3 SOC 2 Compliance Mistakes
With SOC 2 compliance becoming more frequent in SaaS, and in many cases being pursued for the first time by teams with competing objectives, auditors are noticing certain recurrent patterns of errors.
There aren't enough resources. There's also a lack of communication and understanding about what SOC 2 is, among other things. So, how can you avoid these common pitfalls if you're embarking on a compliance project? What are some common blunders to avoid?
In this guide, we’ll break down three common mistakes leaders and auditors make when it comes to SOC 2 compliance.
What is SOC 2 Compliance?
SOC 2 compliance is a voluntary (not required) compliance standard for service organizations that describes how firms should maintain client data. The security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy Trust Services Criteria are used to create the standard.
A SOC 2 report is adapted to the unique needs of each company. Depending on its business processes, any firm can implement controls that follow one or more trust principles. These specific reports provide regulators, business partners, and vendors with critical information about how an organization manages its data. SOC 2 reports are classified into two groups. Type I examines the organization's systems to see if they are built in compliance with the trust principles that apply. Type II describes the operating efficiency of these systems.
Working with a provider that has met the SOC 2 standards is a form of assurance from the perspective of a potential customer. It means you can offer them the information and guarantees they require about how you process and protect users' data.
SOC 2 compliance is much more than just easing organizational control. The reports generated throughout the compliance process, according to the AICPA, can be useful in vendor management programs, internal corporate governance and risk, management procedures, and regulatory monitoring.
3 SOC 2 Compliance Mistakes to Watch Out For
Focusing only on application security controls.
The SOC 2 compliance audit is unquestionably focused on security. You shouldn't, however, restrict your focus to application security measures alone.
Instead, the following elements should be included in the compliance process:
- Reporting. The company should be able to show that various information systems are being used successfully to record controls. This would include things like security rules, procedures, standards, recommendations, and physical access reports, among other things.
- Risk Assessment. A risk assessment is another crucial part of SOC 2 compliance. By detecting, analyzing, and responding to possible hazards to their information systems, a risk assessment helps to show the security mechanisms in place.
- Writing Policies. SOC 2 compliance policies describe what a company expects of its employees and the procedures in place to ensure that those expectations are met. An auditor will examine the company's policies to ensure that they are well-defined and that all personnel are aware of them.
- Monitoring Risk. Identifying risk factors isn't enough; you also need to make sure that effective risk monitoring is taking place inside the company. Several components of this process will be evaluated by auditors, including policies, processes, reporting, and remedial measures.
Companies must also plan for the implementation of their offboarding, onboarding, and governance rules. Remember that disregarding the non-technical aspects of SOC 2 compliance will result in non-compliance.
Not training employees properly, or at all.
We know that humans are responsible for around 85% of data breaches. That implies that if your staff hasn't been adequately taught to avoid data breaches, harsh penalties such as fines and punishments might be on the horizon. Hackers are always coming up with new ways to breach networks and steal sensitive data. As a result, it's critical to hold frequent training sessions and keep personnel up to speed on security awareness standards.
You're putting your firm in danger of social engineering if you don't provide your staff SOC 2 compliance or security awareness training. Social engineering costs businesses millions of dollars every year. Worse still, just 45 percent of businesses provide enough cybersecurity training to their staff. Your employees deal with client data on a regular basis, from entering it into the company's database to sharing it with authorized users.
As a result, they should be aware of SOC 2 compliance requirements. This is especially true in healthcare settings, where personnel have direct access to sensitive information about patients. Because hackers target employees who are least aware of security procedures, staff training is critical.
Although it is the employer's obligation to give such training, you may also seek assistance from a firm that specializes in cybersecurity and offers training to help your staff become SOC 2 compliant, such as Accountable HQ.
Not letting leadership become a part of the SOC 2 compliance process.
Formalizing a SOC 2 compliance process necessitates a significant investment of time and money, as well as participation from all levels of management. Many businesses make the fatal error of failing to include leadership in the SOC 2 compliance process. If your leaders are on board with the program, they will be able to successfully explain its benefits to other employees and keep them engaged.
Leadership is responsible for creating security policies and procedures, as well as providing resources to support these objectives. Your SOC 2 compliance strategies may go down the toilet if they aren't included in the entire process and are only contacted when things go out of hand.
The audit's duration and length, as well as the SOC 2 compliance itself, must be understood by the organization's leadership. If you need to make modifications to your compliance plan, make sure you let the management team know.