In the ever-evolving landscape of software as a service (SaaS), compliance is paramount for businesses as well as their customers. For many businesses, navigating the world of data security and privacy is stressful, and can even be overwhelming.

That’s why adhering to standards like the SOC 2 framework is so essential. More specifically, understanding the five pillars of SOC2 is crucial for SaaS providers aiming to safeguard their own data and assets while building trust and credibility with their clients.

Compliance for SaaS and the SOC 2 framework are integral components of ensuring data protection and security for both businesses and their customers. Keep reading as we answer some of the most commonly-asked questions about the SOC 2 framework and its key elements.

What Is SOC Compliance?

“SOC” stands for System and Organization Controls, and SOC compliance means an organization’s access and security controls effectively meet industry standards. While SOC compliance isn’t always mandatory, when an organization not only attests to their system controls but is also audited (and certified) by a qualified third-party. There are SOC 1 and SOC 2 controls, which mainly vary based on their scope.

Why Do I Need SOC 2 Compliance?

SOC 2 compliance is essential for organizations that store, process, or transmit data. By meeting SOC 2 compliance requirements, companies protect their own data, systems, and assets—as well as their customers’ sensitive data—from unauthorized access.

Especially as customers continue to grow more security-minded and concerned with how companies protect their data, demonstrating SOC 2 compliance is an important step for any organization to take. It shows that the organization takes security seriously, which builds customer trust.

What Is the SOC 2 Framework?

The SOC 2 framework categorizes SOC 2 requirements into five key areas, better known as the Trust Services Criteria. These criteria were jointly created by the Assurance Services Executive Committee (ASEC) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) organization, and provide a repeatable structure for SOC 2 audit preparation.

What Are the Principles of the SOC 2 Framework?

SOC 2 is built upon five trust principles that outline criteria for evaluating an organization's systems and processes. These principles, also sometimes referred to as to as the SOC 2 five trust principles, are:

  1. Security

  2. Availability

  3. Processing Integrity

  4. Confidentiality

  5. Privacy

These principles provide a comprehensive framework for assessing and addressing risks related to data security and privacy within an organization.

What Are SOC 2 Audits Used For?

SOC 2 Type II audits assess the effectiveness of an organization's controls over a specified period. Common criteria evaluated during these audits align with the five Trust Services Criteria of SOC 2, ensuring that not only are controls in place, but that they are working effectively as well.

What Are the 5 Trust Services Criteria Required for Every SOC 2 Audit?

Every SOC 2 audit must adhere to the five Trust Services Criteria, which serve as the foundation for evaluating an organization's controls: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. SaaS providers can utilize SOC 2 compliance checklists and reference the Trust Services Criteria to ensure comprehensive coverage of their controls.

Within SaaS, compliance with standards like SOC 2 is essential for establishing trust and safeguarding sensitive information and other assets. By understanding the five pillars of SOC 2 and adhering to the Trust Services Criteria, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to protecting sensitive data and meeting the needs of their clients.

For SaaS providers seeking guidance on SOC 2 compliance, implementing robust controls aligned with the Trust Services Criteria is of the utmost importance. By doing so, organizations can gain customers’ confidence and trust—and differentiate themselves in a competitive market.

Ensure Your SOC 2 Compliance with Trava

Maintaining SOC 2 compliance is essential for SaaS providers looking to thrive in today's digital landscape. By embracing the five pillars of SOC 2 and integrating the Trust Services Criteria into their operations, organizations can enhance security, build trust, and drive success in an increasingly regulated environment.

You’re not in this alone. At Trava, we provide a wide range of cybersecurity services and solutions, including everything you need to prepare for a SOC 2 audit. We recommend checking out this blog post to learn more about how we guide companies through their SOC 2 compliance journeys, or schedule a call to learn more about our services.