SSAE 18 Compliance Management Software

Manage SSAE 18 Compliance & Risk with ZenGRC

  • Tailor our GRC solution to your SSAE 18 compliance needs
  • Save time and hassle managing SSAE 18 compliance tasks and audits
  • Create a strong SSAE 18 compliance foundation to drive smarter, risk-informed decisions


SSAE 18 Compliance is Hassle-free with ZenGRC

Streamline your SSAE 18 compliance journey effortlessly with ZenGRC.

ZenGRC’s innovative platform simplifies complex compliance processes, ensuring your organization meets all SSAE 18 requirements with ease. ZenGRC’s user-friendly interface and comprehensive tools offer a seamless, efficient path to compliance, making it an ideal choice for businesses of all sizes. Experience hassle-free compliance management and safeguard your organization with ZenGRC’s robust features.

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ZenGRC: Your Trusted Partner for SSAE 18 Compliance Management

Meeting SSAE 18 standards or achieving certification for a SOC standard requires considerable investment in time and financial resources, particularly for an organization still using legacy tools or spreadsheets to achieve and maintain compliance workflows.

At RiskOptics, our Risk Insiders can help you prepare your organization to meet SSAE 18 compliance standards and SOC certification program, expedite the process, and minimize the burden on your team.

ZenGRC is an efficient solution to continuous compliance. Businesses don’t have to worry about their compliance and cybersecurity stance because ZenGRC monitors it over the entire lifecycle and keeps up with the latest data protection regulations and requirements.

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Industry-Specific SSAE 18 Compliance Considerations

  • Healthcare Sector:
    In the healthcare industry, SSAE 18 compliance is critical for ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive health information. Service providers must rigorously adhere to HIPAA and HITECH standards, incorporating robust security measures to protect patient data. This includes implementing advanced encryption, regular audits, and maintaining strict access controls. Furthermore, healthcare organizations must ensure that their service providers are also compliant, necessitating regular SSAE 18 assessments to safeguard patient privacy and data security.
  • Financial Institutions:
    Financial institutions face unique challenges in SSAE 18 compliance due to the highly sensitive nature of financial data and stringent regulatory requirements. These organizations must ensure that their service providers have strong controls in place for financial reporting, fraud prevention, and data security. Key considerations include robust encryption protocols, meticulous record-keeping, and comprehensive risk management strategies. Compliance with SSAE 18 in the financial sector also demands a focus on continuous monitoring and evaluation of controls to address the dynamic nature of financial risks and regulations.
  • Technology and SaaS Companies:
    For technology and SaaS companies, SSAE 18 compliance is crucial for building trust and credibility with customers. These companies must demonstrate rigorous data security and privacy measures, including secure data storage, effective incident response plans, and regular vulnerability assessments. With the constant evolution of technology and threats, SaaS providers need to maintain a proactive approach to security, regularly updating and testing their controls. Additionally, ensuring the reliability and availability of services is a critical component of SSAE 18 compliance for these companies, requiring robust disaster recovery and business continuity plans.

Pre-Made Templates

When selecting SSAE 18 compliance software, look for options offering pre-made templates. These templates can significantly reduce the time and effort required to create compliance documents from scratch. They provide a structured framework that businesses can customize to meet their specific needs, ensuring that all critical aspects of SSAE 18 are covered.

Real-time Metrics

Choose software that provides real-time metrics and dashboards for SSAE 18 audits. This feature allows businesses to monitor their compliance status continuously, track progress, and identify areas that require attention. Real-time metrics enable quick decision-making and ensure that businesses are always audit-ready.

Documentation Repository

SSAE 18 compliance software should offer a secure repository for storing all compliance-related documentation. This centralized storage solution should allow for easy access, organization, and management of documents. It ensures that all necessary information is readily available for audits and compliance checks, streamlining the compliance process.

SSAE 18 Compliance Checklist


Once you’ve enlisted the right CPA to guide your organization, the following checklist can help you get started preparing to meet SSAE 18 standards as well as SOC reporting


Define the scope of your SOC audit.


Review the physical location being audited.


Define the number of additional locations that will be audited.


Determine the audit testing period.


Specify the workforce members who need to be involved during the audit process.


Define the sub-service organizations that need to be reviewed as part of the audit.


Review data centers, cloud service providers, and SaaS platforms.


Set your control objectives.


Define the internal controls that require review.


Determine the steps necessary for testing.


Define the process owners who need to be involved.


Establish an internal stakeholder who needs to review and respond to the draft report.


Define the stakeholders who must approve the final report.

To learn more about how to prepare for and meet SSAE 18 compliance requirements view our comprehensive guide.

How ZenGRC Simplifies SSAE 18 Compliance


Automation to Streamline SSAE 18 Compliance Workflows:

ZenGRC’s automation capabilities significantly simplify the SSAE 18 compliance process. Tasks such as data collection, control testing, and status updates are automated to reduce the likelihood of human error saving valuable time. Focus on more critical aspects of compliance, such as strategy and risk management, by efficiently managing routine tasks and ensuring that all compliance activities are completed on schedule.


Documentation Management for SSAE 18 Reporting:

ZenGRC provides a centralized platform for managing all SSAE 18 documentation. This includes storing, organizing, and tracking all relevant documents such as policies, procedures, audit reports, and evidence of controls. The platform’s robust documentation capabilities ensure that businesses have easy access to necessary information during audits, reducing the complexity and stress associated with SSAE 18 reporting.


