The modern enterprise handles a significant amount of valuable data. If this information is not guarded, it can end up in the wrong hands. Cunning digital criminals are lurking everywhere, waiting to pounce on inadequately protected information. To avoid costly data breaches, organizations have to comply with some standards. This is where Service Organization Control 2, or SOC 2 standards come in.
SOC 2 is an auditing procedure created by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). This procedure ensures that service providers or applications are securely managing any data in their hands to protect the customers and their business interests. After passing a thorough audit done by an independent and certified auditor, a SOC 2 certification is issued. SOC 2 is particularly relevant for companies that offer software as a Service and organizations that use the cloud to store client data.
SOC 2 Criteria For Managing Customer Data
To get the certification, the auditor has to verify that you are following some strict information security policies and procedures. A SOC 2 audit encompasses five trust services criteria highlighted below.
Security: this is the baseline criteria. You must demonstrate that you have taken adequate steps to protect your data systems from unauthorized access, disclosure, misuse, modification, and theft.
Availability: this checks whether your data system, services, or products are available for use and that they meet your organization’s goals. This includes having a data backup and disaster recovery plan.
Processing Integrity: this assesses whether your system processes or applications guarantee data integrity. This means your software must be professionally developed and tested to ensure it doesn’t misbehave.
Confidentiality: this is focused on making sure all valuable information is stored securely. This applies to personal customer information or any data that is sensitive. The data must be managed carefully to avoid exposure.
Benefits Of SOC 2 Compliance
Earning a SOC 2 compliance certification is very beneficial. Here are some advantages that you will enjoy.
Maintaining a brand image is not an easy fete in today’s digital world. A single breach, whether major or insignificant, has the potential to damage your reputation. Customers, partners, investors, and even banks want to work with entities that have taken adequate steps to protect themselves from harm. They are less likely to work with a company that has been hacked before. By earning a SOC 2 compliance certificate, you can rest assured that your brand image will remain positive.
Due to the rise in cybersecurity incidents, today’s clients are more security savvy. Hence, they demand products that have more security features. Being SOC 2 compliant demonstrates to your customers that you have gone the extra mile to guard their sensitive data, thus differentiating you from other startups. Since not all businesses are compliant, your company is set to gain an advantage. Also, being compliant ensures your valuable trade secrets aren’t leaked to your competitors, thus denying them an edge to beat you in your turf.
When complying with SOC 2 standards, you will get to learn a lot along the way. The insights you gain are essential, and they can help you improve your overall work approach. Complying will help you understand the different types of risks your startup may face and identify gaps in your security framework. Using this information, you will be in a position to manage client data better and develop effective security policies that will help to steer your organization in the right direction.
Compliance Helps You Focus On Innovation Rather Than Security
When all your efforts are directed toward security, you may get distracted from your main objectives. Concentrating only on security can lead you to waste critical time and money trying to mitigate real and imagined risks. Yet, such an unstructured approach will only waste your resources and keep you from reaching your potential. SOC 2 compliance helps you to establish a functional and robust framework, and at the same time, enable you to concentrate on your goals. After complying, you can now fully focus on improving your product without worrying about security threats.
Helps Prevent Financial Losses
Compliance helps you to adopt and implement policies that protect your customers and your business’ future. With such a framework, your startup will be less exposed to cyberattacks, and the effects of one will be limited. If non-compliant, an intrusion can cause significant financial loss. Your operations may grind to a halt, your clients and partners may stop working with you, and you may face legal penalties.
As a startup, it’s tempting to delay compliance with the various security standards available today. However, keep in mind that cybercriminals are increasingly targeting startups. By earning your SOC 2 compliance certification, your entity will be fully secure, and business opportunities will start knocking at your door.