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Security compliance Measuring/certifying security programs SOC 2

How do I become SOC 2 Type 2 compliant?

A SOC 2 attestation is important for those businesses that need to demonstrate they’ve adopted a robust security program to protect the data of their customers. 

As we mentioned in a recent post, that’s because a SOC 2 deals with controls related to security, data, IT, access points, business operations, and other similar controls. Usually companies like cloud service providers, data centers, managed service providers, SaaS companies, and others that store, process, or transmit customer data are those that need a SOC 2 attestation.

So what is a SOC 2 Type 2, how does it differ from Type 1, and does your company need it?

What is SOC 2 Type 2? 

Essentially, the SOC 2 Type 2 is an additional audit on top of the SOC 2 Type 1. Whereas a SOC 2 Type 2 is similar to a Type 1, the main differentiator between the two is the time frame.

While a SOC 2 Type 1 evaluates your company’s controls at a single, specific point in time, a SOC 2 Type 2 checks how effective those controls are over a longer period of time. That period of time can be anywhere from three to 12 months, but most commonly companies use that 12-month time frame as their marker.

Other differences between the two types is that a Type 1 focuses on program design, while a Type 2 focuses on program execution (hence the differing time frames). Furthermore, a Type 2 requires the collection of sampled evidence over the audit period.

Do I need Type 2?

If you’re just starting out on your SOC 2 compliance journey, it may be better to focus your efforts on SOC 2 Type 1. This will allow you to pay more attention to the design of the controls and will help you get your attestation quicker.

On the other hand, if you’ve already achieved your SOC 2 Type 1 — or you have more time to invest in your first audit — then a Type 2 audit is what you should be focusing on. Ultimately, this type of attestation will help you continue improving processes, showcase your robust security stance, and increase your competitive edge.

How do I go about getting a SOC 2 Type 2? 

So, you’ve decided a SOC 2 Type 2 is right for you … now what? Here are the steps you’ll need to take in order to successfully complete a SOC 2 Type 2 audit.

Scope your audit and trust services criteria

What will be the scope of your audit? Include all products and services that could have potential security risks. While some companies scope the entire business, others will only include specific product or service lines. 

You must also decide which of the five Trust Services Criteria — security, availability, confidentiality, processing integrity, and privacy — you are going to cover in the report. While all companies must include security and should also include confidentiality, you’ll also want to include availability if your business provides a mission-critical service and processing Integrity if your service processes a lot of client data. When it comes to privacy, you may be better off following guidelines provided by regulatory programs like CPRA and GDPR.

Perform a risk assessment, gap analysis, and control mapping

Once you’ve determined the scope of your audit as well as which Trust Services Criteria you’ll be mapping to, it’s time to compare the SOC 2 control set to your current cybersecurity program. 

Start by performing a risk assessment so you can assess your business’s vulnerability to potential threats. Review your procedures, controls, and policies, then score each risk based on the likelihood it will occur and the impact it will have on your business.

From there, build a SOC 2 controls list, including the procedures you’ll implement to address any threats or vulnerabilities, and add evidence. 

Check out this sample SOC 2 report to learn more about controls.

Create a roadmap for SOC 2 compliance

Now that you know where you’re at and where you need to go, it’s time to lay out the steps in between. This will include specific objectives, goals, and a timeline for when you plan to achieve compliance. Remember, a SOC 2 Type 2 will take longer than a Type 1.

Engage an outside auditor

Establishing your scope, performing a risk assessment, and mapping your controls and making sure you have a good bird’s eye view of your compliance roadmap using traditional compliance approaches can be an expensive and slow process. The good news is Strike Graph's all-in-one platform does it all, which saves you a ton of time and money.

More good news, there’s no need for an auditing firm if you’re using Strike Graph. We take you all the way to certification without needing any additional vendors.

How can I maintain my SOC 2 Type 2 after I get it? 

Ultimately, a SOC 2 Type 2 is a more robust version of the SOC 2 audit that provides a higher level of comprehensiveness, but it doesn’t end there. Instead of being a one-time event, controls pertaining to SOC 2 Type 2 must be continuously monitored and maintained in order to be effective and actually provide the safeguards they offer.

Strike Graph makes that easy. Because our platform supports your security program from design to operation to certification, you never need to worry about staying compliant. Need a new security certification? Just apply your existing controls to the new framework and you have an instant head start. 

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