soc 2 controls

Safeguarding patient data and confidential information requires a constant eye on evolving standards and regulations. The Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 is an auditing framework that assesses an organization’s commitment to security and privacy. We’ll review SOC 2 controls and their importance to chief information security officers (CISOs) and other leaders. The latest updates to the SOC 2 security controls guidelines and how compliance software can help your organization stay on top of critical changes are also discussed.

How Organizations Benefit from SOC 2 Controls

SOC 2 is a mandatory framework that tech companies and healthcare service providers use to protect patient information and other sensitive data. SOC 2 security controls ensure that patient and customer data are confidential, secure, available, and private. Furthermore, SOC 2 compliance verifies that an organization securely uses, shares, and stores sensitive and private information. It also communicates an entity’s commitment to the highest cybersecurity standards in the industry.

Two types of SOC 2 controls exist, and they differ in the lengths of their audits:

  • SOC 2 Type 1 controls assess whether security measures are correctly designed. This report typically takes weeks to complete.
  • SOC 2 Type 2 controls evaluate the extent to which controls function as designed. This audit can last 3-12 months.

Based on the Trust Services Criteria (TSC), developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the SOC 2 controls list, regardless of type, represents five facets of data protection:

  • Security—Preventing unauthorized access through logical or physical means. Security measures include encryption, monitoring, and access controls.
  • Availability—Preventing and reducing downtimes and enabling continuity of operations so that services and systems are operational when needed.
  • Integrity—Verifying the validity, completeness, timeliness, and accuracy of the system and its processing functions.
  • Confidentiality—Safeguarding personal and sensitive data from unauthorized disclosure and access.
  • Privacy—Ensuring proper collection, use, disposal, and sharing of personal information.

Each TSC has Points of Focus that auditors pay special attention to during their assessments. By enlisting an external auditor to conduct and generate a SOC 2 report, an organization can ensure that it holds data security and privacy to the highest standards, including the five TSCs.

Updated SOC 2 Guidance

Although compliance regulations undergo routine updates, it’s important to remember that the TSCs comprising the SOC 2 controls remain valid. The 2022 revisions to the TSCs are intended to clarify the requirements further, making them relevant to emergent technologies and the corresponding threats to data security. In particular, the revised Point of Focus for each TSC provides the following that can inform auditors’ investigations:

  • Additional clarity on the risk assessment process
  • More detail on disclosure requirements
  • Revised attestation standards
  • Extended examples of risks

In your next SOC audit, you might notice greater emphasis on the following:

  • Accuracy—More clarity in guidance addressing documentation completeness and accuracy during the audit process
  • Data management—Greater scrutiny of data storage, backup, and detection protocols
  • Privacy—Stronger controls over data privacy

You might not view these changes as significant, but they could mean you’ll see the following in your next SOC 2 audit:

  • Deeper privacy spot checks, particularly on security aspects like access limits and data encryption
  • Enhanced reviews of data management issues, such as storage and backup systems
  • Questions requiring more detail about the risk areas highlighted in the updated Points of Focus

How Compliance Software Can Help

The complexities of SOC 2 controls compliance can be challenging to manage without the right tools and support from an experienced compliance service provider. The best SOC 2 compliance software package can help you identify key risk areas, make your security process more efficient, and protect all sensitive information.

Compliancy Group’s SOC 2 readiness software can support your organization’s compliance and convey your commitment to safety and security. 

Get Ready for SOC 2 with Software

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