SOC 2 Readiness Assessment: Partner With Vanta
Successful organizations focus on core competencies. The focus on core competencies, and with the advancements in the quality and capabilities of procured services, has led to a trend in which in-house IT applications, systems, and associated services are replaced with third-party services.
Such services are efficient for their enhanced capabilities, operational simplicity, and lower cost. However, it comes with entrusting confidential customer information, employee data, and trade secrets to outside parties. This has called for companies to demonstrate that the data and systems are well-monitored and available regardless of where the data resides.
Instead of an upsurge of security and control questionnaires and vendor audits, which are not only time-consuming but often attract results that lack consistency and substance, here comes the Service Organization Control (SOC 2). It provides stakeholders on all sides of the issue proactive assurance and reduces ad hoc compliance requests. It has become the assurance standard of choice that many companies today contractually require vendors to provide annual SOC 2 reports.
Why Your Company Needs a SOC 2 Readiness Assessment
It is recommended organizations that store, process or handle confidential customer data reassess their security readiness via SOC 2 readiness assessment. This will determine where the loopholes and other weak points exist in an organization’s infrastructure that could cause it to fail a compliance audit. SOC 2 ensures companies are one step ahead of hackers and other bad actors.
A data breach study by IBM and Ponemon found out that hackers cost companies about $3.8 million in losses. The Equifax breach is a hallmark example of network security failure. The company lost over 143 million consumer data and $4 billion in stock market value. Thus, we see why a SOC 2 readiness assessment is ideal for any organization handling data.
Before proceeding to enroll for the service, a company needs to determine which trust service principals and criteria its SOC 2 audit will cover. A typical SOC 2 report provides stakeholders with information about the controls at the company that could potentially affect user entity security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.
The Five Trust Principals of SOC 2
A SOC 2 audit covers five trust principals, which are:
It measures how well an organization’s data and systems are protected against unauthorized access or information disclosure, and damage to the systems that safeguard availability, confidentiality, integrity, and privacy of the information stored.
It checks whether a company’s systems are ready for operation and use to meet its objectives.
Evaluates whether systems processing is complete and accurate and only authorized information is processed.
Assesses whether information marked confidential is protected as the company says it is.
This is the final SOC 2 trust principal. It sees whether the user’s personal information is collected, used, retained, disclosed, and destroyed per an organization’s privacy notice and the Generally Accepted Privacy Principals (GAPP).
Two types of SOC 2 audit exist
The Type 1 audit checks at the design of a specific security process or procedure and one point in time. The Type 2 audit weighs how successful the security process is over time.
SOC 2 Report
A SOC 2 report will have:
- An opinion letter
- Management assertion
- A comprehensive explanation of the system or service
- Particulars of the preferred trust service categories
- Assessments of controls and the results of testing
- Voluntary additional information
Comprehensive SOC 2 Report
A comprehensive SOC 2 readiness assessment will show the readiness of the controls in place and provide a review of which ones would pass and which ones would fail. It is important to have this information beforehand prior to an audit. This would help you know the gaps in your company’s security operations and procedures. In return will direct key stakeholders to implement preventative security measures sooner rather than after a breach has transpired.
Time is a factor to consider when initiating a SOC 2 readiness assessment. Give your company plenty of time to respond to identified issues so that they can be resolved thoroughly and concisely. Act promptly once all recommendations have been made in the assessment. Implement as soon as possible issues regarding loopholes and established processes.
Don’t Treat SOC 2 as an Afterthought
SOC 2 is not imposed on businesses by any federal or state regulations. So, some businesses may treat it as an afterthought or only consider to gain the certification when they encounter a potential client who requires it. But as Eric Martin from Vanta puts it — this is a cybersecurity compliance report, so it’s often the first compliance framework that B2B startups pursue compliance with because of the benefits it provides. It checks an organization's internal controls for gaps and whether the processes in place actually work.