What Are SOC 2 Compliance Requirements?

by Trava, Cyber Risk Management

Discover what SOC 2 compliance requirements are all about and how they can improve your business's overall cybersecurity.

SOC 2 Compliance ChecklistEvery firm, including those that outsource operations to third-party suppliers such as SaaS or cloud providers, should be concerned about information security. If data is poorly managed, especially by application and network security providers, it can make companies susceptible to attacks like data theft, extortion, and malware. To address this, companies employ compliance and security frameworks—these include SOC 2 compliance requirements, which also encompass compliance for SaaS.

These security frameworks assist in developing policies, processes, controls, and network and data security monitoring, demonstrating trustworthiness to clients.

Looking for a more striped-down explanation of SOC 2? Listen to our podcast episode: "Explain SOC 2 To Me Like I’m A Child" ⬇️

SOC 2 is a commonly used framework that ensures service providers keep data securely to preserve the organization's interests and customer privacy. SOC 2 compliance requirements are a baseline for security-conscious business entities when selecting a SaaS provider. This improves overall cybersecurity and delivers confidence to stakeholders, consumers, and new clients. In this post, we'll provide a SOC 2 compliance checklist to help you achieve and sustain compliance.

What Is SOC 2?

The SOC 2 framework is intended for all service businesses but is particularly popular among SaaS companies. In contrast to more rigorous cybersecurity frameworks, it allows for greater flexibility when implementing and auditing criteria. SOC 2 allows enterprises to determine how they apply cybersecurity controls as long as they match the criteria's aim and effectively manage risks.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) established the SOC 2 framework to give assurance about a service provider's cybersecurity procedures.

SOC 2 audits, both Type I and Type II, are based on five trusted service principles: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. A Type I audit checks if a vendor's security controls are designed to meet trust principles, while a Type II audit thoroughly validates whether these controls work as intended.

What Is SOC 2 Certification?

While sometimes referred to as SOC 2 certification, SOC 2 is essentially an attestation. Auditors do not certify companies; they attest to what they observe in the organization's security program.

What are the SOC 2 compliance requirements? The compliance standards are critical for proving a high degree of information security. Organizations demonstrate their accountability for sensitive information by conducting a thorough on-site audit. Meeting these rules lowers the likelihood of data breaches and privacy violations.

Compliance protects firms from undesirable outcomes, such as regulatory penalties and reputational harm, giving them a competitive edge. SOC 2 compliant firms can emphasize their security procedures to consumers because the standard requires data exchange only with other certified organizations.

What Are the Criteria for SOC 2 Security Trust?

SOC 2, a framework by the AICPA, relies on five Trust Services Criteria (formerly Trust Services Principles) for cybersecurity. These criteria address organizational controls, risk assessment, mitigation, management, and change management.

The five Trust Services Criteria are:

  • Security: Protecting data from faults and unauthorized access.

  • Availability: Ensuring that systems are dependable for staff and customers.

  • Processing Integrity: Ensuring that systems perform as intended.

  • Confidentiality: Protecting confidential info by limiting access.

  • Privacy: Safeguarding sensitive personal information.

Security is required for all SOC 2 audits; the others are optional, depending on the services given. However, many organizations lack the resources to meet all SOC 2 compliance requirements at once. That's why it is important to start with doable or impactful criteria and work your way up to more difficult ones.

Download our guide to get a better understanding on if SOC 2 or ISO 27001 is best for your company.

SOC 2 vs. ISO 27001:

In terms of cybersecurity and data privacy, these two standards are like heavyweights entering the ring. ISO 27001 and SOC 2 are data security standards that can help you increase company cybersecurity and secure consumer data.

Despite their similarities, SOC 2 and ISO 27001 are not equivalent. Each has a distinct use case, purpose, and market emphasis. As a result, many firms opt to follow both standards.

What Are Soc 2 Compliance Requirements?

SOC 2 requires firms to have an audit conducted by an external AICPA-accredited auditor, and there are two sorts of reports: Type I and Type II. SOC 2 Type II is critical for businesses that handle sensitive client information, such as cloud computing suppliers, IT service providers, SaaS, and data centers.

To adhere to SOC 2 Type 2 requirements, organizations must undergo an audit covering the following:

  • Infrastructure: Physical and hardware elements

  • Software: Programs and operating software

  • People: Personnel relevant to system operation

  • Procedures: Automated and manual procedures for system operation

  • Data: Information used and supported by the system

SOC 2 reports (Type I or II) are valid for a year. Beyond that, they become less valuable. So, scheduling a SOC audit every 12 months is a good practice.

Trava's virtual chief information security officers (vCISOs) provide expertise in prioritizing activities, planning cybersecurity investments, and preparing for SOC 2 assessments. Connect with the Trava Team to see how we can help you with your cybersecurity issues.


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