Say you have developed your innovative, ready-to-rock-the-world SaaS product and are now gearing up to sell it to prospective customers. But now you’re worried about how you can demonstrate the security of your product in a believable, confidence-inspiring way, so your customers can rest assured that their data is secure.
Well, this is where a SOC 2 audit report comes in. But compliance frameworks can be intimidating to get started with and to even know who needs to be involved, both inside and outside the company.
Believe it or not, your SOC 2 certification can require as few as two people – but there’s a secret to that too. Learn about all this and more in this third part of our blog series on SOC 2 compliance.
Let’s get into it.
How can you Provide Proof of Security as You Sell to the Market?
If demonstrating your company’s security is becoming a roadblock to growth — you’re spending lots of time answering security questionnaires, having lots of calls with customers to reassure them about your security, and finding that the sales process is grinding along too slowly — it might be time to consider getting certified for SOC 2. You’ll find that a SOC 2 report in hand will open a lot of doors and speed you through any questions about security.
Cybersecurity concerns tend to be even more front-and-center for your enterprise customers and their users, so you may find that they apply even more scrutiny in the procurement process than the rest of your customers. But for any B2B SaaS organization like yours, regardless of customer base, SOC 2 is not just a nice-to-have – it’s a necessity.
Who’s Involved in a SOC 2 Audit Process?
In an earlier post, we explained what a SOC 2 audit is and what benefits it provides your SaaS firm – but who actually needs to be involved in getting ready for the audit? And who conducts the audit itself and certifies that your company and its products are compliant with SOC 2’s standards?
A certified auditor, a CPA, must analyze and verify your company’s security measures in order to conduct a SOC 2 audit. This audit can only be performed by an audit company with one or more CPAs who can issue an auditor’s opinion – much like the role that CPAs perform for auditing financial statements.
In addition, the AICPA mandates that CPA firms be independent in order with respect to their compliance clients, in order to ensure that audit results are accurate and unbiased. You may use an in-house auditor to help prepare for the audit, but only an external auditor can perform an audit that results in a valid SOC 2 attestation report.
For a service organization, a SOC 2 audit focuses on verifying the design of compliance controls and the operational efficacy of those controls. The SOC 2 criteria that are applied in assessing controls fall into five Trust Services Categories (TSCs), of which only the Security category is mandatory. The others are at the option of the company itself and whether it wishes to comply with them. Availability and Confidentiality are also commonly selected by firms, and less commonly Privacy and Data Integrity are part of the audit as well.
In your company, who decides which SOC 2 TSCs to seek certification for? That’s usually an executive level decision by the CEO, CTO, CISO or compliance officer.
As for who in your company is going to actually manage and participate in the audit readiness process, that largely depends on the size and structure of your organization. At minimum, there is a “compliance coordinator” who acts as the project manager.
Other employees at your firm whose work deals with information security, availability and the like may also be involved. This is most likely to include engineering and IT team members – people who have an intimate knowledge about the operations at your firm or the workings of your product – and potentially others from functions such as HR and Legal.
Here’s the secret…
Expedite the Process with Compliance Automation!
That’s right — introduce a little automation wizardry to the mix! You cannot solely depend on a CPA to guide you through the process, unless you want to pay a lot of consulting fees above and beyond the cost of the audit itself. That cost can run into many tens of thousands of dollars, especially if your policies, data, and documentation are all over the place! Instead, use compliance automation software to guide you and fast track the whole process, for you and for the auditors alike.
Akitra’s Andromeda Compliance provides you with a compliance automation system that guides you through the whole audit readiness process efficiently. You don’t have much by way of security policies or documented processes? Akitra will provide you with a comprehensive set of customizable policies and controls to create the foundation for your information security program.
Akitra provides connectors to all your cloud services: the AWS/Azure/GCP services as well as all the other services such as HR, collaboration, project management, DevOps, productivity and so on. It continuously monitors those systems to collect relevant compliance data, which become the core of the evidence required for your audit
Your auditor can then verify that the policies, controls and evidence produced within Akitra’s Andromeda Compliance platform meet the requirements of the SOC 2 criteria. Collaboration tools facilitate quick and easy communication between all the players involved. At the end of the readiness and audit process, you have a complete, fully-attested, SOC 2 report!
With Akitra’s help, you can streamline your SOC 2 readiness and audit process to complete it all in less than half the time normally required by manual processes, at an affordable price that won’t dent your budget.
Check back in with us soon and follow the rest of this educational series about SOC 2, from Akitra, a leader in compliance automation platforms.
To book your FREE DEMO, contact us right here.