Data centers today play a key role in helping many business – both small and large – serve their own customers as well as their own internal needs, a trend that’s likely to continue to grow significantly within the next decade. When it comes to auditing and compliance, many data centers focus primarily on the SOC 2 while giving less thought and attention to the SSAE 16. And that’s a mistake. In fact, the SSAE 16 and the information is provides is critical to your business for several reasons, and understanding how the SSAE 16 influences your business’ success is crucial. If you’re not clear how and why the SSAE impacts your business – or the role it plays in the way your clients perceive you – here are five key benefits of the SSAE 16 you need to consider:

1. It helps you build trust. One of the primary benefits of obtaining an SSAE 16 audit report is to help current and potential clients perceive your business as one which is dedicated to their needs. SSAE 16 audits are considered an industry standard for most businesses, and there’s a good reason: They’re comprehensive, providing the data and information most businesses need for financial review and compliance. By offering SSAE audit information to your clients, you clearly demonstrate you’re committed to their needs while also providing them with the peace of mind that comes from knowing their vendor is secure.

2. It identifies “weak spots” or areas in need of improvement. As your business grows, expands its capabilities, builds its clientele or takes on new projects, your own systems and processes can change – sometimes dramatically – leaving you with issues you may not even be aware of. An SSAE 16 audit can provide you with critical information about your own business and the systems and processes you use so you can identify weak areas that need improvement. Even more critically, an SSAE 16 audit performed preemptively can help you identify areas where you may be falling behind in compliance, helping your business avoid fines or other sanctions that could take a toll on your productivity or worse still, your reputation. And because the audit is performed independently, you can feel confident the information you receive will provide an objective view of your operation free of internal influences or biases that can skew your results and influence your decision-making processes.

3. It helps you establish goals for the future: Just as an SSAE 16 audit can help you identify areas in need of improvement, it can also help you set goals for growth and development. Because of its comprehensive and even exhaustive nature, an SSAE 16 audit can be an important tool in helping you set both short-term and long-term goals backed up by reliable data that can even help you secure financing necessary for expansion and growth. And of course, it also provides important information for your investors and board members.

4. It reduces the need for multiple audits: The second “S” in SSAE stands for “standards,” and while that may refer to the purpose of the audit and its overall intent, it could just as well refer to the end result – the report that’s issued once the audit is completed. An SSAE 16 final report is issued in a form and format that can be used by multiple departments for multiple purposes, which means you may be able to eliminate individual audits for separate branches of your business or organization. As part of the management team, you know too well how time-consuming an audit can be, and the toll it can take on a business’ resources and productivity. Because an SSAE 16 has industry-wide acceptance, having one performed at your facility is akin to “killing two birds (or more) with one stone” – or in kinder terms, satisfying multiple audit needs with one audit, so you can save time and resources while reducing the anxiety and frustration that can occur when multiple audits need to be performed.

5. And perhaps most importantly, it’s more useful to your clients. While you may believe the SOC2 is more applicable to the activities of a data center, the fact is, while it provides important information about your center, it’s just one part of the SSAE 16, focusing on the trust services principles as set forth by the AICPA. Clients of all sizes continue to rely on – and demand – complete SSAE 16 audit information for their own needs, which means if you want to remain viable, valuable and even relevant to current and future clients, you need to be ready to provide SSAE 16 audit data. And once again, by offering SSAE 16 audit data preemptively – that is, before your client even asks – your data center clearly demonstrates a deep commitment to the needs of their clients. And that’s the kind of goodwill effort that can set your business apart your competitors.

Of course, the key to enjoying all these benefits is to ensure the audit process is as robust and complete as possible, and that means having the assurance your internal audit team has the skills and expertise to perform your audit seamlessly and without interruption to your own business. At I.S. Partners, our highly-skilled team of auditors includes industry experts who understand your needs and risk exposures as well as the needs of your end clients. We specialize in performing audits that are complete, comprehensive and yes, hassle-free, so you can get the audit results you need without missing a beat in your day-to-day operations. To learn more about I.S. Partners, give us a call today at 215-675-1400 or use our online contact form and we’ll be in touch.

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