A service organization controls (SOC) refers to criteria. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) developed them. They assess how well service companies protect their financial and customer data. CPAs use the criteria to audit if an organization complies with the controls. The auditors issued a report of their findings based on the SOC 2 spreadsheet.

More companies are moving to the cloud. They will look to SaaS providers to comply with SOC controls, including compliance for SaaS. SaaS providers can use SOC 2 reports. They show compliance to customers and investors. It can set them apart from the competition.

The first step in attestation is to understand what SOC 2 Spreadsheet compliance entails. You must also know which parts need testing. A SOC 2 compliance checklist can help organizations identify which trust services criteria (TSC) to include.

What is SOC Compliance?

SOC compliance has two main categories. SOC 1 focuses on financial controls for accurate reporting. SOC 2 ensures the security of customer data. Divide it into two categories.

  • SOC 2 Type 1. Auditors look at the security measures in place during a one-time assessment.
  • SOC 2 Type 2. Auditors assess how the security measures work over time. The assessments range from three months to one year.

SOC 2, Type 1 evaluates the policies and procedures to secure customer data. It is a snapshot of what controls are in place. It does not assess how the controls operate. Many organizations prioritize applying for Type 1 audits first. They need the documents during Type 2 assessments.

A SOC 2 report can expose confidential information on security measures that should not be publicly available. A SOC 3 report is a simplified version of a SOC 2 report, made for sharing by removing critical security details.

What is the SOC Compliance Checklist?

Most security frameworks, such as NIST 800-53 or ISO 27001, require companies to comply with the complete standard to achieve compliance. SOC 2 operates differently. Companies wanting to apply for SOC 2 compliance must first decide which of the five TSCs they will include in the audit.

Companies may choose from the following TSCs:

  • Security. How is data protected from unauthorized access?
  • Availability. How reliable is the system?
  • Processing Integrity. Does the system operate as expected?
  • Confidentiality. Are controls in place to limit access to protected data when stored?
  • Privacy. What processes are in place to protect personal information from unauthorized access?

All SaaS providers seeking SOC 2 compliance attestation must include Security in an audit. The remaining four service criteria are optional. Developing a SOC 2 compliance checklist can help focus an organization's efforts.

How do I Make a Compliance Checklist?

Using our SOC 2 compliance checklist pdf can help identify which criteria to include. Answering the following questions will help direct an assessment to critical areas.

  • Are you following any existing security frameworks such as NIST, HIPPA, or GDPR?
  • Can you leverage these frameworks for SOC 2?
  • Which trust service criteria need addressing?
  • Do you have the resources to conduct a self-assessment?
  • Where do we store critical data, such as personally identifiable information (PII)?
  • Is the protected data encrypted while at rest and in transit?

Once companies identify the TSCs, they can start a detailed checklist for self-assessment.

How do You Maintain SOC 2 Spreadsheet Compliance?

Once received, SOC 2 compliance is valid for one year. Organizations can maintain compliance through yearly self-assessments and audits. Putting together questionnaires and checklists can help streamline renewal processes. Creating a SOC 2 spreadsheet helps you see what you need to assess, what you have already assessed, and what needs to be re-evaluated.

Some organizations look at third-party providers for assistance. They can reduce the strain on internal resources. They do this while guiding an organization through the initial and renewal processes. Other companies use a hybrid approach, using internal resources for initial discovery and then turning to third-party experts for assistance.

Our team of compliance experts helps businesses navigate the SOC 2 process. They ensure businesses have accurately assessed their readiness for an audit. They work with SaaS providers to receive and maintain SOC 2 attestation. Please speak with our Compliance and Security experts to learn more.