Data security has always been important for organizations, especially so for business’ dealing with customer information. SOC 2 Type 2 deals with increasing concerns over data security and privacy. SOC 2 Type 2 certification holds the most significant degree of excellence in operational processes and controls. It is applicable for service providers who collect, process, transmit, store, and maintain their client’s data.
Any company can take up SOC 2 certification based on their requirements in various fields in the organization. If any piece of data is secure, it can become vulnerable to attacks. The SOC 2 auditing process makes sure your organization’s data and your client’s data is secure.
A SOC audit gives your organization an advantage as it informs consumers that you are taking the appropriate measures to keep their data secure and taking all measures possible to prevent data breaches.
For someone new to the world of SOC 2 compliance, its complex terminologies and processes may come across as intimidating. Never fear, because this blog will take you through each step of the process and help you on your journey to SOC 2 certification.
What Is SOC?
SOC stands for system and organization controls. It is a set of guidelines designed to help measure how well the information is utilized and managed by a given service organization.
A SOC audit provides organizations with great confidence and clarity when they engage with third-party suppliers. It was brought into existence by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) due to rapidly growing customer data privacy concerns.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOC 1 AND SOC 2
|It is designed to check the internal control over financial reporting (ICFE).||It is designed to check service organization controls.|
|SOC 1 reports come under the SSAE 16 standard, especially under the section of AT 801.||SOC 2 reports come under the SSAE 18 standard, especially under the section of AT-C-205, AT-C-105 section.|
|SOC 1 focuses on the service that they provide to the clients, the business, and information technology process.||It has five principles such as security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.|
|The customer management and external auditors are the users of the SOC 1 Report.||Customer management, External auditors, and business partners are the users of the SOC 2 Reports.|
What Is SOC 2 Certification?
Any organization that handles client data should make their client feel safe and trustworthy. If your business stores personal information about its clients, such as financial details, health details, etc., it should follow SOC guidelines issued by AICPA. You can integrate these guidelines into your organization by gaining SOC 2 certification through an audit. Implementing SOC 2 Type 2 standards in any organization is a long-term process. It is an ongoing internal practice that ensures the protection of consumer data and, as a result, your company’s performance.
The SOC 2 protocol is planned for most advanced information technology service providers, including managed IT service providers, cloud computing vendors, data centers, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies.
A SOC 2 Type 2 audit could cost anywhere between $20,000 and $80,000+. Because of the client’s information security, maintaining updated and functional systems is the main reason behind these high costs.
SOC 2 includes five key sections, forming a standard called the Trust Services Principles:
1) Security of the service
2) Availability of this system
3) Processing integrity
4) Confidentiality of the data
5) Privacy of personal information
The data and the systems of the organization are intact. They are secured from unauthorized access by proper application firewalls, intrusion detection, and two-factor authentication.
All the information and computer systems are available for use to reach the organization’s goals. It involves security standards such as network monitoring performance, security incident handling, and disaster recovery.
It checks whether timely and correct data has been delivered or not. All the system processing is entirely valid and approved.
Data security and confidentiality are essential. Its access is permitted to a set of specific people or organizations. Application firewalls are used to secure information stored in the systems.
The personal information collected, used, stored, and disposed of by the system with the entity’s privacy notice.
What Is SOC 2 Type 2 Audit?
SOC 2 Type 2 audit is an indoor controls report capturing how a corporation secures a customer’s personal data and how well those controls are operating. Companies that use cloud service providers use SOC 2 reports to assess and address the risks related to third-party technology services. These reports are issued by private third-party auditors covering the principles of Security, Availability, Confidentiality, and Privacy.
This audit mainly provides additional certification as the service organization checks the productivity improvement for six months to evaluate user organizations.
How to Obtain SOC 2 Certification?
Getting a SOC 2 certification indicates that your organization is seeking to secure client data. Any company can take up SOC 2 Certification based on their requirements.
Here are the five steps to get SOC 2 certification:
- Firstly, have a clear note on your organization’s security standards with security professionals. Then contact the outside auditors to check your operational and security processes with the SOC compliance process and decide which among the five trust service principles you’re going with because safety always comes first. Along with this, look out for confidentiality, privacy, availability, and processing integrity.
- Secondly, mention the controls, which include the selected Trust Service Criteria (TSC). You may also take the help of third-party services with the agreement of a planned auditor.
- Take the assistance of security professionals to process and control against the selected TSP (Trust Service Principle)so that you are ready for the formal audit.
- Getting the formal audit from a certified CPA takes a few weeks, including documentation, interviews, and notes.
- Finally, receiving the SOC 2 certification on how good your organization’s security control standards are and how well they are fulfilling the principles of SOC 2.
Benefits of Having a SOC 2 Compliance Report:
- An increase in customer growth is important for any organization. Hence, protecting customer data from unauthorized access and data theft is essential, else you risk losing your customers. SOC 2 compliance makes sure their data is safely maintained.
- Data breaches are very costly, and costs are increasing every year. An SOC 2 audit can help you avoid high-cost data breaches.
- Having SOC 2 certification will be a competitive advantage against rivals who cannot demonstrate compliance.
- Getting a SOC 2 audit provides security to all the devices in your organization.
- A SOC 2 report gives your organization important information about your security postures and risk.
Who Can Perform a SOC 2 Audit?
Only an accounting organization or individual certified public accountant (CPA) can be part of the SOC audit. Specific professional standards of the AICPA regulate SOC under a few required guidelines such as planning, performing, and observing SOC audit protocols.
Organizations with a CPA can also allow their non-CPA employees with the required information and technical skills to be part of SOC training. Still, reporting is done by a professional CPA. For a successful SOC audit, the AICPA logo is allowed to be used on the company website.
As mentioned earlier, organizations with SaaS or any organization storing client information in the cloud can opt for an SOC 2 audit. SOC 2 is a must-have requirement for any technology-based service organization.
A business seeking a vendor such as an IT services provider seek out SOC 2 Type 2 as it is among the most valid certifications that prove an organization’s trustworthiness. A company that has achieved SOC 2 Type 2 certification has proven that its system is designed to keep its client’s data secure.
If you interested to know more about SOC 2 Type 2 certification, check out EC-Council’s Certified SOC Analyst (CSA) program. It provides in-depth knowledge in information and event management, cyber threats, and centralized log management. It is also beneficial to all aspects of the security program and networking teams as it makes compliance much easier for any organization’s growth, especially for startups.
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