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New Metrics for a New Round of SOC Reviews

By Matt Jolley | Monday, October 1, 2018 - Leave a Comment

Just in time for the next round of SOC reviews, we’ve reviewed and updated our metrics…


Well it’s that time of year again: the days are growing shorter, the leaves are changing color and your compliance officer is gathering up SOC reports for this year’s round of reviews!

Here at infotex we’ve long maintained a spreadsheet containing the key information from SOC reviews–number of expected controls, missing controls, number of exceptions and so on–but as the years have gone by our review process has been refined and we discovered that our most recent scores were diverging slightly from reports completed many years ago.

As the resident “SOC Guru,” the task of creating a new table of metrics fell upon me, and after several hours of collecting and sorting the data from the last three rounds of reviews I’m proud to offer a look at the metrics we’ll be using when comparing reviews starting this year.

On average, our “Overall Risk” metric (a combination of the risk level we’ve assigned to missing controls and noted exceptions) for reviews conducted since 2016 is 131.90. That number doesn’t mean much by itself, but in the context of the report we prepare for clients the overall risk metric allows you to compare your vendors with others we have reviewed recently. How does your core processor’s risk compare to other such vendors we’ve reviewed? The overall risk score will give you a general idea.

To see what we mean, we’ve made available a version of our metrics spreadsheet (with vendor names replaced with a generic description) available for free, and it is located here.

For those who don’t feel like browsing through a spreadsheet at the moment, here’s a few takeaways from our latest metrics review: the three organizations with the lowest risk were a datacenter for cloud computing and two other datacenters, coming in with overall risk metric numbers around 80. On the other end of the spectrum, our highest overall risk was found in a datacenter, a credit/debit card processor and a mortgage processor–their overall risk was around 180.

We think the data shows that the type of vendor has little to do with the overall risk: there isn’t one type of organization you can assume to be “safe” or “unsafe.” We can also say that there also isn’t a clear correlation between the size and clout an organization may have and the risk they may present to your company–some big names in the industry posted great scores, and others were considerably worse. You can use our metrics to compare your relative risk once you receive a score, but you can’t use them as a guide for a vendor that has yet to be reviewed.


Article by Matt Jolley, Staff Auditor at infotex.


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