Information Security Compliance and SOC 2: What your business needs to know.
February 3, 2021
The world of compliance has many categories in the information age, and it is often difficult to keep up with what you need to know and what is relevant to your business. Information security compliance should be close to the top of everyone’s list of compliance responsibilities.
How do you know if your organization’s information security practices are at or exceed industry standards? And how do you vet potential vendors for their information security compliance? One simple answer to both of these questions is SOC 2 Compliance. System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 is a comprehensive audit and reporting framework designed by the American Institute of CPA’s based on five “trust service principles” – security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.
SOC2 Certification is issued by external auditors who assess the extent to which a business complies with the trust principles listed above. SOC 2 Type 1 certifications are issued for proof of compliance with those principles at a specific moment in time. Type 2 certifications, which are generally more beneficial over time, are issued for compliance over an extended period, usually 6 months. These require proof in the form of detailed records of how security controls were operated and maintained over the entire period.
There are many organizations that assist businesses with their SOC 2 readiness in preparation for an audit. One such organization is Vanta (see below for more information), who additionally provide a comprehensive software solution that monitors and organizes the key requirements of SOC 2. When you begin the process of preparing for an audit, you may find that many of the requirements are things your organization has been doing for a long time. For SILO, most of the work we needed to do was documenting processes we already had in place and setting up monitoring of some of our technical controls.
If your business is a service provider that stores, processes, or transmits any kind of confidential, personal, or otherwise sensitive data, undergoing a SOC 2 audit and getting certified is a key step to becoming and staying competitive in the market. Likewise, if you are looking for a new service provider or vendor, vet them by asking if they have undergone a SOC 2 audit and compare their results to other potential vendors.
The process can seem daunting at first, and knowing that you need to re-certify every year to maintain certification can seem like a mammoth task, but when you’ve done it once, all you have to do is maintain the easily achievable industry standards provide by SOC 2. Investing in becoming SOC 2 certified is well worth the return provided by proving to your clients that you are truly invested in keeping their information safe.