Getting Risky to Win Trust: SOC 2 Certification in SaaS

by Trava, Cyber Risk Management

Explore the significance of cyber security compliance for SaaS startups and the advantages of obtaining a SOC 2 certification.

Do you know where you are in your compliance journey? Find out here ⬇️

This blog was updated November 2023.

Cybersecurity is a strategic approach to prioritizing threats that could harm your business or customers. It is all about risk management and establishing trust and credibility. In so doing, it shows that you are thinking through the potential cyber threats and risks and how to protect your business, employees, and customers against them. 

In both the B2B and the enterprise spaces, there is a great need for robust cybersecurity measures. These companies have vast networks and exchange critical data essential to their operations and success. Therefore, if you want your SaaS business to be taken seriously by enterprises, getting a SOC 2 certificate is a good idea.

Below, we take a quick look into cybersecurity compliance, how you can achieve it, and why a proactive strategy for cybersecurity is critical to your business.

Why Do SaaS Startups Need to Have Strong Cybersecurity?

Many startups and small businesses have limited visibility of cybersecurity and only see the operational constraints it presents and not the business opportunities it can create. Such narratives are grounded in assumptions such as limited budget and resources and lower risk of data breaches.

Their risk profile could be smaller, but not always. Whenever a small business seeks opportunities to work with enterprise customers, cybersecurity becomes a big deal. Companies that place cybersecurity at the core of their strategy are better equipped to protect their investments, mitigate the risk of data breaches, and implement a security culture throughout the organization and the businesses and customers they serve. In a tech chain, being the weakest link will cost you opportunities because of the security implications you present.

One way to prove your cybersecurity credibility is to pursue a SOC 2 certification.

What Is SOC 2 Certification?

SOC 2, also known as Service Organization Control Type 2, is a voluntary compliance framework established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). It is meant for third-party service providers like SaaS companies and gives guidelines on protecting customer data from breaches, security incidents, and other vulnerabilities. 

A SOC 2 certification provides concrete assurance to enterprises that the SaaS company they are working with has the necessary security measures to protect their data. Outside auditors assess your capacity to uphold high data security standards based on five trust service principles.

The principles are:


SaaS security best practices must include measures to prevent unauthorized access, theft, or removal of data, software, and other vital assets. SOC 2 auditors may look for security tools such as firewalls, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and intrusion detection tools. 


Availability refers to the monitoring of network performance and availability, site failover (being able to switch your operations to a backup system), and other ways your company handles incidents. SOC compliance terms for availability generally look at the availability of services per the terms of the user agreement or service level agreements (SLAs), which require building inherently fault-tolerant systems that withstand stress tests.

Processing Integrity

What is compliance, in simple words, in the context of processing integrity? It means that the systems are working the way they need to without delays, errors, omissions, or accidental manipulations. The evaluation is based on data inputs, the actual processing, outputs, and how the data is stored and protected.


Data being erroneously disclosed or accessed will severely hurt your confidentiality levels. Adherence to this principle requires that confidential data be encrypted at rest and during transit. You must have encryption, strong access controls, and other safeguards. In addition, when providing access to confidential data, companies must adhere to the principle of least privilege, granting the bare minimum permission or rights to get the job done but not giving out more information than is necessary.


SOC 2 certification requires the collection, storage, processing, and disclosure of any personally identifiable information (PII) adheres to the organization's data usage and privacy policy, along with the conditions prescribed in the Generally Accepted Privacy Principles (GAPP). Compliance examples for privacy include access control, multi-factor authentication, and encryption to protect any information that can be used to identify an individual uniquely.

You can listen to this conversation in Trava's podcast, The Tea on Cybersecurity, below.

Benefits of Becoming SOC 2 Certified for a SaaS Company

The journey to SOC 2 compliance certification can be lengthy and costly, often scaring people away. However, the return on investment is worth it – it's possible to equate monetary value to your company's bottom line, which is linked with SOC 2 compliance. Some notable benefits of SOC 2 compliance for SaaS companies include:

You Show That You Value Cybersecurity and Gain a Competitive Advantage

Reassurance is a great sales tool, and in addition, compliance opens opportunities with businesses that would otherwise be unreachable. Having a SOC 2 certificate demonstrates to other enterprises that you are prioritizing cybersecurity. Customers and other businesses alike prefer to work with SaaS companies that have robust cybersecurity practices. With a SOC 2 badge, you can go to a large company like Salesforce or IBM, and they won't be wary of you because you have shown proof of your risk management efforts.

You Can Effectively Improve Your Cybersecurity

SOC compliance does not just specify where security can and should be improved. Still, the in-depth assessment also highlights ways to streamline an organization's controls and processes. This pushes you to build strong and sustainable security processes instead of just putting out fires as they arise.

SOC 2 also saves you time and money in the long run as you don't have to fill out lengthy security documents for every enterprise customer. The documents can be very detailed and specific, making filling them a difficult task if you don't already have the right processes and documents in place. However, a SOC 2 compliance report allows you to quickly sell to enterprises as it highlights your SaaS security best practices.

Auditing Is Easier When You Are Smaller

Smaller SaaS companies benefit from their auditing processes being less complex while still in the formative stages. If your foundation is shaky, the audit can guide you toward fixing it. Starting early ensures a strong cybersecurity posture and improves your brand reputation since you have always had the processes and controls to protect against devastating consequences.

What Tools and Strategies Should SaaS Companies Use to Ensure Security and Compliance?

Compliance is tricky, it's true. Fortunately, SOC 2 compliance is flexible. Providers can choose which of the five principles they wish to be evaluated against, depending on their business requirements and clients' needs.

And even though SOC 2 reports aren't technically required. In practice, they have become an expectation among customers, especially enterprise brands. There are also compelling benefits that make getting SOC 2 compliance a good move.

It may all seem overwhelming, but at their foundation, the assessments for SOC 2 help you understand your cybersecurity posture and work towards eliminating weaknesses to continue to foster confidence among investors and customers alike. Third-party tools and software can facilitate some of the compliance processes involved. For example, SOC 2 compliance can be a resource hog that takes time, money, and human resources. However, with automation tools, you can improve the efficiency of the process and save on critical resources.

Are you struggling with cybersecurity, or are you clueless about where to begin? Reach out to our team of experts at Trava to learn more about cybersecurity and how we can help you improve your security posture.


We can help!  Talk to the Trava Team and see how we can assist you with your cybersecurity needs.