SOC2-Compliance for Non-Security People


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Publish Date :

November 1, 2022

SOC2-Compliance for Non-Security People

SOC2 iSOC2 is a security compliance standard. It requires companies to have policies in place to keep data safe. Its rigorous and neutral approach has made it essential for conducting business. SOC2 assessment can be expensive. The audit itself is costly, and it can cost even more to implement the auditors' recommendations afterward.

Outlined here are fundamental and help non-security personnel understand and navigate the world of SOC2 compliance.

Part 1. Understanding SOC2: The Meat and Potatoes

The SOC2 certification ensures that five important principles are adhered to. These principles include safeguarding personal information, securing systems, preserving data confidentiality, verifying the accuracy and completeness of processing, and maintaining service availability. Translated into everyday language, these mean that your services in the proposed cybersecurity solution: 

  1. Are consistently available for users to access 
  2. Work as intended and with high quality 
  3. Have measures in place to protect secrets 
  4. Data Security: Protect PII (Personally Identifiable Information) and user data from being accessed by other parties, and finally 
  5. Assets are protected against hackers and not vulnerable to simple security misconfigurations caused by not adhering to current best practices 

Security and compliance engineers can break general principles into specific tasks. Let's discuss cybersecurity companies separately. But with that overview, if you are anything like me, you are already much less intimidated by the menace of SOC2. There is a good chance your business already has processes and policies in place to serve the same goals listed above. SOC2 does not intend to replace existing processes. It only checks if any parts of the policies are not up to the standard of industry best practices.

Attaining SOC2 compliance requires evaluating processes from a security perspective. These processes must be updated to meet current best practices. The SOC2 standard itself is just a guideline for doing that. In other words, SOC2 helps you do something you already care about and are certainly doing on some level. It is essential to note that not all Managed Cybersecurity Security Services Companies are created equal. When looking for a Cybersecurity Company to help you with SOC2 compliance, ensure they have a successful track record. Verify their past accomplishments to ensure they can meet your needs.

Find a company with extensive knowledge in the field. Ensure the company has a team of experienced professionals. These professionals should be able to supply the necessary guidance and support during the process. A Cybersecurity Services Company should be able to customize its services to meet individual needs. This ensures that you get the most value from your investment.

With the right Cybersecurity Services Company by your side, achieving SOC2 compliance does not have to be a daunting task. So why not adopt industry best practices? 

Part 2. Implementing SOC2: The Nitty Gritty

Before starting your company's journey towards SOC2 compliance, ask yourself and your team three important questions. 

Exploring if it is beneficial for a business to become certified with SOC2 is the primary focus of this text. It is important to understand what SOC2 is, but not to become overly obsessive or devoted to it. It is also possible that obtaining such certification may not be the most effective way for certain Cybersecurity Services Companies to proceed. Small, consumer-facing startups are not likely to benefit much from SOC2. This standard primarily exists to address the scaling security problems of larger enterprises. Attaining SOC2 compliance is not necessary unless one of the following applies:

  • Your business is already of a substantial size.
  • You are collaborating with other companies who require it. 

SOC2 standards may not be suitable for smaller organizations, but they can still benefit from alternative security measures.

The OWASP Foundation provides free resources specifically tailored to the needs of startups. These resources can be used to further increase security. Assuming you want to learn about the SOC2 trend, we can continue. The next important consideration for business or non-technical people should be taken into account. 

Second, do you want to rely on in-house security and compliance engineering talent or outsource to a third-party auditor? Unless your enterprise is large (as at least 1,000 people), a third-party auditor is certainly a necessity. The internal engineering team can likely implement the recommendations produced by a third-party auditing team. However, accurately interpreting the standards is difficult and should be done by experts.

In the end, you are likely to spend more money when you fail and retry audits. Small startups can feel the temptation to try to read the specs and do their best. However, to save money, contracting a reputable cybersecurity company to perform the audit is the best option. It is worth investing a small amount of cash from the start. 

A dedicated internal compliance team, covering SOC2 and other standards, is justified. To reach the desired security posture, duality is essential. This can be achieved with a combination of Compliance and Security Engineers. The former will create actionable tasks, while the latter will implement technical and process controls. The compliance plus security engineer combo of interpreter and doer is a magic recipe for success in internal compliance. And not just for SOC2, but for almost any compliance standard relating to security." 

Third, how will you choose an auditor, and how much should it cost? This price question at least has an easy, objective answer based on market research. The cost of SOC2 ranges from 20,000 USD to 50,000 USD. This depends on the size, complexity, depth, and rigor of the audit for your organization. It is not just the cost of the audit that is expensive. Implementing the audit's recommendations also takes time and money. Cybersecurity companies can help with this, but that can easily consume another 10,000 USD if not more. 

As for choosing a specific auditor, that is a bit hairier. Technically speaking, any certified public accountant affiliated with the AICPA can do a SOC 2 audit. But you will want to go with a cybersecurity company with significant experience in this work. 

It provides the best value for money. It ultimately comes down to a balance between price and quality. Your decision will depend on the factors that motivated you to investigate SOC2 compliance.

Part 3. Wrapping up

SOC2 compliance is often time-consuming and expensive, but these traits are not intrinsic to becoming compliant. Businesses that have mastered compliance find it to be a standard, simple part of their quarterly policy enforcement.

We hope this guide will give you a solid start towards reaching that position. SOC2 is not an end goal. It is a tool that can help improve your business relationships. This can lead to more clients wanting to work with your company since it is compliant.

Security compliance standards, like everything, are only hard until you understand them. We hope you feel a little closer to understanding and less confused than when you woke up today. 

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