What is SOC 2 Type II compliance?
SOC 2 (System and Organization Controls 2) is an auditing process developed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Its primary initiative is to improve secure data management in organizations in order to gain privacy and security at both the business and personal levels.
The SOC 2 certification is awarded following a thorough audit by external auditors, and utilizes customer data management guidelines based on 5 Trust Service Principles: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. The audit summarizes the non-financial reporting controls on the systems and processes, determining how well they are followed and how effective they are.
SOC 2 compliance is a minimum requirement for any business that is security-conscious, though it is not mandatory.
SOC 2 applies to organizations that use the cloud to store user information. It is mainly applicable to SaaS businesses, but it is also useful to many other organizations that store their users’ data in this manner.
What are the requirements for SOC 2 compliance?
Becoming SOC 2 compliant involves the following:
- Implementing security measures to prevent unauthorized individuals from information access
- Maintaining client and service provider confidentiality
- Implement privacy considerations of the organization’s use, storage and disposal of data
The five principles of SOC 2 compliance known as the Trust Services Criteria (TSC) underpin SOC audits. Every organization adopts the principles to which the audits will attest, based on the value that their customers place the most importance.
The 5 Trust Services Criteria are as follows:
- Availability: Systems and information are available for use and operation
- Confidentiality: Sensitive information is protected from unauthorized access
- Privacy: Sensitive information is collected, used, and disposed of in a safe manner
- Processing integrity: Data is not changed or altered in an unauthorized manner
- Security: This is a foundational rule that requires all systems to be protected against unauthorized access and use
In contrast to PCI DSS’s strict and clear compliance requirements, the SOC 2 report is completely unique for each organization, with each selecting its own controls to ensure adherence to some or all of the Trust Services Criteria based on specific business tactics.
These internal reports include important information regarding how your service providers manage their data. This information will be useful to your suppliers, business partners, regulators, etc.
SOC reports are classified into two types:
- Type I includes details about the design and suitability of vendor systems to ensure they meet relevant Trust Services Criteria
- Type II describes the system’s operating efficiency
Why should you be SOC 2 compliant?
Compliance with SOC 2 Type 2 will benefit your organization in the following ways:
- As security and data breaches are on your customers’ minds, adhering to SOC 2 can help you increase customer demand
- Showing a SOC 2 report gives you an advantage over competing companies who are unable to demonstrate compliance, and it improves your organization’s reputation as trustable and trustworthy
- A SOC 2 audit ensures that the information on your systems and networks is secure, not only for your clients and customers, but also for your organization internally
- Because SOC 2 requirements overlap with those of other frameworks such as HIPAA and PCI DSS, achieving certification can help your organization’s overall compliance efforts
- A SOC 2 report, in addition to the framework itself or implemented GRC solutions, offers useful information into your organization’s risk and security stance, internal governance, vendor management, and more
Though there are no penalties for failing to comply with SOC 2, the organization’s vulnerabilities are frequently discovered and identified during the audit and failing to address them means that your organization is at a higher risk of security breaches, which can lead to bad reputation.
How to achieve compliance?
The AICPA is in charge of establishing the requirements for SOC 2. All audits are to be signed by certified public accountants (CPA’s). The first step into the process is to first of all specify the scope to be included in the audit, then the development of policies, procedures, security controls to reduce the risks and threats. Once all that is done, the CPA’s will conduct an audit — that involves collecting documents and visits on-site or at their office. A section on security must be included in every SOC 2 Type 2 report. The remaining criteria are suggested but not required.
Centraleyes aligns to SOC 2 requirements, allowing business organizations and CPAs to transfer, incorporate, and load the necessary data without exposing personal data to third parties.
The Centraleyes platform delivers streamlined, automated data collection and analysis, prioritized remediation guidance, and real-time customized scoring to meet the SOC 2 requirements.
In addition, Centraleyes provides a built-in SOC 2 questionnaire and has mapped it back to its control inventory allowing it to share data across multiple frameworks through the platform, which creates time savings, money savings and more accurate data. Through the Centraleyes platform, organizations can gain full visibility to their cyber risk levels and compliance and gain a ready report to help prepare for audits.