Companies want their customers to trust implicitly. When your customers trust your company, success and profit indeed follow. For many companies, a vital trust mechanism is passing a SOC 2 audit and demonstrating your Attestation Report. Many already know that SOC 2 success is necessary, but many may not realize it is resource and time intensive for those unfamiliar with the process. In this blog, we want to make sure you come away with a firm understanding of what SOC 2 entails and, perhaps even more important, show you that there is an accessible, streamlined, and better way to prepare for SOC 2 self-assessments and the formal audit process itself.
What is SOC 2?
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) developed a framework (SOC 2 or System and Organization Controls 2) for technology services or companies (i.e., SaaS) that utilize cloud storage for customer data. SOC 2 ensures that compliance and risk practices are in place, so consumer data is safe. SOC 2 defines criteria for managing customer data based on five Trust Service Principles developed by AICPA — security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.
In short, if your business model includes storing, processing, or transmitting customer data information, you most likely need to achieve SOC 2 certification to be competitive in the market.
Key SOC 2 Facts
SOC 2 is US-based
SOC 2 focuses on security controls to protect customer data
SOC 2 audits take from 6-12 Months and can cost around or upwards of $15K
Successful SOC 2 audits render an Attestation Report
Businesses should seek a new SOC 2 report every year, which means annual audits
The Two Types of SOC 2
Type 1 reports contain descriptions of the service organization's system(s) and the suitability of the design of controls as of a specified date.
Type 2 reports cover everything in Type 1 plus descriptions of the operating effectiveness of controls over a specified period of time.
Checklist: Things You Need for SOC 2
Implement policies for the applicable trust services criteria that pertain to your organization to ensure that your organization protects data according to protection levels. Controls are perhaps the most critical part of the SOC 2 certification process.
Have Controls policies and documentation that address each applicable aspect of the SOC 2 framework. You need to demonstrate activities or actions for each control requirement, i.e., control owners and cadence of activities/tasks. This needs to be done before your first SOC 2 audit period.
Have system descriptions and overviews of each system's functions, what they do, a list of all available offerings and features, and general system information such as which version is used.
Prepare an audit scope or Trust Services Criteria the auditor should use during the assessment. This includes any regulatory requirements and contractual commitments your company must follow.
Have all operational documents ready that support the delivery of your product within the audit period in question. This may include lists of current employees, organizational structure charts, change trackers, security incident reports, and repositories of third-party vendors.
When all security controls, systems, and processes are in place, you must engage a third-party auditor to assess if you comply with one or more of the five SOC 2 Trust Services Criteria.
Checklist: Tips for a Successful SOC 2 Audit
Define process owners.Make sure to focus on stakeholders' alignment to determine who owns what before launching documentation of processes.
Start now; you can always make changes as you progress. Aligning the SOC 2 Trust Services Criteria to your controls is an excellent launching point once process owners are defined, even if you don't have them yet. Whether you are new to SOC 2 or a seasoned pro, always consider how SOC 2 aligns with the current or advancing controls you are implementing. You will continue to adapt controls as you identify requirements and gaps.
Use a phased approach to ensure success. Work through the Type 1 audit before moving on to the more comprehensive Type 2 audit report.
Alternatively, to prepare for a SOC 2 Type 2 report, engage in a SOC 2 Pre-Assessment or Readiness Assessment performed by a third-party auditor. This can help to proactively identify improvement areas within your organization’s in-scope processes before performing a formal SOC 2 Type 2 audit.
Test, Test, Test. Ensure pre-audit gap analysis and remediations are sorted before auditors perform their audit. It is safe to plan for around three months.
LogicGate Can Help Streamline Your SOC 2 Journey
If all this sounds like a lot, it is. SOC 2 journeys have as many chapters as they do challenges. It takes time and resources, from educating process owners to managing evidence and documentation to compiling auditor requests. The good news is that there is a modern and easy-to-use platform that can make your SOC 2 journey smooth sailing. LogicGate's Risk Cloud efficiently maps business processes, audits infrastructure and security practices, and effectively identifies and corrects gaps or vulnerabilities within one holistic GRC platform.
You can win at risk by owning your risk story. Don't let manual work get in the way of a successful SOC 2 audit. With Risk Cloud'sSOC 2 Compliance Application you can easily automate tasks and provide next-level reporting that will make you the talk of the board room.
Learn more about LogicGate's SOC 2 Compliance Application to see how it can help your organization prepare for and achieve a SOC 2 attestation report. Request a demo or visit us at logicgate.com.
Learn how LogicGate's customer, Amount, used Risk Cloud to gather evidence of controls quickly, attain SOC 1 Type 2 and SOC 2 Type 2 certifications, and make their processes even more robust.Read the full case study.