Earthlink Help Desk Scores SSAE 16 SOC 2 Certification

By Doug Barney

Accountants can probably explain SSAE 16 in their sleep. They probably also know its formal name, the Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements no. 16, and the fact this standard is promulgated by the Auditing Standards  Board (ASB), which they also know is part of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, an outfit professional number crunchers just call AICPA.

Earthlink is probably just as well versed in SSAE 16, having just won this certification for its managed help desk offering Earthlink TechCare.

SSAE is all about proper accounting at service organizations. So why does this matter? Often service providers do things that impact the finances of the customer. If the provider does processing of claims, services loans, handles payroll, or outsources ERP or other important, this can affect the finances of the services customers.

Having proper accounting controls on both sides of the fence is essential for good business, and staying inside the bounds of the law.

EarthLink got a somewhat different SSAE 16 certification called SOC 2. This is a report that revolves around non-financial controls, such as privacy and confidentiality, availability and security.

“For businesses with complex compliance and security needs like those in the retail, healthcare and financial sectors, this independent validation of TechCare reassures them that their employees will experience a consistent, high-quality service,” said Michael D. Toplisek, EarthLink’s executive vice president of sales and marketing.

SOC 2 is based on four Trust Service Principles: Communications, Policies, Procedures and Modeling, according to

“Each of the principles have defined criteria (controls) which must be met to demonstrate adherence to the principles and produce an unqualified opinion (no significant exceptions found during your audit). The great thing about the trust principles is that the criteria businesses must meet are predefined, making it easier for business owners to know what compliance needs are required and for users of the report to read and assess the adequacy,” the website explained.

Now Earthlink prospective and existing customers can turn to the SOC 2 report, which examines how TechCare operates in terms of procedures, systems and processes.

Edited by Alisen Downey

MSPToday Editor at Large

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