Top 5 Things You Should know about SOC 2 Compliance

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Introduction

SOC 2 provides valuable insights into your organization’s security posture at any given time. It is an auditing procedure and a crucial framework that applies to all technology, product, and cloud computing service providers that store customer data. It ensures that companies securely manage data to protect the interests of your organization and the privacy of its clients.

SOC 2 Compliance report not only provides valuable insights into your organization’s security posture but also provides you with a competitive edge.

Passing the SOC 2 audit process provides you the much-required peace of mind that your systems and networks are secure. But a SOC 2 readiness test helps you locate the gaps in your procedures, internal controls, and documentation even before the auditor finds them.
Check your readiness score here. Following are the top 5 things based on our years of experience in helping companies with SOC 2 readiness:

Is SOC 2 mandatory?

SOC 2 is neither a compliance law nor a regulation. But It is a complex set of requirements that must be carefully addressed. Compliance is the key driver for Customer assurance.
A SOC 2 report is designed to protect customer data from unauthorized access and compliance is a crucial measure to avoid costly security breaches.

Tenets of SOC 2 Compliance

SOC 2 does not prescribe standards but simply audits and confirms that the processes are actually being followed in practice. In other words, it covers five basic trust service “principles”: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

Things to monitor for SOC 2 Compliance- Alerts, Triggers, Visibility

Alerts

SOC 2 requires you to set up alerts for:

  • Exposure or modification of data, controls, configurations
  • File transfer activities
  • Privileged filesystem, account, or login access

Triggers

SOC 2 prescribes alerts whenever there is unauthorized access to customer data

Visibility

You must have visibility at the host level. User activity, processes, network connections, and threat-prone areas require visibility. You should seek compliance mechanisms to conduct behavior-based monitoring to detect suspicious events.

Can I fast-track SOC 2 Compliance?

The answer to this question really depends on many factors – the size of your organization, your readiness score, the resources available, and the type of audit –SOC 2 Type 1 or 2 you need. Depending on these elements, Type 1 may take up to a month, while Type 2 may take 3 to 12 months. So, fast-tracking SOC 2 compliance is possible only when all resources – controls, policies and your technical stack are readily available and securely configured. Most companies start the SOC 2 path only after a customer requests an audit report. But, getting to a realistic timeline requires an expert recommendation and a dedicated team. We work with clients to pre-assess, identify critical tasks, and offer expert advice on project management to get you the realistic timeline.

What pitfalls/ mistakes should I prevent?

  • Not doing a pre-assessment: Not performing a readiness test, can lead to unexpected gaps and failures during the audit. It can also lead to a longer time to completion of the audit
  • Limiting to core applications: Some companies believe in testing security controls only on the core applications. What they don’t know is that some controls are non-technical in nature that can trip their security posture.
  • Not allowing ample time for the audit completion: Companies that need Type II reports need to be assessed for about 100 security controls which take time and in order to be compliant, they must put in ample time and effort.

How can we help you with SOC 2 Compliance?

Achieve your SOC 2 compliance attestation with our team of security experts of who can streamline the audit process, prep you for the journey, and help you succeed with SOC 2 compliance.

Read our SOC 2 Compliance Guide and engage with our team of security experts who can prep you for your SOC 2 journey, streamline the audit process and help you succeed at SOC 2.

Prepare for California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

California Consumer Privacy Act

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) offers California consumers control over their personal information, data privacy rights, and the right to know, delete, or opt-out of the sale of personal information collected by businesses.

Definition of CCPA

CCPA is a state-wide data privacy law that regulates how businesses can handle personal data of California residents. It was introduced on January 1, 2020, and is the first law of the kind in the United States.

 

Who is covered under CCPA?

Any for-profit entity that does business in California and collects, sells, or shares consumer data and,

·       Has annual gross revenue exceeding 25 million, or

·       Possesses personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, or

·       Earn more than half of annual revenue by selling consumer’s personal information

 

How does the regulation work?

Under the regulation, Californians are allowed to sue companies for failing to prevent data breaches and prevent personal data from being misused. Californians can also opt-out of sharing their data with companies under the regulation.

 

CCPA requirements

To comply with CCPA, one has to:

–        Identify and classify data assets

–        Find out where the CCPA personal information is located and stored

–        Determine the risky data and check access permissions

–        Locate personal data that is stale

–        Adjust required permissions

–        Deploy role-based access controls

–        Delete stale personal data

–        Monitor personal data against threats

–        Review data permissions continually

–        Adjust protocols against cyber threats

–        Organize relevant data

 

Consequences and Penalties for violations

There are two types of penalties for violations:

–        Civil penalties

–        Private Right of Action

Civil penalties

Civil penalties for CCPA violation includes:

–        2500 for non-intentional violation

–        7500 for intentional violation

Any business that cures its noncompliance within 30 days of being notified does not need to pay the penalties. However, some noncompliance cannot be cured.

