Safety is essential, especially for those who are on the Internet. That is why we have SOC 2 compliance reports. These reports outline how an organization protects data from a variety of threats and privacy issues. The AICPA has set up five common criteria that organizations must meet to comply with SOC 2 compliance report standards: security, availability, confidentiality, processing integrity, and privacy. Now let’s review the different criteria you’ll need to follow to be compliant.
What is SOC 2 Report?
SOC 2 is the set of practices and procedures that define a method for providing evidence to auditors on controls and identity protection. SOC stands for Service Organization Controls, one of six control frameworks from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It was developed in 2001 and replaced COSO as a control framework after a decade. It was further enhanced in 2009 and again in 2013. SOC 2 is intended to be used as a report or assessment for internal use by service organizations providing services to external customers.
A SOC 2 Report provides an audit trail of the control activities within an organization from inception through design, development, implementation, and testing until final deployment into production. It is a collection of evidence that proves the company’s customer data, privacy, and security controls are working as they should be.
SOC 2 Common Criteria
A Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 report is a document provided by a third-party auditor that validates and attests to a specific system’s security, availability, processing integrity, and privacy controls. A SOC 2 report is based on five common criteria.
Clear policies about security must be in place for any organization, especially if they are providing services or software over the Internet. Your organization must be able to detect any unauthorized access or modifications to your data. You must also have a process in place that immediately responds to any detected incidents. Your response will include containment, eradication, recovery, and reporting. Data integrity measures should consist of checksum mechanisms to ensure data is not accidentally or maliciously modified. The organization’s security policy could be a part of the overall plan or a separate document that includes methods for ensuring access to your systems is limited, protecting physical assets such as servers and computers from unauthorized access, etc.
A few points to consider when providing a safe environment for your company and its customers include strong authentication, secure communication, and secure storage. Always remember that you will want to do regular updates on your security systems. If there is a vulnerability in the system, then this could be the point where someone will enter your company and potentially steal information. Updating your security programs lets everyone know that you recognize these threats and make sure they can’t happen.
When it comes to making sure your system is available for use, certain things will help keep everything secure and stable, while others will help ensure that everyone can use the system when they need to. Your organization must provide timely access to data and information with the proper levels of quality for internal and external customers. The plan should detail what needs to be done in case of a system failure or outage. Staff will need procedures on how to get things back up and running as quickly as possible without compromising security concerns. Backing up means everything stays safe and sound when problems are encountered. You will probably want to keep a copy of everything on an external server and another copy on a USB drive or hard drive. This way, you can ensure that your information is always available should something happen to the central system!
When you are working towards complying with SOC 2, one of the most important things you’ll need to do is protect information. Your data must be kept private, and your organization should be able to detect unauthorized access. Your plan should detail who has access to what data and how that information is protected against non-standard means of accessing it. Data integrity measures will be another part of ensuring the confidentiality of your data, along with physical security methods such as alarms and cameras.
You must have a way to ensure your data is handled in a correct, consistent manner such that it maintains the integrity of your organization’s financial statements. It covers logical access controls as well as verification of information entered by users. Employees will need training on how to use programs with proper security methods. The program may also include testing data entries for accuracy and procedural controls to ensure the integrity of the process.
Your organization will need to protect your client’s personal information and comply with HIPAA laws requiring you to safeguard the data. You must have a way to ensure that confidential information is kept private and secure and detect when someone is attempting to access it in an unauthorized manner. Any security breaches should be addressed immediately, with your response including containment, eradication, and recovery plus reporting.
The SOC 2 compliance report provides a detailed outline of the five common criteria. Security, availability, confidentiality, processing integrity, and privacy are all important to consider for your company’s security. With these considerations in mind, you can provide timely access to data with the proper levels of quality for internal and external customers and maintain data integrity measures that will keep everything safe from unauthorized access.
If you want your company’s cybersecurity efforts certified by AICPA and don’t know where to start, we are here for you! Contact us today for more information on our services.