SOC 2 compliance requirements can be confusing for businesses. This is because of the many different compliance frameworks, and how each one has its own set of specific requirements.
In this blog post, we will list all the SOC 2 compliance requirements for businesses in an easy-to-understand format. We will also explain what each requirement means and how a business can meet it. So if you’re looking to become SOC 2 compliant, you’ll find everything you need right here.
What is SOC 2 and Why Do Businesses Use It?
SOC 2 is a compliance framework created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It’s designed to ensure that service organizations, such as cloud providers and software-as-a-service companies, have the necessary controls in place to protect their clients’ data and information.
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Many businesses use SOC 2 as a way to demonstrate to their clients, customers and business partners that they take data security and privacy of their customer information seriously. It also helps with risk management and can potentially open up new business opportunities.
Are SOC 2 Type 2 Compliance Requirements Different?
In short, yes. There are two types of SOC 2 compliance: Type 1 and Type 2.
A Type 1 report demonstrates that a business has the necessary internal controls in place at a specific point in time. A Type 2 report, on the other hand, shows that the internal controls have been effectively implemented over a period of time (typically at least six months).
So while the overall SOC 2 compliance requirements are the same for both Type 1 and Type 2, a Type 2 report requires additional evidence to show that the controls were effectively implemented and operating as intended.
What are the SOC 2 Trust Service Principles?
In order to achieve SOC 2 compliance, a business must meet the requirements of all five Trust Service Criteria.
These principles are as follows:
- Security – The system is protected against unauthorized access, use, or modification.
- Availability – The system is operating effectively and can be used as committed to or agreed upon.
- Processing integrity – System processing is complete, accurate, timely, and authorized.
- Confidentiality – Information designated as confidential is protected as committed or agreed.
- Privacy – Personal information is collected, used, retained, disclosed, and disposed of in conformity with the commitments in the entity’s privacy notice and with criteria set forth in Generally Accepted Privacy Principles issued by the AICPA and Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.
SOC 2 Compliance Requirements List in 10 Easy Steps
1. Develop and Document Information Security Policies and Procedures
To meet this requirement, a business should create policies and procedures related to the protection of their clients’ data and information. These policies should be clearly documented and accessible to all employees.
2. Implement Risk Assessment and Management Processes
A business must have processes in place to assess and manage risks related to the security and privacy of their clients’ data. This includes regularly reviewing potential threats, implementing measures to mitigate those threats, and regularly reassessing the effectiveness of these measures.
3. Implement User Access Control Procedures
This requirement involves ensuring that only authorized individuals have access to sensitive information or systems. This can include measures such as multi-factor authentication, monitoring user activity, and regularly reviewing user access.
4. Implement Network Security Measures
Businesses must have controls in place to protect their network and systems from unauthorized access, including measures such as password policies, firewalls, and monitoring for unusual activity from suspicious user entities.
5. Maintain a Secure Facility
Physical security measures should also be in place to protect sensitive information and systems, such as restricting access to data centers or server rooms and implementing surveillance systems.
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6. Monitor System Activity
Regular monitoring of system activity can help detect any potential threats or incidents relating to the security and privacy of clients’ data. This could include regularly reviewing logs for unusual activity or conducting vulnerability scans.
7. Conduct Regular Testing and Assessments
In addition to regularly monitoring system activity, businesses should also conduct regular testing and assessments to ensure their controls are effective. This could include penetration testing or vulnerability assessments.
8. Implement Incident Response and Disaster Recovery Plans
It’s important for a business to have plans in place for responding to any incidents relating to the security and privacy of clients’ data, as well as for recovering from a disaster that may affect their systems or facilities. These plans should be documented and regularly tested and reviewed.
9. Train Employees on Security Policies and Procedures
Employee awareness and understanding of information security policies and procedures is crucial for ensuring they are properly followed. This can be accomplished through providing initial training upon hiring, as well as ongoing training and reminders.
10. Maintain Ongoing Compliance
Maintaining SOC 2 compliance is an ongoing process, as threats and risks can change over time. A business should regularly review its controls and assess any changes that may be necessary to continue meeting the requirements of SOC 2.
Following these guidelines and maintaining compliance with SOC 2 can not only help protect a business and its clients’ information, but it can also build trust with clients and potential clients, signaling that they take security and privacy seriously. It’s important for businesses to understand the requirements of SOC 2 and implement measures to meet them in order to maintain the trust of their clients.
How to Pass a SOC 2 Audit
To pass a SOC 2 audit, it’s important for businesses to have documented policies and procedures in place related to the protection of their clients’ data and information, as well as regularly assessing and managing risks.
They should also have measures in place such as:
- User Access Control
- Network Security
- Physical Security
- Regular Monitoring
- And Employee Training
Maintaining ongoing compliance is key to successfully passing a SOC 2 audit.
What to Know About SOC 2 Reports
A SOC 2 report is a formal evaluation of a business’s controls related to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.
These reports can provide assurance to clients and potential clients that the business takes measures to protect their information. A SOC 2 report is conducted by an independent third-party auditor and can include opinions on whether the organization’s controls meet the criteria set out by the SOC 2 guidelines.
It can also include recommendations for improvement. These reports are not publicly available, but may be shared with a business’s clients upon request.
Getting Help With Your SOC 2 Compliance Requirements From a Qualified MSP
Meeting the requirements of SOC 2 and successfully passing a SOC 2 audit can be a daunting task for businesses, especially those without an in-house information security team.
That’s where a qualified managed service provider (MSP) can come in. Here at Tenecom, we have the expertise and resources to assist with implementing and maintaining controls necessary for SOC 2 compliance.
We can also help businesses navigate the audit process and prepare for a successful report. Ultimately, partnering with us can provide you peace of mind knowing that your clients’ information is protected and that your business is SOC 2 compliant.
To see how our services can provide you with the help you need, and specifically outlined ROI, schedule a free consultation with us today.