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What is SOC Compliance?

In today’s digital landscape, cyber threats are a growing concern for many organizations, and ensuring the security and integrity of sensitive data is non-negotiable. From heightened cyber threats rose the need for cybersecurity audits that are capable of measuring the security posture of an organization. A Service Organization Controls (SOC) audit is one of the most popular methods of cybersecurity audits today and is often seen as a keen differentiator between businesses that take cybersecurity seriously and those who do not.

The SOC framework is governed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). AICPA is responsible for establishing the criteria that an organization must meet to become SOC compliant. Once a SOC audit is complete, AICPA will provide a special logo that can be used as a signifying display of compliance.

SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3

The SOC framework consists of three different types of SOC audits that an organization could undertake: SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3. Depending on the type of organization, one may wish to only undergo one SOC audit or multiple. The three different reports have different scopes and intended audiences.

Audit Type Purpose Audience
Soc 1 Examine internal controls surrounding financial reporting. Auditors and users of internal financial systems.
Soc 2 Examine internal controls that cover security, confidentiality, processing integrity, privacy, and availability of customer data. Auditors, customers, and stakeholders.
Soc 3 Examine internal controls that cover security, confidentiality, processing integrity, privacy, and availability of customer data. General public.

Understanding SOC 2

SOC 2 is arguably the most common form of the SOC audits, as it focuses on many security-related internal controls and is intended to demonstrate reliability to auditors and customers. Unlike other security frameworks, SOC 2 is not motivated by legal requirements, it is simply a way to prove to customers that there are organizational methods in place to safeguard customer data.

Trust Services Criteria

The SOC 2 framework contains five Trust Services Criteria that are evaluated in an audit, however, only one of the Trust Services Criteria is required, with the rest being optional. The Trust Services Criteria include:

Security is the one required control within the Trust Services Criteria. This criterion inspects the internal controls that protect systems and information from unauthorized or malicious access.

Availability reviews controls that operate and maintain systems, ensuring that they maintain uptime and performance that aligns with organizational needs.

The processing integrity Trust Service Criterion examines organizational data and data processes to ensure that it is free of unintended and indescribable errors.

Confidentiality examines an organization’s capability to protect and data throughout its lifecycle. From collection, processing, storage, use, and disposal, the confidentiality Trust Service Criteria reviews if data is secured.

This Trust Service Criterion reviews the collection, storage, and use of Personally Identifiable Information, otherwise known as PII, within an organization and aims to determine if PII is dealt with in a secure manner.

Type I Versus Type II

SOC 2 features two different types of assessments that an organization may choose to undergo. The type of audit chosen determines how the SOC 2 controls are examined. A SOC 2 Type I Audit review controls at a single moment in time, meaning that the auditor will only look at your systems as they exist during the time of the audit.

On the other hand, a SOC 2 Type II audit reviews controls over a period of time. Typically, this timeframe is between 3 and 12 months, but the time can vary. This type of audit provides a higher level of confidence and trust to customers since it ensures that organizational controls are well implemented and operate effectively over an extended duration.

Preparing for a SOC 2 Audit

Preparing for a SOC 2 assessment looks different for all organizations. In order to receive the desired results from a SOC audit, it is essential to be fully prepared. Preparation includes choosing which Trust Services Criteria will be included in the audit, choosing which type of SOC 2 audit will be performed, and possibly even undergoing a SOC 2 readiness assessment. Engaging in a readiness assessment can help identify weak areas in internal controls that can be resolved before an actual audit takes place.

Achieving SOC 2 Compliance with Egis

Egis IT Security serves organizations within the Indianapolis metropolitan area and across the United States to help them prepare for SOC 2 assessments. Egis is dedicated to helping others understand and implement the necessary controls for their business. With our extensive expertise and years of experience, Egis can offer tailored solutions to help your organization align with industry standards, allowing you to focus on your business. To assist organizations with their SOC controls, we can:

  • Improve upon current IT policies and procedures
  • Meet with your auditors
  • Perform vulnerability assessments
  • Continuously monitor your websites, networks, and servers
  • Recommend, sell, and deploy a variety of products as needed
  • Perform security awareness training
  • Consultations