Private Right of Action

–        $100 to $750 per customer per incident, or actual damages whichever is greater

–        Relief that courts deem to be proper

–        Declaratory or injunctive relief

 

Benefits and drawbacks of CCPA

Benefits:

–        Greater transparency from companies

–        Customers have the right to know about all data collected about them and will be able to request this data for free twice per year

–        Customers have the right to opt-out of getting data sold

–        Customers can request the data to be deleted, can sue companies if their data is stolen, and can stand against identity theft

–        Businesses get a competitive advantage that compliance brings

Drawbacks:

–        Regulatory compliance with CCPA means businesses need to get more work done to ensure compliance

–        CCPA can be costly to businesses

–        Customers can request businesses to either completely delete their data or keep all of it, a choice which is not always the customer’s choice

 

Best Practices for Complying with the CCPA

The best practices for CCPA compliance are:

–        Create an internal privacy framework that lays out how you will comply with CCPA

–        Do more with less data, by minimizing the data you collect, store, use and transmit

–        Automate compliance tools for data mapping tools, data protection, managing consent

–        Be specific about the posture of your internal and external privacy

Additional Resources for Further Investigation

Refer to the original CCPA link to get additional details about CCPA regulations.

 

Conclusion

Conforming to CCPA standards does not have to be much of a hassle. Databrackets is here to help. Our experts and consultants can help you get a cost-effective CCPA readiness assessment, so you can focus on profitability rather than wasting your time on understanding the ins and outs of CCPA to the core. Schedule a consultation with us today!

What do you need to know about SOC 2 certification?

Logo of SOC

SOC 2 Certification

SOC 2 (System and Organizations Controls) compliance can encompass everything from how your system runs, how you update job descriptions, how customer data is stored in the cloud, to how you onboard new hires.

SOC 2 certification ensures and gives the confidence to your customers that you secure your data and protect their privacy at all costs. It is no wonder that SOC 2 certification has emerged as one of the most sought after standards. It is an auditing procedure that is unique to each organization but essentially needs to comply with one or more trust principles and administered by AICPA.

SOC 2 certification trust principles

SOC 2 certification process includes the criteria for managing customer data based on security, availability, confidentiality, processing integrity, and privacy.

  • Security – deals with how the system is protected against access and theft
  • Availability – deals with the accessibility of the systems, services, and products of the organization
  • Processing Integrity – deals with how goals are achieved by the system
  • Confidentiality – deals with the confidentiality of the organization’s intellectual properties
  • Privacy – deals with the collection, usage, storage, retention, disclosure, and disposal of customer data

 

SOC 2 Certification Process

The SOC 2 certification process involves the following steps:

  • Decide the trust principles that you need to audit

The mandatory criterion for SOC 2 certification is security. The other trust principles are identified after collaboration with stakeholders.

  • Pick the right report

There are two types of SOC 2 audit reports; Type 1, which describes if a system meets the trust principles, and Type 2 which checks the operational effectiveness of the systems against the trust principles. Pick the right report that meets your needs.

  • Define the scope

Determine what you will test for and why. The scope usually depends on your reason for carrying out the audit, i.e. either you are carrying out the certification for vendor management, internal corporate governance, vendor management, or regulatory oversight.

  • Carry out self-assessment

Self-assess your system against the chosen security principles before actually hiring professionals to carry out the formal audit.

  • Undergo a formal SOC 2 audit from a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

A normal SOC 2 audit is carried out by CPA by carrying out employee interviews and assessing paperwork, screenshots, or logs.

  • Receive a SOC 2 report

The final step in the SOC 2 certification process is getting the final SOC 2 report that measures how well your system stands against the set security standards.

 

SOC 2 Certification Checklist

Before you start the SOC 2 certification process, there are a few things which you can follow regularly to make the process smoother:

  • Create an organizational culture of security
  • Revoke access rights of former employees
  • Manage access rights of current employees by creating users with unique access rights, centralizing user management, and monitoring user access
  • Follow data retention best practices according to industry standards
  • Automate and document every change by using centralized logging facilities provided by cloud solutions, version control systems like Github, or ticketing systems like Jira.
  • Implement correct procedures to deal with common vulnerabilities and exposure
  • Create policies and procedures best on industry best practices, and follow them to the core

 

SOC 2 Certification Cost

The typical SOC 2 certification cost for Type 1 report is typically 15,000 to 20,000 USD, while that for a Type 2 report can range from 25000 to 30000 USD.

 

Why SOC 2 Certification?

SOC 2 certification is on the verge of becoming the most sought after certification because of customer demands. Customers need proof of the fact that you protect your data from unauthorized access and theft. Additionally, in the long run, the price of getting SOC 2 certification is nothing when compared to being affected by a breach (average $3.86 million). SOC 2 can prove to be a protective measure that makes your organization more secure, hence avoiding costly breaches.

Needless to state, SOC 2 certification gives you a competitive advantage, peace of mind, and valuable insights into your organization’s security. Hence large companies like AWS, Microsoft, and other companies are SOC 2 certified. Getting SOC 2 certified is difficult, but the burden does not need to fall into you.

Databrackets can come to the rescue, and relieve you of the hassle of SOC 2 certification. We have certified security and privacy professionals who work in collaboration with partner CPA firms to help you meet your compliance needs with ease and with lower costs. Schedule a consultation with us today!