SOC2 is an important topic in the current security landscape, with many businesses making the decision to become SOC2 compliant. This can be very beneficial to businesses in various industries that provide services and systems to clients. In this article, we’ll be detailing what it means to be compliant and who should consider SOC2 for their business to demonstrate their commitment to cyber security for their customers.
What is SOC2?
System and Organisation Controls (SOC2) is a type of audit that is designed to assess an organisation for how they handle data for new and existing customers. The audit will look at the security, availability, confidentiality, processing integrity, and privacy controls. And see if they fit with either the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPAs) or ISAE 3000. These elements are known as the Trust Services Criteria.
- Security – considers common security controls e.g., governance, change management, access controls, vulnerability management, and incident response.
- Availability – checks that the system is accessible for operation and use as service agreements.
- Confidentiality – information is effectively protected from unauthorised access as stated in service agreements.
- Processing integrity – all system processing is complete, timely, accurate, and authorised.
- Privacy – personal data is collected, used, handled, and disclosed in accordance with Privacy Laws and Regulations.
SOC2 audits can be split into two types, a type 1 audit is completed on one specific date. Type 2 audits on the other hand, are completed over a longer period of time. Typically around six months or longer.
What is included in an SOC2 audit?
An SOC2 audit provides detailed information on an organisation based on the Trust Services Criteria (TSC) mentioned above. The audit will include:
- An opinion letter
- An in-depth description of the system or service
- Management assertion
- Testing of controls and the outcome of the tests
- Details of the selected trust services categories
- Optional extra information, for example, technical details, plans for new systems, information regarding business continuity planning, or clarification of contextual issues
In the UK, only a qualified member of the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) or an equivalent organisation can carry out SOC2 audits.
Who should comply with SOC2?
Some examples of relevant business types and industries that provide services and systems to client organisations and as such should comply with SOC2 include:
- Cloud service providers and SaaS (software as a service) companies
- Financial service institutions such as banking, insurance, investment, and security
- Organisations that deal with business intelligence or analytics
- Web marketing companies
- Any other organisation that uses the cloud to store customer data
Any businesses of this nature should consider making SOC2 compliance a priority.
Why is SOC2 important for these businesses?
It might seem like a lot of work, but becoming SOC2 compliant will prove to be beneficial to your organisation. This is because you can offer complete assurance to existing and any potential new clients. Demonstrating that you uphold the best possible standards to ensure the safety and protection of their data. As a result, you can build more trust with clients and prospects, leading to increased business generation and revenue. And a positive reputation for following good practices within your industry.
More and more companies are becoming aware of SOC2. Therefore, there is an expectation for some that any organisations they work with should be compliant to this standard. As such, you might find that potential clients decide to go elsewhere and choose a competitor that is SOC2 compliant to protect their interests.
Is SOC2 a legal requirement?
Even though SOC2 is not a legal requirement, it is still an incredibly valuable process for businesses who utilise the cloud. It demonstrates a strong commitment to cyber security to clients, which is invaluable to the long-term success and sustainability of an organisation.
If you’re an organisation that provides cloud services, following SOC2 compliance will be an effective way to build trust with both customers and stakeholders. At CyberWhite, our experienced cyber security consultants can support you through an SOC2 audit and ensure you meet all the requirements of the attestation report. Contact us today to learn more about SOC2 compliance and how our team can help your organisation.