SOC 2: Security standards for businesses and organizations

One of the key aspects of any business is the
protection of its customers' data. Therefore, companies must
comply with
system checks and deffilling (SOC 2) to
ensure their organization follows security best practices of
their data.

But what is SOC 2 compliance and how can you be?
confident that you are doing what is necessary to achieve S complianceOC 2
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In this article we will detail SOC 2 compliance and will
break down a checklist of actions you can follow to
achieve and maintain compliance.
Protect your data while maintaining calm your.

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What is SOC 2 compliance


SOC 2 Compliance Standards:

  • It includes security, availability, confidentiality, processing integrity and privacy.
  • They are not mandatory, but are often required by clients for liability reasons.
  • Annual audits are required to maintain compliance status.

SOC 2 compliance is a set of security and protection standards for service providers. This reporting platform is designated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants). Although SOC 2 compliance is not mandatory, customers often require it from the organizations they work with, especially for cloud-based services, to ensure their data is protected.

To meet compliance standards, companies must establish specific processes and service controls related to the security, availability, confidentiality and processing integrity of their systems. These systems include the physical infrastructure and servers, people, processes and technology that make up the organization.

To ensure that these controls are adequate, independent third-party organizations conduct SOC 2 compliance audits. These audit reports assess whether audited service providers have designed and implemented effective processes that meet SOC 2 objectives.

Organizations that successfully pass a SOC 2 audit can use this compliance designation to demonstrate their commitment to security and protection to their customers and stakeholders.

Why SOC 2 compliance is important

SOC 2 compliance is vital for any organization that wants to ensure the security and confidentiality of its data. By complying with SOC 2 standards as well, companies and businesses can demonstrate their commitment to the security and privacy of their data. Achieving compliance can also help them avoid legal liability and fines. This method, in turn, creates trust with customers and partners and helps secure the company's reputation.

Who needs SOC 2 compliance?

Any organization that collects, stores or processes sensitive customer information must comply with the SOC 2 standard. This includes businesses and sectors in the financial sector, healthcare and even education. While the process can be costly and time-consuming, it can also help organizations gain new customers and increase trust with existing ones.

SOC 2 Trust Service Criteria (TSC)

When it comes to data security, SOC 2 Trust Services Criteria (TSC) is one of the most critical standards. These standards cover everything from physical security to data encryption. There are five main categories in the TSC, which are listed below:

Safety

Security is defined as the protection of databases and systems from unauthorized access. Organizations can achieve this by using elements and strategies such as firewalls and two-factor authentication. These elements make it difficult for unauthorized people to access your data.

CC1: Control environment

CC1 controls are the foundation for cybersecurity ethics and data integrity in your organization. This audit determines how you have structured your company and board of directors. It also covers HR issues such as recruitment and training processes.

CC2: Communication and information

The CC2 controls help you understand your responsibility for data collection and describe how you can share it internally and externally. Additionally, this control ensures that ignorance cannot be used as an excuse for not investigating a control violation.

CC3: Risk assessment

CC3 controls focus on financial risks, but various modern technology companies focus on applying these controls to technical risks.

CC4: Monitoring activities

CC4 checks focus on how you will check that you are following the sequence of regulations. This section includes deciding how often to conduct audits and how to report the result to the company.

CC5: Control activities

CC5 controls deal with compliance activities. These initiatives take place within the context of the technology environment you develop and the policies and procedures you adopt. Therefore, a key element of CC5 audits is to ensure that your policies are properly configured and that everyone in the organization is aware of them.

CC6: Logical and physical access controls

CC6 controls are a critical part of TSC. This is where your policies and procedures meet the actual security measures of your architecture. In this section you must discuss data access, handling and disposal and prevention of cyber security threats.

CC7: Systems Operations

CC7 controls lay the foundation of your security incident architecture. This section involves deciding on the tools you need to detect vulnerabilities and anomalies.

CC8: Change Management

The CC8 control is a single control that deals with changes. Establishes an approval hierarchy for important elements of the control environment, such as policies, procedures, or technologies.

CC9: Mitigation of risks 

CC9 controls prevent hazards. These controls advise what to do in terms of risk management.

Availability

Besides security, another category in TSC is availability. The principle of availability requires that system functions and services are available for authorized use as defined by the customer or business partner.

To meet this criterion, organizations must have a written policy that includes measures to prevent, detect, and correct interruptions in service availability. In addition, the policy should address system maintenance, capacity planning, incident response, and business continuity.

Process integrity

Next is the category of procedural integrity. This principle states that all business systems and controls must protect the confidentiality, privacy and security of information processing. To meet this principle, organizations must have security controls in place to protect data from unauthorized access and ensure that companies process data consistently and accurately.