SSAE 18 Insights and Monitoring:

The ZenGRC platform offers comprehensive insights and continuous monitoring features to help businesses stay on top of their SSAE 18 compliance status. It provides real-time visibility into the effectiveness of controls, identifies areas of non-compliance, and offers actionable insights for improvement. This ongoing monitoring and analysis ensures businesses remain compliant and can quickly address any issues that arise.

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FAQs for SSAE 18 Compliance

What is the purpose of SSAE 18 compliance?

The Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 18 (SSAE 18) is an auditing standard established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Auditing Standards Board. This standard governs the way organizations perform audits on various internal systems and controls.

SSAE 18, previously referred to as SSAE 16 or SAS 70 reports, guides how an audit is performed for Service Organization Controls or System and Organization Controls (SOC) reports. SOC reports are broken down into three versions.

  •   SOC 1 reports address an organization’s internal controls around financial reporting;
  •   SOC 2 reports address internal controls over data security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy; and
  •   SOC 3 reports are a slimmed-down version of SOC 2 reports and are meant for a service business to circulate publicly to potential customers.

SSAE 18 incorporated enhancements to the SOC 1 reporting protocols which better align it to the risk assessment requirements of SOC 2 reports.

Additionally, to increase the value and quality of SOC 1 reports, SSAE 18 requires service organizations to identify all sub-service organizations and understand complementary sub-service organization controls. This includes the vendor management process that service organizations should have in place to incorporate data centers, cloud infrastructures, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms, and other vendors.

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What are the requirements for SSAE 18?

  • Written Assertion by Management: The service organization‘s management must provide a written assertion that states the fairness and suitability of the controls in place, including the description of the system and its effectiveness during the audit period.
  • Risk Assessment: SSAE 18 requires organizations to assess and document risks that could affect the achievement of control objectives. This involves identifying potential threats to the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of client data.
  • Control Objectives and Activities: Organizations must define and document specific control objectives and activities. This includes detailing how these controls operate and how they are maintained over time.
  • Subservice Organization Controls: If a service organization uses subservice providers (subcontractors), it needs to consider the impact of those subservice organizations‘ controls on its own control environment.
  • Monitoring of Controls: Regular monitoring of the controls is required to ensure they are effective and continue to meet the necessary standards. This often includes ongoing and periodic assessments.
  • Detailed Descriptions of Systems: Organizations need to provide a detailed description of the system or services covered by the audit. This description should include information about the infrastructure, software, people, data, and procedures involved in the service delivery.
  • Complementary User Entity Controls (CUECs): These are controls that the user organization (client) should implement to ensure the service organization’s controls achieve their objectives.
  • Incident Management: SSAE 18 requires organizations to have a process for identifying, responding to, and managing incidents that could impact their control environment or service delivery.
  • Use of Criteria: The audit must be conducted using suitable criteria, typically based on established frameworks like COSO for internal control or the Trust Services Criteria for security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.
  • Disclosure of Known Issues: Any known issues that could impact the effectiveness of the control environment must be disclosed in the report.

It’s important for organizations to work closely with auditors to ensure they fully understand and meet these requirements, which can vary based on the specific type of SOC report being prepared (e.g., SOC 1, SOC 2, or SOC 3).

SSAE 18 Compliance vs. SOC Compliance: What's the Difference?

SSAE 18 (Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 18) and SOC (Service Organization Control) compliance are closely related, but they serve different roles in the auditing and compliance landscape. Understanding the distinction between the two is important for organizations seeking to manage their audit requirements effectively.

  1. SSAE 18 Compliance:
  1. Definition: SSAE 18 is an auditing standard developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It provides guidelines on how service auditors should conduct audits of service organizations.
  2. Purpose: The main goal of SSAE 18 is to standardize the process for auditors when they are assessing the internal controls of a service organization, particularly those controls related to financial reporting.
  3. Scope: SSAE 18 applies to the auditing process itself. It outlines how an audit should be performed, including aspects like the auditor’s responsibilities, the format of the auditor’s report, and criteria for assessing the effectiveness of a service organization‘s controls.

SOC Compliance:

  • Definition: SOC reports are the outcome of audits conducted based on the SSAE 18 standards. There are different types of SOC reports (SOC 1, SOC 2, SOC 3), each designed for different purposes and audiences.
  • Purpose: SOC compliance involves adhering to the specific controls and criteria relevant to the SOC report in question. For example, SOC 1 focuses on financial reporting controls, SOC 2 on trust services criteria (security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy), and SOC 3 provides a general overview suitable for public distribution.
  • Scope: SOC compliance is about the implementation and effectiveness of the controls within a service organization. It involves the service organization‘s internal processes and systems and how they meet the criteria set forth in the relevant SOC report.

SSAE 18 is the standard for how to conduct a service organization control audit, while SOC compliance refers to a service organization meeting the criteria specified in a particular type of SOC report. SSAE 18 compliance is about following proper auditing procedures, whereas SOC compliance is about having and maintaining the internal controls that meet the requirements of the respective SOC report. There are several types of SOC report such as type 1 and type 2 all concerned with protecting sensitive information through security controls.

Is SSAE required by law?

Not specifically. But any organization legally obligated to submit a System and Organization Controls (SOC) Report — such as a service provider signing a contract with a lucrative customer, where passing a SOC audit is one of the terms — must issue it under the SSAE-18 standard.

What is an SSAE 18 report?

An SSAE 18 report is actually considered a SOC report. Service organizations that are legally required to submit a SOC report must issue it under the SSAE-18 standard.

What is the difference between SSAE 18 SSAE 16?

SSAE 16 was the previous version of the standard. It was updated in 2017 to SSAE 18.

ZenGRC Success Stories

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