A need for international certifications
Vladimir Makarenko, Accace’s Project Manager, resides in Russia and recognized the many benefits of earning a globally recognized SOC 1, Type 2 certification. Accace, a full-range BPO and advisory provider located in Europe, South Africa and the U.S., had several clients request that the company complete a SOC 1 certification in order to continue doing business. Vladimir works in a highly competitive market and couldn’t risk losing business deals due to a missing compliance certification or lack of customer trust in their security posture.
Although the world was in the middle of a pandemic, Vladimir knew proving SOC 1 compliance was necessary to continue doing business with their top-tier clients. “I wanted to demonstrate that we built our business upon proven processes and procedures,” said Vladimir. “Accace responsibly approaches the needs of our clients, big or small, and it’s important to build client trust in our business. Cybersecurity certifications are rather rare in Russia so we knew the assessment would speak volumes to our commitment. I was aware that a pandemic may complicate the audit process, and that it would need to be conducted remotely, but we were up for the challenge and under a tight deadline.”
Although we had slight experience working remotely, this was on a different level. A-SCEND, A-LIGN’s compliance management platform, really helped to make this audit successful.”
Vladimir MakarenkoAccace’s Project Manager
Searching for the first auditing firm
Accace began looking for an auditing firm with both a great reputation and global experience. The company needed a partner who could quickly complete a SOC 1, Type 2 assessment under a tight deadline and who also understood Russian business practices. “Headquarters had provided me with paperwork stating I needed to build out the required policies and procedures necessary to complete a SOC 1,” said Vladimir. “I needed a partner to help me complete my new assignment and therefore, tapped into my professional network for recommendations. One name that kept coming up over and over again, was A-LIGN.”
Vladimir reached out to A-LIGN and was put in contact with Huw Pegler, A-LIGN’s VP of EMEA Sales. A-LIGN has a great deal of experience with European audits and their pricing was competitive for the market. “What really tipped the scales in A-LIGN’s favor was Huw’s knowledge, guidance and honesty,” said Vladimir. “His personal approach to business and auditing made all of the difference and I immediately felt comfortable and confident in my decision to choose A-LIGN as our auditing partner.”
Earning a SOC 1, Type 2 Report
As soon as Accace partnered with A-LIGN, they immediately kicked off the SOC 1 examination process. “The COVID-19 Pandemic added an additional layer of complexity to our audit,” said Vladimir. “We had employees working from home in three distinct geographical locations, hundreds of kilometers apart. Although we had slight experience working remotely, this was on a different level. A‑SCEND, A-LIGN’s compliance management platform, really helped to make this audit successful.”
A-SCEND allows organizations to conduct audits more easily and creates a strategic compliance model that will minimize the expenditures of conducting multiple audits and lower the operational expenses of lost productivity. With Vladimir’s project management skillset, and A-SCEND’s organizational ability, Accace earned their SOC 1 report on time, despite the tight deadline and pandemic challenges.
“Earning our first cybersecurity certification was organized, efficient and a big win for Accace,” said Vladimir. “We are already leveraging our SOC 1 with new and existing clients and it has tremendously helped our business.”
Creating lasting cultural change
Completing Accace’s first cybersecurity certification drove the company to make a cultural change and put security top of mind. Although cybersecurity certifications are not common in Russia, Accace conducts business globally and with Vladimir’s lead, plans to begin additional assessments.
“As of now, I plan to pursue other cybersecurity assessments next year and renew our SOC 1, Type 2 audit,” said Vladimir. “We walked away from our first audit with a 16-point program to improve our cybersecurity compliance. By this time next year, I will have put more streamlined policies and procedures in place in an effort to continually better the company.”
Accace walked away from the audit with useful insights into business processes and learned how to improve third-party vendor practices. “I found a great partner in A-LIGN and will use the firm for future audits,” said Vladimir.
To learn more about how A-LIGN can help your organization through a variety of cybersecurity compliance assessments and audits, please visit www.a-lign.com/services or complete this form and an A-LIGN expert will reach out to you within 24 hours.
Originally established in Europe, Accace ranks among the leading outsourcing and consultancy providers in the region. Accace has vast experience with handling small to large scale, multi-country outsourcing projects and providing a comprehensive range of services to 2,000+ customers. Accace operates internationally as Accace Circle, a co-created business community of like-minded BPO providers and advisors who deliver outstanding services with elevated customer experience. Please visit accace.com for more information.