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Everything You Need to Know About SOC 2 Compliance

SOC 2 audits are vital for ensuring data security when choosing a SaaS vendor.

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) maintains a set of rules for handling customer data. Cloud-based software vendors and service providers in every industry use these rules as a standardized reference point for their security systems. 

The framework itself is called “Systems and Organizations Controls 2” – often referred to simply as SOC 2. These rules support a set of data security principles that include security, availability, integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. 

Any organization selecting a software vendor should prioritize partners who comply with SOC 2 rules. This is a good way to verify whether vendors follow security best practices. In short, it gives partners an opportunity to demonstrate they’re worthy of your trust.

What SOC 2 Covers – and What It Doesn’t

SOC 2 is a minimum set of requirements for evaluating SaaS and cloud service providers, including managed detection and response (MDR) vendors like Castra. It is not a legal requirement, nor does it replace security practices. It’s the product of an inspection carried out by an AICPA-licensed auditor. 

SOC 2’s core framework is designed for vendors that store customer data in the cloud. It applies to almost every SaaS company and cloud vendor on the market, but it’s especially important for security and MDR vendors that regularly handle sensitive data.

What’s the Difference Between SOC 1 and SOC 2?

  SOC 1 SOC 2
Purpose  Reports on internal controls for handling financial statements.  Reports on internal controls that protect customer data. 
Objectives  Protect customer financial data across business and IT processes.  Protect the security, availability, integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of all customer data throughout the organization. 
Intended for  The audited organization’s accountants and accountants responsible for its managers and partners. The audited organization’s executives, partners, vendors, and compliance officers.
Used for  Helping customers, partners, and stakeholders understand the organization’s internal financial controls.  Helping customers, partners, and stakeholders trust the organization’s data governance and risk management processes. 

 

SOC 1 audits verify whether an organization handles financial information securely. It originates with an earlier auditing standard called the SAS 70, originally developed in 1992. SOC 1 compliance tells potential partners that the vendor’s internal financial controls are aligned with AICPA best practices. Public companies must achieve SOC 1 compliance as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). 

SOC 2 audits are dedicated to cloud and data center security controls. Originally developed in 2009, these controls focus exclusively on security. There are no regulatory frameworks that require SOC 2 compliance, but certification can be valuable for cloud vendors. SOC 2 revolves around five Trust Services Criteria, which are: 

  • Security. Systems must be protected against unauthorized access that could compromise their confidentiality, integrity, availability and privacy. 
  • Availability. Authorized users must be able to access the appropriate data and systems. 
  • Processing IntegritySystems must process data in a timely, accurate manner and communicate changes to data reliably. 
  • Confidentiality. Sensitive data needs to have appropriate protection against unauthorized access. 
  • Privacy. Organizations must use personally identifiable information in a responsible, secure way.

Each SOC Audit Has Two Types

Both SOC 1 and SOC 2 audits come in two forms. Organizations may certify a Type 1 or a Type 2 audit report, and the difference between these two audit types is important. It reflects the degree of trust you should extend to the organization over time: 

  • Type 1 Audit Reports offer a snapshot of the organization’s compliance controls at the moment the audit is carried out. This gives you a point-in-time overview of the effectiveness of the organization’s audit controls and makes no claims about the future or the past. 
  • Type 2 Audit Reports focus on the effectiveness of compliance controls over a period, typically 12 months. This is a more complex audit that ensures controls adapt successfully to changing conditions over time.

SOC 2 Compliance Is All About Trust

Trust is the foundation of any successful partnership, and that includes service provider agreements. SOC 2 Compliance is a vehicle for establishing trust between a cloud-enabled technology vendor and its customers, ensuring they have the expertise necessary to protect sensitive data from security vulnerabilities and exploits. 

Castra is a SOC 2 accredited, security-first MDR vendor that prioritizes trust throughout its network and ecosystem. Our two co-founders, Grant Leonard and Tony Simone have decades of experience designing, building, and managing managed detection and response solutions for Fortune 500 organizations and US Government agencies.  

We use the same technologies we partner with, so our partners know that Castra believes in the tools it uses to protect their systems and demonstrate compliance.

Become part of our network of trust and secure customer data according to the highest industry compliance standards. Let's talk!