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What is SOC 2? A Guide for the Uninitiated

What is SOC 2? A Guide for the Uninitiated

What is SOC 2? A Guide for the Uninitiated

10 Nov 2023

In today's data-driven world, companies are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their commitment to data security, not just for their own peace of mind but to build trust with their stakeholders. This is where SOC 2 comes into play. But what exactly is SOC 2?


Defining SOC 2

SOC 2 is a framework that outlines how service based organisations should protect data from unauthorised access, security incidents, and other vulnerabilities.


Developed by the American Institute of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), SOC 2 is a framework for evaluating and reporting on the operational controls of service organisations. SOC stands for Service Organization Control.


In simpler terms, when a company achieves SOC 2 compliance, it means they've established strong security measures to protect customer and client data.


The Five Trust Services Criteria

SOC 2 focuses on five key trust services criteria: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

  1. Security: This is the foundation of SOC 2. It ensures that systems are protected against unauthorised access, both physically and digitally. This principle involves measures like two-factor authentication, firewalls, and intrusion detection.

  2. Availability: This principle focuses on the system's operational performance and uptime. Measures like network performance and backup procedures are put in place to ensure that the system remains available for use as agreed upon.

  3. Processing Integrity: This ensures that systems process data as intended in a complete, accurate, timely, and authorised manner that is free from bugs, vulnerabilities and errors.

  4. Confidentiality: Data designated as confidential should be treated as such. This principle ensures that confidential data remains secure and is disclosed only to those who are authorised to access it.

  5. Privacy: The privacy principle deals with how personal information is collected, stored, processed, disclosed, and disposed of. It's focused on protecting personal data as per a company's policy or the privacy notice.


Although organisations have the flexibility to decide which Trust Services Criteria to incorporate in their audit, the Security Criteria is mandatory for all SOC 2 reports. The standards employed to evaluate this criterion are referred to as the Common Criteria, often referred to as the CC-series. This list comprises nine subcategories that lay the groundwork for organisations to build upon.


For more information, take a look at our blog post Decoding the SOC 2 Common Criteria List.


Why SOC 2 Matters

With the rise of cloud computing and third-party solutions, companies are increasingly relying on external service providers. This means businesses are not only responsible for their own data security but also for ensuring their partners follow robust security practices.


When a company is SOC 2 compliant, it sends a strong signal to its customers, partners, and stakeholders that it is serious about data security. It's not just about ticking a box for compliance; it's about building trust.


The Difference Between SOC 1, SOC 2 and SOC 3

SOC 1 evaluates an organisation's internal controls over financial reporting, whereas SOC 2 and SOC 3 examine the organisation's control over one or more of the Common Criteria List. Unlike SOC 2, SOC 3 is not a private report—it is used to showcase publicly how effective an organisation's internal controls are.


For more information, take a look at our blog post The Difference Between SOC 1, SOC 2 and SOC 3.


SOC 2 and ISO 27001

ISO 27001 specifies requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and improving an information security management system (ISMS). It includes 93 controls across 4 themes, the majority of which map to SOC 2 Trust Services Criteria.


For more information, take a look at our blog post The Intersection of SOC 2 and ISO 27001: Which is Right for My Company?


Conclusion

In the digital age, data breaches and security threats are becoming increasingly common. But with frameworks like SOC 2, companies can be better equipped to face these challenges head-on. Achieving SOC 2 compliance is a commitment to data security, operational integrity, and building trust with those who matter most—clients and customers.


In today's data-driven world, companies are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their commitment to data security, not just for their own peace of mind but to build trust with their stakeholders. This is where SOC 2 comes into play. But what exactly is SOC 2?


Defining SOC 2

SOC 2 is a framework that outlines how service based organisations should protect data from unauthorised access, security incidents, and other vulnerabilities.


Developed by the American Institute of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), SOC 2 is a framework for evaluating and reporting on the operational controls of service organisations. SOC stands for Service Organization Control.


In simpler terms, when a company achieves SOC 2 compliance, it means they've established strong security measures to protect customer and client data.


The Five Trust Services Criteria

SOC 2 focuses on five key trust services criteria: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

  1. Security: This is the foundation of SOC 2. It ensures that systems are protected against unauthorised access, both physically and digitally. This principle involves measures like two-factor authentication, firewalls, and intrusion detection.

  2. Availability: This principle focuses on the system's operational performance and uptime. Measures like network performance and backup procedures are put in place to ensure that the system remains available for use as agreed upon.

  3. Processing Integrity: This ensures that systems process data as intended in a complete, accurate, timely, and authorised manner that is free from bugs, vulnerabilities and errors.

  4. Confidentiality: Data designated as confidential should be treated as such. This principle ensures that confidential data remains secure and is disclosed only to those who are authorised to access it.

  5. Privacy: The privacy principle deals with how personal information is collected, stored, processed, disclosed, and disposed of. It's focused on protecting personal data as per a company's policy or the privacy notice.


