SOC 2 is a compliance standard for service organizations, developed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). It specifies how organizations should manage customer data. The SOC 2 framework is applicable to all technology service providers or SaaS Product companies that store customer data. They are required to ensure that security controls and practices are designed and implemented effectively to safeguard the privacy and security of customer data. There are several benefits of being SOC 2 Compliance.
This security framework does not provide a specific list of controls and tools. It merely cites the criteria required to maintain a high level of information security. It is up to each organization to establish the practices and processes relevant to their own objectives and operations. SOC 2 Certification is based on 5 Trust Services Criteria: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy of customer data.
Basics of SOC 2 Compliance
There are several components of becoming SOC 2 Compliant, a SOC 2 gap assessment, implementation of identified gaps, a SOC 2 audit and SOC 2 report that needs to be understood before you begin this journey. Getting SOC 2 Compliant fast is a marketing gimmick.
SOC 2 Compliance versus SOC 2 Certification
Being SOC 2 Compliant is essentially having a valid SOC 2 report by an independent third-party CPA firm. Technically, SOC 2 is not a certification – it is the auditor’s opinion of control efficacies on protecting data, also known as a ‘SOC 2 Attestation’. A SOC 2 attestation is based on the Trust Services Criteria and is provided by a registered CPA firm authorized by the AICPA. Usually, a SOC 2 report is valid for a year and the organization is required to engage the same or a different CPA firm to conduct the next SOC 2 audit.
*We would like to share that the official term is ‘SOC 2 examination’. In the industry the term ‘SOC 2 compliance’ is used interchangeably. Similarly, the official term is ‘reporting’, while the commonly used term is ‘certification’ interchangeably to help put the content into the appropriate context.
Experts at databrackets have extensive experience in supporting organizations align their processes with AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria and prepare for a SOC 2 Audit. Our unique approach to SOC 2 readiness not only brings in experts from the industry but also leverages our assessment platform to identify controls, collect the required evidence and collaborate with auditors. If you would like to connect with an expert to better understand SOC 2 and plan your SOC 2 journey, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation.