soc 2 readiness

Securing customer data has become paramount for organizations in today’s digital world. With increasing cybersecurity threats and regulatory requirements, businesses need to demonstrate their commitment to protecting sensitive information. One way to accomplish this is by achieving SOC 2 readiness.

SOC 2, or System and Organization Controls 2, is a widely recognized auditing standard that evaluates an organization’s controls related to:

  • Security
  • Availability
  • Processing 
  • Integrity
  • Confidentiality
  • Privacy

Let’s explore the essential guidelines and principles that are behind SOC 2 readiness.

Understanding SOC 2 Guidelines: Adherence to the Rules

To achieve SOC 2 readiness, organizations must adhere to specific SOC 2 guidelines set forth by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). These guidelines outline the criteria that an organization needs to meet to be considered secure and reliable when it comes to handling customer data. The SOC 2 framework consists of five SOC 2 trust principles.

1. Security

The security SOC 2 principle assesses whether an organization has implemented suitable measures to protect its systems from unauthorized access or breaches. 

It includes policies and procedures related to:

2. Availability

Availability refers to the accessibility of a system or service as agreed upon with customers or users. This SOC 2 principle ensures that organizations have appropriate redundancy measures in place to minimize downtime due to unexpected events such as power outages or hardware failures. It also involves disaster recovery planning and ensuring regular backups are performed.

3. Processing Integrity

Processing integrity focuses on verifying that all data processing activities are accurate, complete, timely, and authorized by valid users. 

Organizations need robust controls in place to ensure data is processed correctly through various stages, such as:

  • Input Validation Controls
  • Data Transformation Controls 
  • Output Reporting Controls

4. Confidentiality

Confidentiality requires organizations to protect sensitive information from unauthorized use or disclosure

This SOC 2 principle encompasses the:

  • Safeguarding Customer Data with Access Controls
  • Encryption Methods
  • Secure Transmission Protocols
  • Employee Training on Handling Confidential Data

5. Privacy 

The privacy SOC 2 principle assesses whether an organization has implemented appropriate measures to comply with applicable privacy laws and regulations. 

It involves:

  • Obtaining Consent for Collecting Personal Information
  • Providing Clear Privacy Notices
  • Limited Use of Collected Data
  • Establishing Procedures for Complaints & Inquiries Related to Privacy Concerns

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Preparing for SOC 2 Readiness: What You Need to Know

Achieving SOC 2 readiness is a comprehensive process that requires careful planning and implementation of robust controls. 

Here are some steps organizations can take to prepare for SOC 2 compliance.

1. Define Scope

Determine which systems or services will be included in the SOC 2 assessment scope. This may involve identifying critical applications, networks, data centers, or third-party service providers that handle customer data.

2. Conduct Risk Assessment

Perform a thorough risk assessment to identify potential vulnerabilities and risks associated with the systems within the assessment scope. This will help prioritize control implementation efforts based on their impact on SOC 2 trust principles.

3. Develop Policies & Procedures

Create comprehensive policies and procedures that address each SOC 2 principle outlined in the framework. 

These documents should clearly define:

  • Roles & Responsibilities
  • Security Incident Response Plans
  • Backup and Recovery Procedur