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What You Should Do to Achieve SOC 2 Compliance

One of the business compliance standards that emerged to ensure data protection, is the Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2), introduced by the American Institute for CPAs (AICPA) in 2011. SOC 2 standards consist of reports developed to ensure that a service provider handling customer data must abide by the regulations to transmit, store, maintain, process, and dispose of data confidentially.

The road to SOC 2 compliance

One thing to note is that SOC 2 compliance is not mandatory. Still, since most companies and consumers are concerned about data security, most companies are getting SOC 2 compliance to build trust among business partners, suppliers, and customers.

Similar to other business compliance requirements, achieving SOC 2 compliance is challenging, and maintaining continuous compliance can be frustrating. It is vital to know the SOC 2 compliance checklist to see to it that you are following the requirements and preparing them accordingly. The checklist is essential in preparing for a SOC 2 audit, which will help you achieve SOC 2 compliance successfully.

1. Define your company’s objectives

You should understand the SOC 2 compliance covers criteria that will affect your organization. You should define which systems, procedures, and policies support the trust principles. Aside from the trust principles, you should consider your systems, such as the technology, locations, entities, people, services, and the timeline for your compliance initiative.

You should determine what you are going to test for in the SOC compliance process, such as:

  • Regulatory oversight
  • Organization oversight
  • Risk management process and internal corporate governance
  • Vendor management programs

2. Consider the five trust principles

  1. Security – determines how well you protect your data and systems against information disclosure, unauthorized access, and physical or internal damage to your systems.
  2. Availability – covers the availability of your systems and information for your business operations and meeting your goals.
  3. Processing integrity – applies to the assessment of whether your systems’ processing is accurate and complete and that you are only processing the information you are authorized to handle
  4. Confidentiality – ensures that you protect the confidential data using the methods you declared to use
  5. Privacy – this principle checks whether the consumer information you collect, use, retain, disclose or destroy strictly follows the Generally Accepted Privacy Principles and your organization’s privacy notice.

3. Choose the right report

Choose whether you want to test for SOC 2 Type 1 or SOC 2 Type 2, which will depend on your objectives and particular requirements. Type I report covers your organization’s system at a specific time, for example, one particular day. On the other hand, the Type 2 report covers your system and its suitability and effectiveness over an extended period, which may cover three to six months.

4. Assessment of your company’s readiness

A readiness assessment is your first step in preparing your SOC 2 report for audit. Assessing your system will help discover gaps in the security control framework. Checking your policies and procedures before the audit will allow you to check all your controls and perform the necessary corrections carefully.

Achieving SOC 2 compliance can take between six to twelve months. However, you can make the process as smooth and productive as possible by following the checklist and preparing everything accordingly.

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