Does My Business Need A SOC 2 Audit?

Read this article to know what benefits a SOC 2 audit can bring to your business. Know how this secures the data of your company and your clients while protecting you from cyber frauds and saving your company reputation in case of any happening.

Data has become central to running a competitive business in today's fast-paced world. Modern business environments rely on data for everything, from informing key business decisions to retaining customers. Sadly, the cyber-security space of the day is fraught with security risks, and cybercriminals are always on the move to get their hands on your valued data.

Even worse, 60% of SMBs that go through a major data loss close shop by the end of six months. For those that survive or larger and more enabled enterprises, it becomes a struggle to rise from the aftermath of the data breach. Other than trying to clear the brand's name in the PR nightmare that ensues, businesses often required to handle hefty fines as well as compensate their customers for any damages they may have caused.

The best path would be to prevent these data threats from happening in the first place, and regulations like the SOC 2 are here to help. While compliance with SOC 2 will not always be easy to achieve, it provides a security blueprint for protecting your clients' data. Furthermore, the alternative of being non-compliant isn't inviting at all.

Here are some insights on SOC 2 compliance and how to go about it:

What Is SOC 2, And Who Needs It?

SOC 2 is both a group of technical requirements and a security audit. It provides service organizations that store their clients' data within the cloud with directions on the standard way for protecting the data. Under the SOC 2, you need to ensure that the data protection controls you have in place adhere to five data Trust Service Criteria (TSC), which include:
  1. Privacy
  2. Security
  3. Availability
  4. Processing integrity
  5. Confidentiality
Your business will need to develop and outline security policies and procedures for protecting clients' data. Auditors might need to review these documents during compliance audits. There are typically two types of SOC reports:
  • SOC Type 1 Report- is designed to review your service organization's systems and the suitability of the security controls you have in place. Ideally, the report will concentrate on how your business describes your controls at the specific time of the audits.
  • SOC Type 2 Report- this report is similar to the Type 1 report, but it only has one addition. The report looks to assess whether the security controls described by your business do indeed function optimally. It has to be evaluated for a minimum of six months.

How Do You Get It?

SOC 2 certification is all about ensuring that you set up all the necessary security controls in line with the guidelines. Next, you should perform an audit to ensure that you have met the requirements. Sadly, performing Type 2 audit reports can be not only expensive but also overwhelming. If you aren't certain enough that you have met the guidelines, it might be better to perform a readiness assessment.
It is meant to identify gaps throughout your organization's control framework. By identifying these issues long before the actual audit, you can prepare detailed action plans for remediating gaps, reducing audit fees, and improving control efficiencies. You should concentrate on four factors to be compliant, which include:

1. Monitoring

Ideally, you ought to commit to monitoring your systems to identify anomalies such as unauthorized access or malicious activity. The idea is to protect the rest of the organization from the risk of losing customer data or having any of the five TSCs compromised. Ideally, you need to create performance baselines for what you deem normal for your systems and watch out for any anomalies and outliers.

2. Set Alerts

It might be tough for your business to go for too long without any security issues, and setting up the right alerts will help you identify any anomalies. Although SOC 2 doesn't expect perfection in how you handle your alerts, it will require you to have an intuitive alert system. Ideally, the system should have a healthy signal to noise ratio to help avoid identifying false negatives. You ought to create alerts for file transfers, changes to data, and account access.

3. Audit Trails

SOC 2 requires you to have a detailed audit trail. It should be capable of producing information about system changes, access, and alerts. If done well, the trail can help you back-track an incident to the source of the intrusion. Also, it makes audits easy and cost-friendly. The trails should cover everything from data changes and system components to the sources of incoming connections.

4. Forensics

The trick is to ensure your organization has strong forensic abilities. You should manage to back-track incidents to the source, pinpoint the scope of an attack, and predict- with confidence- the attacker's next move. Such a system assures customers that you will deal with attackers swiftly and efficiently while reducing any harm to their valuable data.

Why Compliance Is Necessary

Gain A Competitive Advantage

Clients want to work with partners and vendors who have security at the center stage of their daily operations. As such, being SOC 2 compliant shows customers that they can indeed trust you. In their eyes, you are better positioned to understand their security risks and safeguard their data. If they have to choose between your business and a non-complaint one, yours will be on the winning side.

SOC 2 Compliance Is Relatively Cheap

The costs you will incur to be compliant will depend on a variety of factors, including the depth of your data environment, the scope of your applications, the size of your workforce, and the service principles you commit to.
Sure, you will need to spend thousands of dollars to complete a SOC 2 audit and get certified, but this is way cheaper than other compliance regulations such as the PCI DSS. Even worse, the cost of continuous compliance doesn't come anywhere close to the cost of a data breach. This is when you consider the PR nightmare that is likely to ensue as well as any ransoms attackers might ask for.

Also, compliance is only expensive at the start of it all. You will need to purchase security and monitoring tools as well as integrate them into your data environment and network systems. The initial testing and fine-tuning of your alerts might also be quite costly. Once you have everything in place, the next audits, after that, will be all about reviewing the effectiveness of these tools and policies. Correcting any issue, you point out will also be relatively easy and cheap.

Your Business Will Be Secure

You ought to be serious about your business' security. If you do business without security at the core of your daily operations, you not only risk losing clients but also making your business vulnerable to attacks.
This can even be worse for small businesses as hackers are interested in such business, owing to their small cyber-security budgets. Luckily, SOC 2 provides a security blueprint from which you can create an even more secure business. The regulation can direct you on the dos and don'ts when securing your business.

Security should never be taken lightly, especially if your business' operations involve you handling your clients' data. You need to have enough oversight on who has access to what, the security of the data environments, and the type of tools to use. By focusing on SOC 2 compliance, embracing high data security standards becomes easy.


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