In our digital age, data security is a key concern. To protect your business from dangers such as data breaches, extortion, and malware attack, you need to take a proactive approach. But it doesn’t come cheap.
The Equifax data breach, for example, has become a well-known cautionary tale on the risks associated with poor information security. Beyond the harm done to consumer trust, the company also suffered massive financial losses.
However, we know that a SOC 2 audit represents a significant investment both in terms of time and capital. As a result, you may have serious doubts about taking that all-important first step. Whatever the size of your organization, you want to ensure you are well prepared before taking that leap.
In this article, we discuss some useful considerations that will help you plug any loopholes and safeguard your network efficiently.
What is SOC 2?
SOC stands for Service Organization Control.
SOC 2 is part of a series of assessments created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Typically, it provides a report on controls assurance concerning a particular set of a service organization’s systems. The period covered by the report is agreed upon between the service organization and the auditor.
The entire process is time-consuming and expensive so you need to be prepared.
How Do You Prepare for a SOC 2 Assessment?
Depending on the complexity of your system’s environment and the scope of the SOC 2 audit, getting ready maybe a bit of a challenge.
First, you need to consider why your business needs a SOC 2 audit and the Trust Services Principles that the audit will need to cover. In order to meet Trust Services Criteria, it’s important to examine various threats and how they can affect your internal controls. Possible risks may include:
- How your business operates
- The operating environment of your system
- The data types handled by your organization
- External business commitments
- Your organization’s level of technology
Although you may feel you have a handle on all possible weak points within your internal controls, it is highly advisable that you seek external guidance. This will ensure that you are perfectly placed not only to mitigate breaches but also to prevent them altogether.
What Is the Scope of a SOC 2 Report?
The scope of a SOC 2 report relies mainly on:
- The type of service offered by an organization
- The needs of its client base
For a thorough report, you need to find out which Trust Services Principles (TSPs) clients will need assurance with. Based on customer needs, your organization can come up with a relevant combination of TSPs to be included in the report.
At times, a step-wise approach may be suitable. Begin with the most important TSPs then gradually increase the scope. This will minimize any possible disruptions to everyday operations or target dates.
The five TSPs include:
- Security: this refers to protection against unauthorized physical and logical access to the system.
- Availability: the system can be operated as agreed.
- Processing Integrity: System processing is accurate, complete, authorized, and timely.
- Confidentiality: any information labeled “confidential” receives the agreed-upon protections.
- Privacy: the handling of personal information is in line with both the generally accepted privacy principles as well as the entity’s commitments.
Ready to Carry Out a SOC 2 Readiness Assessment of Your Business?
To safeguard your business against the embarrassment and financial setbacks associated with mishandled data, you need to take proactive action. A SOC 2 readiness assessment is the key first step. As soon as the recommendations from the assessment have been made, it is critical to act on them as soon as possible.
Planning ahead will enable you to get full value for your money from the subsequent SOC 2 audit. Due to the demanding nature of such a project, it’s advisable to assign a project manager to work closely with a reliable IT support provider such as Easy IT in Columbus.