Any organization that provides online services, such as cloud hosting or payment processing, must do everything in its power to ensure client data is kept secure and private. In addition to being a matter of maintaining customer trust and building a strong brand reputation, it’s also about staying on the right side of the law by adhering to industry regulations.
While SOC 2 compliance isn’t a certification, it does set out the standards for protected client data according to five trust services criteria. These include security, availability, confidentiality, privacy, and processing integrity. However, despite laying the foundations for better security and information management, it does give organizations flexibility over how they deploy their processes, policies, and controls.
Related article: What Is SOC 2 and Why Is It Important For Your Business?
What does the SOC 2 audit process look like?
Unlike government-mandated regulations such as HIPAA and CMMC, SOC 2 compliance is not a certification, but an audit based on the professional opinion of an accredited firm. SOC 2 audits can only be given by a licensed certified public accountant, the body that standardized the SOC framework.
An SOC 2 audit provides regulatory oversight while aligning with internal risk management and corporate governance. For client companies, it offers assurance that they have achieve a high level of security maturity through measures like continuous vulnerability scanning. Managed IT service providers can provide this oversight, as well as share a degree of the burden.
Related article: How vulnerability scanning helps with SOC 2 data security
Way an MSP can make the SOC 2 audit process easier for you
#1. Reduce the burden on your in-house team
By now, most business leaders realize that information security is the responsibility of every member of the team. After all, anyone can be targeted by a social engineering scam, and all systems and processes come with their inherent vulnerabilities. That said, employees should also be free to focus on their primary roles, instead of getting bogged down in matters such as security and compliance.
Working with an MSP isn’t about replacing your in-house team. Instead, it’s about augmenting their capabilities by guiding them through the practices and processes necessary to create a safe and secure environment.
#2. Scale and adapt with evolving demands
As your company grows, so too do your needs to ensure your information assets are secured. The ability to scale with increasing demand presents a constant and growing challenge for a lot of businesses, especially when it comes to the trust service criteria of availability. As every new endpoint presents another potential entry point for hackers, it’s essential for businesses to stay one step ahead and ensure their security systems can remain available and effective.
A partnership with a dependable MSP helps alleviate the burden of scalability, allowing you to accommodate more clients, hire new employees, and roll out new technologies without adding unnecessary risk to your business.
#3. Get an outside perspective on security
Only a registered CPA can conduct an SOC 2 audit, so it’s not something you can do internally. While that might sound inconvenient, it’s actually a huge benefit to service providers, since it provides an opportunity to get a professional outside perspective on the state of your security and information management processes.
There’s a good chance an MSP will be able to identify potential vulnerabilities you hadn’t even thought of. Cybercriminals often work from the outside looking in, so it makes sense to get an external perspective if you want to thwart their advances too.
#4. Share the risk with an expert provider
Everything we do carries a degree of risk, and businesses need to find the right compromise when it comes to taking steps to mitigating risk and enabling growth and innovation. Another way to reduce risk is to share it. Cybersecurity insurance is an increasingly popular option, but partnering with dependable managed IT service providers can also help distribute the risk by shifting some of the burden over to them.
SOC 2 audits are based on the professional opinion and insights of the auditor, but managed IT service providers can do far more than just provide audits. They can also provide continuous vulnerability scanning, expert guidance, and everything else you need to attain a higher level of security maturity.
#5. Build trust with your target customers
As one of the most widely recognized standards, meeting the demands of SOC 2 can open up new lines of revenue. By demonstrating your efforts to comply and providing to your target customers that you are competent in your abilities to protect their data, you’ll be able to win more lucrative contracts, retain more clients, and expand your reach to new ones.
Given how the trust deficit is at an all-time high in the age of surveillance capitalism and rising cybercrime, following the trust services criteria defined by SOC 2 is itself a major competitive differentiator and a driver of business growth.
Charles IT helps businesses tackle the challenges of information security and compliance at scale with dependable services and expert consultations. Contact us today to learn more!