The news about the data breach and compromised data security is common. But eliminating IT-based data processing is impossible in the digital age. Everything depends on data, and any breach in confidential data can create havoc. Thus, the prime focus is on data security enhancement. SOC 2 is one such aspect that helps in assuring the protection and integrity of data.
The growing importance of data and its security – Denying the importance of data in this digital age where networking has evolved so much, is an unintelligent act. Data security and protection assurance are not easy to achieve unless an organization follows the correct steps. Like all other certification issuance, the SOC 2 compliance and audit also necessitates the organization to undergo an audit to prove its abidance by the regulations.
Understanding SOC 2 in detail
SOC stands for service organization control. The certification is currently an indispensable part of organizations that function in the IT field. Even businesses providing third-party IT services need it. SOC 2 compliance and reports help develop customer or user trust in the service brand. It also helps in the growth of the business organization. The SOC is issued by AICPA, the abbreviation for American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. It primarily focuses on data risk and protection to bring integrity.
SOC 2 Audit – Explained in simple terms
The SOC 2 compliance or report issued by AICPA checks the private business and consumer’s information management by third-party service brands. It specifically checks for data security in a cloud-based infrastructure. The technical certification for data security assurance is provided by expert auditors who evaluate and reports the compliances of norms. The client-data security management enhances with the association of the SOC 2 audit.
SOC 2 is especially relevant for service providers who function on SaaS or software as a service. Platforms that integrate a huge amount of data through cloud-based infrastructure necessitate the certification to help build customer trust. The highly-sensitive data management process and data protection requirements are crucial in this field of work. There are two types of SOC 2 compliance – SOC 2 Type I and Type II.
The SOC 2 Type I compliance explains a vendor’s system for ensuring adherence to the trust principles. The auditors determine if the vendor’s system is compliant with the norms. In contrast, the SOC 2 Type II compliance concerns the effectiveness of the operational setup and adherence to regulations over a period.
Trust principles in SOC 2 audit– Following are the five trust principles that get reviewed by the auditors who evaluate the vendor and its operations.
- Security: The security principle in SOC 2 compliance refers to system and resource protection against any unethical or unwanted access. The access controlling measures prevents unauthorized access for reducing the chances of potential system abuse. It also helps prevent unwanted situations like – data theft, data removal, software misuse, information disclosure, etc. Web application firewalls and other IT tools for network protection like 2-step authentication, intrusion detection tools, etc., strengthen the security of the system and data from getting breached.
- Availability: The availability principle in SOC 2 audit refers to the accessibility aspect of the system, services or products, as specified by the contract. It needs to adhere to the information present in the service level agreement or SLA. The accessibility of the system is preset by both parties. However, one must note that the availability parameter does not measure system functionality and operability. It reviews the security-related criteria that can influence the ease of accessibility and availability.
- Confidentiality: Data in the system is confidential and needs authorized access to avoid unwanted disclosure. It needs to stay restricted and safe within a specified set of professionals in the organization. It is a vital aspect and needs a thorough inspection to review if data confidentiality is consistent. Among the many ways to safeguard data, encryption is an effective tool while transmitting confidential information. Network firewalls, rigorous access monitoring techniques, etc., are other ways to ensure data confidentiality.
- Integrity: The process and integrity principle in SOC 2 audit refers to the checking process that assures the purposefulness of the system in concern. Simply put, it is to inspect whether the system delivers accurate data at the correct place efficiently. The data has to be valid and authorized to pass this trust measure. Processing integrity is distinct from data integrity because determining the accuracy of the data prior to the input is not a factor to inspect in this context.
- Privacy: In SOC 2 audit, the privacy principle refers to the system’s ability to retain, use and disclose personal data and information by adhering to the organization’s privacy norms. It must abide by the criteria set by the generally accepted privacy principles (GAPP) by AICPA. In this context, the PII or personal identifiable information refers to the information related to health, religion, sexuality, and all other data that helps distinguish an individual from another. The information is sensitive and needs optimal protection from unwanted access.
Benefits of the SOC2 compliance audit – The role in trust-building
Many question the need for certification and its role in trust-building. Does it impact the perception of the users or clients? Yes. A well-protected system ensuring efficiency and data accuracy makes it apt for trusting. As an organization owner, you must take steps to conduct the audit for issuing the SOC 2 compliance.
- Brand value and reputation – A service company with the SOC 2 audit exhibits brand reliability. Add value to the brand reputation to develop long-lasting goodwill.
- Assured offerings and competitive advantage – Stay one step ahead by gaining a competitive advantage with brand recognition for better trust. Deliver service to the users with optimal data protection and processing integrity with the SOC 2 audit.
- Better security and operations – Gain confidence in processing data and handling confidential information with the certification. Be consistent in the industry by staying SOC 2 compliant by regulating audits.
Connect to a SOC 2 audit expert
Make your organization secure by getting certified by the SOC 2 compliance issued by the regulatory body. IRQS is the certification body that audits and evaluates the trust principles to issue the audit certificate.