Confidentiality

The principle of confidentiality requires organizations to design and implement controls to ensure the confidentiality of sensitive information. This principle is critical to SOC 2 compliance as it helps ensure that only authorized users have access to sensitive data.

Companies must carefully control physical and logical access to their systems to meet this criterion. They must also implement mechanisms to prevent, detect and respond to attempts to breach data confidentiality.

Privacy

Finally, the principle of protecting your privacy requires businesses to take steps to protect customer information and prevent data breaches. To comply with the privacy principle, organizations must implement physical, technical and administrative safeguards to protect data from unauthorized access. They must also provide customers with clear and concise details about their privacy rights and how the company will use their data.

SOC 2 checklist

SOC 2 Compliance Checklist:

  • Do a self-check.
  • Choose the criteria of the services you trust.
  • Review your security controls and adjust them.
  • Take a final self-assessment.
  • Complete SOC 2 audit.

The SOC 2 compliance checklist includes several questions about organizational security, including how data is collected, processed and stored, how access to information is controlled, and how vulnerabilities are mitigated. Developing a directory is critical to the success of any company that needs to comply with SOC 2 standards.

While the steps outlined here are not an official checklist for SOC reports, these steps can help your organization earn a certification.

1. Prepare with self-control

Before doing a compliance check, you should do a self-check. This step will help you identify potential weaknesses in your controls so you can make the necessary changes. To self-audit, you'll need to go through each of the five trust service categories and check that your controls meet SOC 2 compliance requirements.

2. Select which of the trust services criteria you want to focus on checking

After doing a self-check, you should choose the TSC principles you want to focus your check on. You can emphasize all five criteria if it is within the budget. However, remember that each additional trust service authority increases the cost and scope of the audit.

3. Review security controls and adjust accordingly

Once you've chosen the criteria you want to focus on, it's time to take a close look at your security controls. In this area you will make the necessary changes to ensure your standards are up to date and documented to meet SOC 2 compliance requirements.

4. Perform a final self-assessment

Finally, it's time to do a final readiness assessment after updating your security controls. This section will help you verify that your changes are sufficient and that your company is ready for the actual compliance audit.

5. Complete a SOC 2 audit

The final step is to complete a SOC 2 audit. Again, an external partner will perform this part. Once the compliance audit is complete, you will receive a SOC report detailing the audit findings. If everything is in order, you can use the SOC 2 compliance seal on your website to show that your company takes the security and protection of its customers' data seriously.

6. Maintain compliance on an annual basis

Organizations achieving SOC 2 compliance are subject to annual maintenance. This means you need to regularly update your security controls and documentation and carry out annual self-assessments and audits. This way you can ensure that your company is always compliant and that you always protect customer data.

SOC 2 vs SOC 1: Determine if SOC 2 control is right for you

Auditors can conduct either a SOC 1 or SOC 2 compliance audit. You may need to pursue SOC 2 type 2 compliance if you store your customer data. But how does SOC 2 differ from SOC 1?

SOC 1

SOC 1 reports controls related to the user entity's internal control over financial reporting. A SOC 1 report can be either Type 1 or Type 2. A Type 1 report ensures that an organization has designed and put in place appropriate rules as of a specific date. A Type 2 report provides these assurances and includes an opinion on whether controls operated effectively throughout a period of time.

SOC 2

SOC 2 compliance is a voluntary certification that service organizations can use to demonstrate their commitment to information security. The two types of SOC 2 reports are Type 1 and Type 2 reports. A Type 1 report evaluates the design of a company's security controls at a specific point in time. In contrast, a SOC type 2 report assesses the effectiveness of these controls over time. Organizations typically seek SOC Type 2 compliance certification to instill confidence in their customers that their data is secure and protected.

Final thoughts

SOC 2 compliance is a way for SaaS vendors and other companies to define the security controls they have in place to protect customer data in the cloud. The TSC established by American Institute of CPAs provides a framework for organizations to assess their standards and ensure protection against unauthorized access, use, disclosure, alteration or destruction of their information.

A SOC 2 compliance audit can help businesses identify areas where they need to make changes to meet the TSC. The steps you should take after an audit depend on the findings of the report, but usually include implementing changes to the way you handle and protect your customers' data.

Adopting innovative SOC 2 compliance software such as Cloud Data Protection or Data Privacy Automation is not just a smart solution. It's a necessary action to maintain your competitive edge in this increasingly regulated industry.

 

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SOC 2, Security standards

Written by Anastasis Vasileiadis

Translations are like women. When they are beautiful they are not faithful and when they are faithful they are not beautiful.

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