noteworthy occurrences or modifications that could have taken place during the interim period that could have an influence on the efficiency of the controls or the accuracy of the data being processed or stored. The auditor of the service organization is in the best position to offer this information since they have access to the records and data needed to evaluate the controls of the service organization.
Benefits of obtaining a SOC-2 bridge:
Obtaining a SOC-2 bridge letter offers several benefits. Firstly, it fills the gap between the end of the previous SOC 2 reporting period and the start of the current SOC 2 reporting period, providing the customer’s auditor with necessary information about any changes that may have occurred during that period. Secondly, it demonstrates the service organization’s commitment to transparency and openness, enhancing the trust and confidence of its customers and stakeholders. Lastly, it can help the service organization identify any gaps or weaknesses in its controls and take remedial measures to strengthen them, improving the overall quality of its services.
Are SOC 2 bridge letters included in the SOC 2 report?
No, the SOC 2 report does not include the SOC 2 bridge letters. To fill the space between the conclusion of the earlier SOC 2 report and the beginning of the present SOC 2 report, they are distinct documents delivered to the customer’s auditor.
When is a SOC 2 bridge letter required?
When there is a gap between the end of the previous SOC 2 reporting period and the start of the current SOC 2 reporting period, a SOC 2 bridge letter becomes necessary. In a bridge letter, the customer’s auditor may request an explanation of any events or modifications that occurred during the interim period that could affect the effectiveness of the controls or the reliability of the processed or stored data.
What is the purpose of a SOC 2 bridge letter?
A SOC 2 bridge letter must be sent to the customer’s auditor if any major occurrences or adjustments were made during the interim period that could have an impact on the efficacy of the controls or the accuracy of the data being processed or stored.
What distinguishes a SOC 2 report from a SOC 2 bridging letter?
A SOC 2 bridge letter is a succinct report that offers details on things that happened or changed between SOC 2 reports. A SOC 2 report, in contrast, offers a thorough evaluation of the service organization’s controls over a defined time frame.
Are there any specific requirements for SOC 2 bridge letters?
The SOC 2 bridge letters don’t have any particular criteria. However, it is crucial that they offer precise and comprehensive details about any incidents or adjustments that took place during the interim period.
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