Organizations that do a lot of business online transmit a large amount of sensitive data every day. Cybersecurity breaches can happen anytime, so it's vital for businesses to take extra measures to ensure that private digital information is protected from various cyberthreats. One way to do this is to get a SOC 2 certification.
What Is SOC 2 Certification?
Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2) is an auditing process created by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) to ensure your organization protects the privacy of your customers. The SOC 2 features five trust principles, which are:
This measures how well your systems and data are safeguarded against unauthorized information disclosure or access.
Availability refers to whether your systems and data are available for use and operation to meet your organization's goals.
- Processing integrity
Processing integrity focuses on how your company processes data, specifically whether it is timely, accurate, and authorized.
Confidentiality is concerned with the protection and handling of confidential customer information as guaranteed or agreed upon.
This principle covers how your company collects, uses, retains, discloses, and destroys the personal information of your customers. Is it in accordance with the Generally Accepted Privacy Principles (GAPP) and your organization's privacy agreement?
Related article: What Is SOC 2 Compliance And Why Is It Important For Your Business?
How to Get a SOC 2 Certification?
If you're looking to get your company SOC 2 certified, here's a step-by-step guide to help you with the process.
- Select the trust principle you would like to focus on
Not all trust principles will apply to every company, so your first step is to identify which of the five trust principles apply to your organization. For example, if your business only stores customer data and doesn't process any information, then you don't need to be audited for the processing integrity principle.
- Work with a third-party auditor
Once you've identified the trust principle or principles you want to focus on, the next step is to work with a third-party auditor. Working with a trusted outside auditor will help you examine your company's security policies with complete objectivity and give you a clearer picture of your current cybersecurity processes against SOC 2 compliant processes.
Knowing the status of your cybersecurity processes will help you develop a roadmap to achieving SOC 2 compliance. It includes implementing multifactor authentication, reconfiguring your cybersecurity infrastructure, and installing file integrity monitoring and vulnerability scanning software.
- Conduct tests
The next step is to conduct comprehensive tests to evaluate your organization's current cybersecurity posture against SOC 2 standards. You can partner with a trusted managed IT services provider (MSP) like Charles IT to perform a security gap assessment to identify any cybersecurity weaknesses in your infrastructure. This will allow you to resolve any issues before the actual SOC 2 audit.
Related article: How Managed IT Services Can Help With SOC 2 Certification Requirements
- Undergo the actual audit
The SOC 2 audit must be performed by an independent certified public accountant (CPA). During this time, the auditor will check if your cybersecurity systems are SOC 2 compliant and if you're following the correct processes in managing those systems. You'll be required to answer questions regarding confidentiality and security, and submit evidence that you are adhering to the cybersecurity protocols you implemented.
Once the auditor has determined that your cybersecurity processes are well-documented and strictly followed, you will receive a SOC 2 certificate based on the trust principle you selected.
- Maintain certification
Once you receive your SOC 2 certification, you have to ensure you maintain it. Your organization needs to conduct annual audits to guarantee that your cybersecurity measures can keep your customers' sensitive information safe from mishandling and emerging cyberthreats.
Getting your organization SOC 2 certified is a good way to show your customers you are taking the proper steps to keep their information safe. If you want to make sure your Connecticut business passes its SOC 2 audit, let our IT experts here at Charles IT conduct a gap assessment to give you a better understanding of your current cybersecurity posture. Call us today to learn more!