Data from IBM shows that 83% of companies have experienced a data breach. Sensitive customer data is always at risk, and any breach can impact not only an organization but the individuals it services. Staying SOC 2 compliant is an industry-standard for maintaining information security—and that’s why you need an SOC 2 compliance checklist.
Why Businesses Need SOC 2 Certification
SOC 2 (System and Organization Controls) is a leading standard in information security administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It provides a framework for security controls that ensures that an organization takes the appropriate precautions to protect customer data.
SOC 2 certification lets businesses demonstrate to customers, partners, and other parties that information security practices have undergone a rigorous audit process. Not only does one gain peace of mind knowing they’re safe, but it also opens the door to new opportunities by demonstrating an improved commitment to security controls.
To acquire this certification, a company must undergo the SOC 2 audit process.
First, an SOC 2 type I audit will evaluate current systems and practices for initial certification. Then, there is another type of SOC 2 report, SOC 2 Type II, that is more in-depth and takes into account changes over time. The auditor will review the business and prepare audit reports documenting compliance.
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SOC 2 Compliance Checklist
SOC I and SOC II are two types of SOC audits with stringent requirements.
That’s why organizations need to ensure their audit readiness in advance.
With the SOC-2 compliance checklist, there are five primary categories of trust service criteria that the AICPA evaluates. These include:
- Processing integrity
While the SOC 2 compliance checklist can be a valuable tool, it’s essential to note that it isn’t a substitute for working with cybersecurity experts to ensure proper security controls for your organization.
Define the Scope of SOC 2 Report
Organizations should deliberate on the scope of their SOC 2 report. Why?
SOC 2 audits can vary in the areas they address.
Not all businesses choose to address the five SOC2 compliance categories. In truth, security is the core category that is most essential but evaluating and improving availability, confidentiality, processing integrity, and privacy is also beneficial.
Additionally, a business must choose between the SOC 2 Type 1 and the SOC 2 Type 2 compliance checklist. Among the biggest difference between both would be how:
- Type 1 focuses on internal controls at a specific point in time
- Type 2 requires existing compliance with SOC 2 Type 1 or a comparable standard, along with monitoring and observation for several months
Carry Out a Risk Assessment for Internal Controls
Risk management is a priority for organizations handling sensitive information.
Ahead of an audit, a company must identify and understand potential threats, such as:
- End users
Additionally, it’s essential to analyze the potential significance of specific risks and ensure that mitigation practices are in place for those risks. In our digital age, it should be noted that these risks are always changing.
For instance, phishing and forced unauthorized access continue to be a threat, while research from Verizon shows that ransomware threats have increased significantly.
Perform a Gap Analysis for Security Controls
To fully prepare for an audit, an organization needs to perform a gap analysis.
This analysis identifies vulnerabilities across current internal controls. Among the core areas of focus include a company’s:
- Background screening
- Security software practices
- Identity management practices
- And more
Successful completion of the audit requires that appropriate controls are in place.
Lastly, the analysis may reveal gaps in internal controls, allowing businesses to develop and implement measures to remediate those gaps to pass the audit.
Go Through a Readiness Assessment
Businesses often use an IT and cybersecurity services provider for independent readiness assessments to identify potential issues that may impact audit performance. With expert consulting and solution offers from security professionals, businesses can ensure:
- Proper documentation is available
- Current controls meet SOC 2 standards
Completing the SOC 2 Audit Process
Following a SOC 2 audit readiness assessment, companies may contact a certified auditor to carry out an audit report. If a business is pursuing SOC 2 Type 2 certification, it will also have to undergo an observation period of several months to complete the audit.
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Become Compliant With Our SOC 2 Compliance Checklist
A SOC 2 compliance checklist provides an overview of what a business needs to do to ensure compliance, although that’s just one side of the story.
The other side is how businesses need the right partner to provide security and organization controls that ensure information security and privacy are maintained.
For help with all of your company’s information security needs, Tenecom is here to help.
We can ensure that you meet the common criteria for SOC 2 certification and carry out readiness assessments that fully prepare you for the audit process. Reach out to our team to discuss how our security solutions can help your business achieve and maintain industry standards.