What is a SAS 70 Level 1 audit, and how does it differ from a Level 2 audit? Why is each one necessary?
The big difference between a Level 1 and Level 2 SAS 70 audit involves proving what you've done. An auditor doing a Level 1 audit is focused on whether the controls exist, rather than when they are enforced. There is a big difference.
It is true that some organizations use a Level 1 audit as a quick-and-dirty assessment to figure out how much work needs to be done for a Level 2 audit.
On the other hand, a Level 2 audit is the real deal. The auditor comes in and assesses the operational effectiveness of the controls over a period of time. That's why it usually takes 6-12 months to get a Level 2 SAS 70 certification.
So if a Level 1 audit doesn't prove much, why do you need it? To be candid, it's pretty much a marketing tool. A lot of people associate some level of security with SAS 70, and most don't know the difference between the levels of audit. When a corporation says they're "SAS 70 certified," they're hoping for two things: that customers understand what a SAS 70 certification is, but are unaware of the two different levels.
To be clear, SAS 70 is more about controls than security. I don't believe that a SAS 70 audit replaces the need for a penetration test, which will really exercise your security systems' effectiveness against attacks.
For more information:
Related Q&A from Mike Rothman, Contributor
In the world of security certifications, what is the GISP and how alike is it to the CISSP? In this security management expert response, learn about ...continue reading
Depending on your enterprise, it may or may not be necessary to utilize a QSA. In this security management expert response, learn how to determine ...continue reading
When developing software securely, what role does gap analysis play? In this security management expert response, learn how to implement gap analysis...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.