The SOC 2 compliance report is more than just a document that says your business is in good standing. It’s also proof of the security and reliability of your service, which you can use to market your company! This checklist will help you understand what the requirements are for getting a SOC 2 report.
What is SOC 2 Report
A SOC 2 report tells how a company or its vendors manage, protect and maintain your company’s sensitive data. It details what actions you can take to ensure the security of your confidential information and compliance with privacy laws and regulations implemented worldwide in the last few years. A SOC 2 report also informs about companies’ intentions, capabilities, controls, operations, and the effectiveness of their security programs.
This report can help you to protect your confidential information. It shows that you have a robust protection system in place, and it reassures your customers about their data. A SOC 2 report also helps you demonstrate compliance with privacy laws, which is good for business. It takes the burden of sorting out the information security from the IT department and investing in a software solution. SOC 2 report also provides you with proof that your privacy management process is handled by qualified personnel and not just an outsider who does not understand your business. It reassures your customers as they will know the measures you have taken comply with their needs.
SOC 2 Compliance Checklist
Your customer data and a company’s interests are in your company’s best interest. Ensure you keep them safe by reviewing this SOC 2 compliance checklist with your next audit.
– Conduct an initial risk assessment. It will help you understand the risks associated with your service’s use of PII or other confidential information that might need protection.
– Designate who is responsible for security (typically, a Chief Security Officer) to oversee the SOC compliance of your service.
– Identify gaps in security controls (i.e., vulnerabilities) so they can be addressed and remediated. A company should conduct regular vulnerability assessments as well as penetration tests to determine the security gaps and what measures need to be taken to close them. It will help you secure your data, prevent attacks and handle breaches swiftly.
– Understand how your data is stored or processed. You should be aware of what kind of data your organization process and store. You should also define the type of information on an easily understandable level.
– Determine who has access to confidential information. You need to know who can access your company’s data. A simple way is to implement passwords for everybody (e.g., administrative users, service providers, etc.). You can also create two-step authentication with a second layer of verification (password + token). That will decrease the number of people having full access to your data as this will become more complicated to access.
– How is your data protected? You need to know how you protect your confidential information and whether or not it is insufficiently secured. An excellent way to understand this is by performing regular audits of sensitive data, looking for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in its protection. The report from these tests can also be used as a base for your SOC 2 report.
– Perform a self-assessment for SOC compliance. It will help you to determine the extent of your service’s current or potential noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations, as well as any other risks that may have an impact on reliability and safety.
Determine Principles That Are Appropriate for Your Business
SOC 2 tests the risk controls associated with five principles as defined by the AICPA:
Security – 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. 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.
Availability – 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.
Confidentiality – 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 information and how that information is protected against non-standard means of accessing it.
Processing integrity – 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 in place to ensure the integrity of the process.
Privacy – You must have a way to ensure that personal 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.
To comply with AICPA rules, you will need to implement only the Security criterion for a SOC 2 report as the other four are optional. You can select only those principles that are appropriate for your business.
Check the Overlap With Other Frameworks
Requirements between the standards are crosswalked. Controls of SOC 2 often overlap with other requirements of other industry standards. Combining a SOC 2 compliance assessment with various industry-specific cross-compliance frameworks can provide valuable information to organizations that want to understand their risks better, identify potential controls, and create a sense of comfort that your organization complies with other industry standards, including HITRUST, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS. You can also use existing controls to jumpstart your effort towards the next certification.
The SOC2 compliance report is more than just a document that says your business is in good standing. It’s also proof of the security and reliability of your service, which you can use to market your company! We hope this article has given you some ideas about planning ahead before going out on your own. In addition, if you’re looking for help with any other aspects of cybersecurity and compliance services we provide, contact us today!