We’re at a point where most of us have heard about the staggering effects of data breaches on companies or their customers. Most of us have also experienced it first hand, especially with some of the high-profile cases of data breaches such as the Equifax breach in 2017.
When you do business, it’s up to you to protect your customers and clients, and this holds true for businesses of all size. Compliance software solutions provider Reciprocity points out that SOC 2 or SOC 3 have become the standard for every business that works online.
Some of the industries they name as being especially reliant on SOC 2 or SOC 3 (SOC stands for Service Organization Control) compliance standards include technology, retail, hospitality, media, healthcare, and government.
So, what should you know about SOC compliance?
SOC 2 and ISO 27001
In many ways, the best approach to understand SOC and what it really means to a business is to look through a comparison lens.
Two models that are often compared to one another are SOC 2 and ISO 27001.
SOC 2 is a highly detailed audit report that is used for service businesses. ISO 27001 is a certificate that outlines specific security policies and procedures businesses put in place to manage risk. SOC 2 is preferred more heavily in North America, while internationally ISO 27001 is more commonly seen.
ISO 27001 is more about control activities and more general information security risks, while SOC 2 reviews control for specific services that a business offers.
Comparing SOC 1, 2 and 3
Another comparison frequently used to provide more understanding of SOC is the one between SOC 1, 2 and 3.
An SOC 1 report is based on the SSAE 18 standard. This report focuses on internal controls within service businesses that play a role in financial reporting. An SOC 2 report looks at compliance regarding security, confidentiality, privacy and other elements referred as the Trust Services Principles.
An SOC 3 report is also based on the Trust Services Principle. However this report can be distributed freely as opposed to only being given to organizations relying on the services of the business.
SOC 2 for Cloud Providers
For cloud providers, SOC 2 is usually the most relevant framework to understand. The SOC 2 assessment looks at security, recovery, infrastructure and IT system controls. If you’re a cloud services provider, adhering to this standard is going to show clients that you do place a premium on security and that you’re putting in place best practices.
It can also be a good selling point for cloud services providers.
Ultimately, compliance is a complicated issue, but non-compliance can be incredibly expensive and can destroy a company in more ways than one. For businesses that are new to these compliance and regulatory issues, it can be best to work with an advisor and use a software solution that makes compliance management easier and more streamlined. Compliance software should have features including single deployment, a centralized reporting dashboard, and controls that provide visibility across multiple frameworks.