If you own or manage a B2B Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) business, you have likely heard about (and probably needed to get) SOC 2 compliance certification. As a company that stores or processes sensitive or confidential client information, you need to provide your client organizations with proof that their data is secure and assist them in building trust and integrity with the businesses they serve.
Many consider the best method to build trust is to obtain a SOC 2 audit report.
It is not a straightforward “join the dots” exercise, instead, it is a complicated set of criteria that must be carefully examined. However, it doesn’t have to be confusing or exasperating. That is why we at Akitra decided to curate this blog that simplifies SOC 2 compliance for you by answering 4 of the most frequently asked questions about this crucial compliance framework. Our objective is to give you factual information that you can use as a guide to improve your understanding of SOC 2’s complex regulatory structure better.
Earlier on, we had already covered the first part of our FAQ series on SOC 2, so if you want to glance at the first part of this guide, you can do so by clicking right here.
Let’s get into it!
What is a SOC 2 Audit Report?
SOC 2 has superseded the SAS70 and SSAE 18 compliance frameworks.
Based on AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria (TSC), a SOC 2 audit report gives thorough information and assurance about a service organization’s security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy controls.
- Letter of opinion;
- Management claim;
- Thorough explanation of the product or service;
- Specifics regarding the types of trust services chosen;
- Tests on the controls and test outcomes; and,
- Technical details, plans for new systems, information on business continuity planning, or clarification of contextual matters are all examples of optional additional information.
The audit report also specifies whether the organization complies with the TSC.
If you want to know more about SOC 2 and the benefits of achieving certification, click right here.
Also, if you would like to gain an in-depth understanding of the Trust Services Criteria that govern the process of SOC 2 certification, click right here.
4 FAQs about SOC 2 Compliance
How does a service organization management select the kinds of trust services to be included in the SOC 2 examination?
Selection is based on the organization’s understanding of the user needs and what it intends to convey to those users. The management of a service organization is responsible for choosing the trust services category or categories to be included within the scope of the evaluation.
Security controls are a main area of interest for system users due to the rising reliance on technology among service businesses, their clients, and business partners, including worries about cybersecurity risks and their effects on operational procedures. As a result, management will include the security category within the examination’s purview for the majority of service businesses. Service organization’s management typically takes into account the obligations it makes to its clients and business partners when deciding which other categories to include and address in the investigation, as in the following examples:
- A SOC 2 examination that addresses the security and availability categories is likely to meet the informational needs of a service organization that provides IT infrastructure services to its customers and business partners. Such an organization may have made commitments to its customers and business partners regarding security and system availability.
- A service provider that manages secret or private information for clients, partners, or customers may make commitments to uphold the information’s confidentiality or privacy. In this situation, consumers’ expectations might be satisfied by a SOC 2 audit that includes the security and the confidentiality or privacy categories.
Does there exist a minimal set of controls or a standardized template of controls that businesses may use to help guarantee that controls are properly developed based on the relevant trust services criteria in a SOC 2 examination?
No, there isn’t a required minimum set of controls or standardized template of controls that helps guarantee controls are properly crafted to satisfy the relevant trust services requirements. A service organization should put in place specific controls to reduce risks that management has recognized as having the potential to keep it from delivering on its service promises and system requirements. Because of this, no organization is required by the trust services criteria to have any particular controls in place. Instead, the trust services criteria define the results that such controls should reach in order to fulfill the service promises and system needs of a service organization.
Does the SOC 2 guide establish a minimum time period for a type 2 SOC 2 examination (the commonest of SOC 2 audits)?
There is no minimum amount of time required for a SOC 2 examination in the SOC 2 handbook. After taking into account the informational requirements of the intended users, service organization management determines the time period to be covered by a SOC 2 examination.
The auditor takes the time period to be addressed into account when deciding whether to accept a SOC 2 engagement as well as if there will likely be enough pertinent evidence available to support a conclusion on operating effectiveness. Although choosing the right length of time is a matter of professional judgment, paragraph 2.46 of the SOC 2 Guide offers an illustration that could be useful to a service auditor in making that choice.
Why do I need a SOC 2 audit report?
Often a SOC 2 report is necessary because your customers want you to be SOC 2 compliant or they won’t buy from you.
If they do decide to purchase from you and you do not have a SOC 2, they will subject you to additional security checks and lengthy questionnaires to complete.
Having an on-hand SOC 2 report eliminates the headaches and challenges of answering a never ending stream of questionnaires, enabling your sales team to close more business with shorter sales cycles and a higher closure rate.
SOC 2 Compliance Made Easier with Akitra!
Establishing trust is a crucial competitive differentiator when courting new business in today’s era of data breaches and compromised privacy. Customers and partners want assurance that the organizations with whom they do business are doing everything possible to prevent the disclosure of sensitive data. Compliance certification fills this crucial need.
Akitra offers an industry-leading, AI-powered Compliance Automation platform for SaaS companies. Using automated evidence collection and continuous monitoring, together with a full suite of customizable policies and controls as a compliance foundation, our service helps customers become certified for SOC 2 (along with other frameworks like SOC 1, ISO 27001, HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS and NIST 800-53). Our compliance and security experts will also provide you with the customized guidance you need to confidently navigate the end-to-end compliance process.
The benefits of our solution include enormous savings of time, human resources, and money — including discounted audit fees with our audit firm partners. Customers achieve compliance certification fast and in a cost-effective manner, stay continuously compliant as they grow, and can become certified under additional frameworks using a single, streamlined compliance automation platform.
Build customer trust. Choose Akitra TODAY!
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