Although organisations have the flexibility to decide which Trust Services Criteria to incorporate in their audit, the Security Criteria is mandatory for all SOC 2 reports. The standards employed to evaluate this criterion are referred to as the Common Criteria, often referred to as the CC-series. This list comprises nine subcategories that lay the groundwork for organisations to build upon.


For more information, take a look at our blog post Decoding the SOC 2 Common Criteria List.


Why SOC 2 Matters

With the rise of cloud computing and third-party solutions, companies are increasingly relying on external service providers. This means businesses are not only responsible for their own data security but also for ensuring their partners follow robust security practices.


When a company is SOC 2 compliant, it sends a strong signal to its customers, partners, and stakeholders that it is serious about data security. It's not just about ticking a box for compliance; it's about building trust.


The Difference Between SOC 1, SOC 2 and SOC 3

SOC 1 evaluates an organisation's internal controls over financial reporting, whereas SOC 2 and SOC 3 examine the organisation's control over one or more of the Common Criteria List. Unlike SOC 2, SOC 3 is not a private report—it is used to showcase publicly how effective an organisation's internal controls are.


For more information, take a look at our blog post The Difference Between SOC 1, SOC 2 and SOC 3.


SOC 2 and ISO 27001

ISO 27001 specifies requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and improving an information security management system (ISMS). It includes 93 controls across 4 themes, the majority of which map to SOC 2 Trust Services Criteria.


For more information, take a look at our blog post The Intersection of SOC 2 and ISO 27001: Which is Right for My Company?


Conclusion

In the digital age, data breaches and security threats are becoming increasingly common. But with frameworks like SOC 2, companies can be better equipped to face these challenges head-on. Achieving SOC 2 compliance is a commitment to data security, operational integrity, and building trust with those who matter most—clients and customers.


In today's data-driven world, companies are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their commitment to data security, not just for their own peace of mind but to build trust with their stakeholders. This is where SOC 2 comes into play. But what exactly is SOC 2?


Defining SOC 2

SOC 2 is a framework that outlines how service based organisations should protect data from unauthorised access, security incidents, and other vulnerabilities.


Developed by the American Institute of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), SOC 2 is a framework for evaluating and reporting on the operational controls of service organisations. SOC stands for Service Organization Control.


In simpler terms, when a company achieves SOC 2 compliance, it means they've established strong security measures to protect customer and client data.


The Five Trust Services Criteria

SOC 2 focuses on five key trust services criteria: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

  1. Security: This is the foundation of SOC 2. It ensures that systems are protected against unauthorised access, both physically and digitally. This principle involves measures like two-factor authentication, firewalls, and intrusion detection.

  2. Availability: This principle focuses on the system's operational performance and uptime. Measures like network performance and backup procedures are put in place to ensure that the system remains available for use as agreed upon.

  3. Processing Integrity: This ensures that systems process data as intended in a complete, accurate, timely, and authorised manner that is free from bugs, vulnerabilities and errors.

  4. Confidentiality: Data designated as confidential should be treated as such. This principle ensures that confidential data remains secure and is disclosed only to those who are authorised to access it.

  5. Privacy: The privacy principle deals with how personal information is collected, stored, processed, disclosed, and disposed of. It's focused on protecting personal data as per a company's policy or the privacy notice.


Although organisations have the flexibility to decide which Trust Services Criteria to incorporate in their audit, the Security Criteria is mandatory for all SOC 2 reports. The standards employed to evaluate this criterion are referred to as the Common Criteria, often referred to as the CC-series. This list comprises nine subcategories that lay the groundwork for organisations to build upon.


For more information, take a look at our blog post Decoding the SOC 2 Common Criteria List.


Why SOC 2 Matters

With the rise of cloud computing and third-party solutions, companies are increasingly relying on external service providers. This means businesses are not only responsible for their own data security but also for ensuring their partners follow robust security practices.


When a company is SOC 2 compliant, it sends a strong signal to its customers, partners, and stakeholders that it is serious about data security. It's not just about ticking a box for compliance; it's about building trust.


The Difference Between SOC 1, SOC 2 and SOC 3

SOC 1 evaluates an organisation's internal controls over financial reporting, whereas SOC 2 and SOC 3 examine the organisation's control over one or more of the Common Criteria List. Unlike SOC 2, SOC 3 is not a private report—it is used to showcase publicly how effective an organisation's internal controls are.


For more information, take a look at our blog post The Difference Between SOC 1, SOC 2 and SOC 3.


SOC 2 and ISO 27001

ISO 27001 specifies requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and improving an information security management system (ISMS). It includes 93 controls across 4 themes, the majority of which map to SOC 2 Trust Services Criteria.


For more information, take a look at our blog post The Intersection of SOC 2 and ISO 27001: Which is Right for My Company?


Conclusion

In the digital age, data breaches and security threats are becoming increasingly common. But with frameworks like SOC 2, companies can be better equipped to face these challenges head-on. Achieving SOC 2 compliance is a commitment to data security, operational integrity, and building trust with those who matter most—clients and customers.


© Secureroo Pty Ltd, 2021-2023

© Secureroo Pty Ltd, 2023