In this fast developing world, organisations often outsource some processes or partner with other companies to grow their business faster. As the company's service providers increase, the risks related to data security also increase. To ensure service providers can handle the organisation's information securely, often organisations assess their service providers' security controls. Such assessments provide them assurance at a certain level. But not all organisations have the capability or capacity to assess their service provider's security controls, therefore they ask for a SOC 2 audit report.
What is a SOC 2?
The SOC 2 is a framework for establishing processes in your organisation to protect client data while they use your system or application. The SOC stands for System and Organisation Controls.
It has three types, SOC 1, SOC 2 and SOC 3. SOC 1 focuses on the organisation's financial aspects, while SOC 2 focuses on security and technology. SOC 3 is similar to SOC 2 but excludes some aspects in the report.
SOC 2 is quite popular in the IT and Security community, as it focuses on technology and security processes. SOC 2 is not a certificate, it is a framework or set of controls. It has Five Trust Service Criteria to guide how service organisations should handle sensitive client data.
This Five Trust Service Criteria includes the system's security, availability, process integrity, confidentiality and privacy.
AICPA Trust Services Criteria
To demonstrate that your organisation's processes align with SOC 2 framework requirements, you need to have a SOC 2 audit report. Only certified public accountants (CPAs) can audit and issue the report. SOC 2 audit has two types of reports, SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2.
In simple words, the Type 1 report focuses on whether the organisation designed controls in a system to meet one or more Trust Service Criteria at a specific time.
The SOC 2 Type 2 report focuses on whether designed controls operated effectively over time. An auditor audits control effectiveness for the past six months or more and does not require the organisation to have a Type 1 report.
As you know about SOC 2, let's jump on why your organisation should consider getting the SOC 2 audit report.
Address clients' needs in advance.
As cybercrime increases rapidly, addressing the cyber security risks has become essential for many organisations. If your customers and partners haven't asked already, the chances are high that they will ask you to demonstrate how you address the cyber security risks and protect the information they share with you. Some of them will want to audit you or request to demonstrate an independent auditor's opinion. Nowadays, many companies ask their service providers to be ISO 27001 certified or SOC 2 audit reports, especially if you provide a SaaS solution to help them address their needs.
Add a competitive advantage.
Being SOC 2 compliant means your organisation understands the security risks of the service you offer and addresses them to protect customers information. It also reduces the time to go through your prospects third-party risk management process and gives you a competitive advantage. Like you, your prospects save time on security assessments and audits, increasing the chances of contracting with you. SOC 2 audit can address many questions related to security and simplify your and your prospects' life.
Enhance information security practices.
SOC 2 has one mandatory and four optional criteria called Trust Service Criteria. Each criteria includes a set of controls that the organisation needs to implement to comply with SOC 2 requirements. Successfully passing the SOC 2 audit means your organisation developed and implemented security policies, procedures and processes that meet the SOC 2 framework. Another essential point is that an independent certified auditor assessed your effort to address security, confidentiality, integrity, availability and privacy or a combination of all these criteria. Being SOC 2 compliant, your organisation demonstrates that you have enhanced security practices and processes in your organisation.
Reduce operational cost of compliance.
Imagine your team does not spend hours reviewing and answering a dozen questions, collecting evidence and sending emails. Your prospects get the answers to many questions without involving IT, HR or other teams. All these can be achieved by being compliant with SOC 2 framework requirements.
Surely, having a SOC 2 audit report is not a one-time task, and if you want to stay compliant with SOC 2 framework requirements, you will need to maintain the processes you designed. But your security team can focus on working on tasks to maintain compliance with SOC 2 framework requirements instead of collecting evidence and responding to long questionnaires. One can say they will need a person to maintain compliance with SOC 2 requirements, and that's true, but cyber security threats and risks do not disappear, and one will need a person to address them. It's much more effective and beneficial if your team address those threats and risks based on the framework.
In the end, wouldn't it be great if you could reduce the contract negotiation time and improve your organisation's security posture?
If you want to get ready for SOC 2 audit twice faster, let's talk.