Now more than ever, many companies are migrating their on-premise and data center workloads to cloud hosting options. Receiving a SOC 2 report lets you and your users know your cloud applications are safe and secure.
Going through a SOC 2 audit for cloud security is a great way of evaluating your security program and cloud workloads, and verifying the cloud service provider’s internal controls by external parties to ensure compliance.
But, what is SOC 2 compliance? Who needs SOC 2 compliance?
Here’s everything you need to know about SOC 2 for cloud security:
What Is SOC 2 Compliance?
SOC 2 is an auditing procedure developed by the AICPA, made to ensure proper and secure data management. A SOC 2 report translates into security validation for your company, clients, and partners, and shows that sensitive data is being stored safely, and privately.
With vendor security becoming more and more important to enterprises and customers, many security-conscious clients will not use a SaaS provider or software solution unless they are SOC 2 compliant and have a current SOC 2 report.
SOC 2 requirements are reviewed through an involved technical audit, where organizations provide documentation and evidence on their security program’s current state. Then, the auditor works with the company to provide proof of security program controls and SOC 2 internal controls. The best way to achieve SOC 2 certification is by knowing how to prepare for your SOC 2 audit.
The SOC 2 Audit
SOC 2 audits can be quite demanding. Cloud providers need to collect their evidence and documentation, and ensure they’re proof enough for the auditor.
The audit process will usually involve these steps:
- Security Questionnaire: Usually provided by the auditor, this questionnaire revolves around your company’s security program, policies, infrastructure, and implemented technical controls.
- Evidence Collection: Your teams will need to provide evidence of how effective your controls are, this includes gathering policies and evidence around technology controls.
- Evaluation and Follow-up: In some cases, the auditor may ask for additional evidence or answers around your security controls, so you may need to share additional information on specific parts of the controls.
- Report Creation (Certification): Once the auditor has gathered enough information on the effectiveness of your organization’s controls, the auditor will write up the SOC 2 report for your organization. This report acts as a summary and assessment of your organization’s overall security controls as related to SOC 2 internal controls.
So, how long does it take to achieve SOC 2 compliance? It’ll largely depend on the type of SOC 2 report you’re going with.
SOC 2 Reports
There are two types of SOC 2 reports:
- SOC 2 Type I: Examines the controls placed by the organization at that moment, describing the process, and ensuring they meet the right trust criteria.
- SOC 2 Type II: Examines the controls placed by the organization over a period of time, describing the process, and ensuring they are continually in-place and your team is in compliance with the audit’s standards.
Preparing and achieving SOC 2 certification may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Companies like Dash ComplyOps can help your team prepare and achieve SOC 2 certification in the cloud. Here’s how.
SOC 2 and Cloud Security
Many public cloud platforms including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure go through 3rd party audits and have security programs with numerous security certificates and attestations. For example, AWS keeps current SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 reports. These security programs provide customers with a certain level of trust and show that the cloud provider has gone through a 3rd party audit and meets specific SOC criteria related to their data-centers and cloud platforms.
Unfortunately, just because a cloud provider has a current SOC 2 report, using the cloud platform does not automatically make your company “SOC 2 compliant”. In order for your team to achieve SOC 2 Type 1 or SOC 2 Type 2, your organization will need to go through your own security audit with a SOC 2 audit firm. This audit firm will confirm that your team has all necessary cloud security controls required to meet SOC 2 trust criteria. Once your team has gone through a successful SOC 2 audit, you will receive a SOC 2 report/certification.
Do You Need SOC 2 Compliance for Cloud Security?
While SOC 2 is a 100% voluntary security/auditing standard, it is still critical for many clients. Companies and software vendors operating in regulated industries or working with enterprise companies, often achieve SOC 2 certification in order to show the company’s commitment to securing data. While SOC 2 compliance isn’t necessarily required for you to do business, it can definitely help your company attract your next prospect and simplify procurement.
Going through an SOC 2 audit and receiving a SOC 2 report provides your team with more security awareness around sensitive data and personally identifiable information (PII), how it’s used, and how it’s stored. SOC 2 provides clients with a picture of your team’s current security controls and how your team is protecting sensitive data. For companies operating in the public cloud, SOC 2 helps validate cloud security standards including access control, encryption, backup and disaster recovery procedures.
SOC 2 can be the first step on other compliance achievements. SOC 2 Type 1 is, in itself, can be a good first step to achieving SOC 2 Type 2 compliance. In addition, your team will have established a relationship with an auditor, allowing you to better prepare and pass future security audits and attestations.
Preparing and Implementing SOC 2 Controls
Ready to get started? We know implementing SOC 2 controls can seem like an overwhelming task. However, by choosing the right auditor, you’ll ensure the process is as effective and goes as smoothly as possible.
Teams can get started in 3 easy steps:
- Determine SOC 2 Audit Scope: Teams should assess what SOC 2 Trust Service Criteria (TSC) their organization will be assessed on and determine a timeline for preparing for a performing a SOC 2 audit.
- Perform a Readiness Assessment: Teams should inventory all security controls and determine gaps within their security program. Security teams may consider turning to partners such as Dash ComplyOps to prepare and achieve SOC 2 compliance.
- Go through 3rd party SOC 2 Audit: Teams should work with an established auditing firm to complete a SOC 2 audit and receive your SOC 2 report.
Dash has helped numerous companies prepare for and achieve SOC 2 certification. Learn how Dash ComplyOps can help your team start building your SOC 2 cloud security program today.