Why Is Cybersecurity Risk Assessment Vital to SOC 2 Compliance?
If you manage a business, you already know that it can be exposed to many cyberthreats. This is why businesses conduct a variety of security measures such as network risk assessments. There are numerous cybersecurity strategies that business owners can take to avoid cybersecurity incidents, starting with knowing your risk level, i.e., zero, low, medium, or high.
Knowing your company's cybersecurity risk assessment is crucial as it helps you determine what security measures to implement or whether your existing measures are adequate.
What Is a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment?
A cybersecurity risk assessment helps identify, analyze, and evaluate risks unique to a company. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a cybersecurity risk assessment must involve examining specific risks to IT assets, operations, people, and the entire organization for every operational step that uses data systems.
A good risk assessment should address important security concerns such as:
- What your most valuable assets are
- What impact data breaches have on your company and your customers’ data
- What specific threats target your industry
In certain industries, cybersecurity risk assessments are required by regulatory authorities, such as the General Data Protection Regulation, which lay a baseline of security standards to ensure that all organizations are adequately protected.
How does a cybersecurity risk assessment help with SOC 2 compliance?
Any organization that uses the cloud to store customer data must comply with the Systems and Organizations Controls version 2 (SOC 2), a crucial component of the American Institute of CPAs’ Service Organization Control reporting platform. Although not mandatory, obtaining SOC 2 certification provides many important benefits.
SOC 2 requires organizations to create solid and clearly outlined security policies covering the following components: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and cloud data privacy. This entails monitoring systems for suspicious activity, including unauthorized access, phishing attempts, and zero-day threats. Your organization must be able to distinguish between a normal activity from an abnormal one on your cloud infrastructure. This can be done by implementing network security assessments and similar measures.
A cybersecurity risk assessment is thus vital to SOC 2 compliance. With a cybersecurity risk assessment in place, your organization benefits from a continuous monitoring service, which is an inherent part of risk assessment.
These are the ways a risk assessment procedure for network security can help your business.
- Avoid data breaches – The main reason to conduct a cyber risk assessment is to avoid data breaches. Knowing the risks unique to your organization is key to preventing them.
- Ensure compliance – It’s also a practical first step to ensure compliance with various regulations. Regularly conducting a risk assessment keeps your organization one step ahead of any changes in compliance rules, making it easier for you to comply whenever rules evolve.
- Cost-effective risk management – A SOC 2 audit entails costs, with the best-guess estimate starting at $20,000 or higher, depending on factors such as the scope of the report and the size and nature of the business. Still, these costs are a lot less than the cost of mitigating a data breach, which can be in the millions of dollars. The foresight that a risk assessment provides significantly reduces, if not eliminates, the likelihood of succumbing to threats and consequently failing to comply with SOC 2 and other kinds of audits.
Related reading: SOC 2 Explained: SOC 2 Type 1 Vs. Type 2 Compliance
- Greater insights into your business – Conducting risk assessment gives you deep insights into your business, including your security position and your overall level of preparedness for threats, which will then help you assess your readiness for a SOC 2 audit. You benefit too by gaining greater insight regarding your operations and/or growth prospects.
- Enhanced communication – Complying with SOC 2 requires different business departments and stakeholders to combine efforts. The IT teams or outsourced IT experts handling SOC 2 compliance must communicate every aspect of the process to business decision-makers who will then be tasked with communicating its importance to the entire organization.
A cybersecurity risk assessment improves business communications across levels. Every staff member and executive must know how to practice good cybersecurity habits, who to report in case of one, and how to respond to any possible cyberattack.
Let the experts at Charles IT conduct your security assessments. We’ll ensure all bases of your SOC 2 compliance are covered. Get in touch with our team by calling us or leaving a message.