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Cybersecurity Terms & Definitions

IT Security

IT security refers to the practices that an organization puts in place to secure data. The goal is to ensure the confidentiality, availability and integrity of company information. Often seen interchangeably with Information Security.


The nuts and bolts practices that protect networks from threats that come over the internet. A subset of IT Security.


The set of objectives, principles, and requirements that comprise a certification or attestation requirement. For example, Strike Graph has solutions to help meet the SOC 2, ISO 27001 and HIPAA frameworks.


A scenario that leads to an unexpected outcome. Often composed of threats or vulnerabilities to assets or a ‘what could go wrong’ statement. Strike Graph uses a risk assessment to identify control gaps and right size compliance efforts.


A specific procedure or protocol that is in place to address a risk. Controls have an owner, an action and can have a time frame.  We wrote a great blog about controls, check it out!


How to prove a control is in place or being performed. Evidence can come in many forms, the most common being system generated reports, system screenshots, change tickets, and policy and procedures documents.

SOC 2 Glossary


The end result of the SOC 2 audit. The SOC 2 report is an attestation report (not a certification). For example, the SOC 2 auditor will attest that controls have been appropriately designed.


American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).They set auditing standards and devised the SOC framework. They own the rights to use the SOC 2 logo.


Certified Public Accountant. The only individual (or CPA firm) that can sign off on a SOC 2 report.

Qualified opinion

A term used by your auditor to describe their opinion or conclusion about your controls. The auditor liked what you did, but with (an) exception(s), which they explain. Qualified opinions do not mean you ‘failed’ your report and are not necessarily a bad thing, but they do indicate that the design or operation of controls did not meet the auditors’ expectations.

Unqualified opinion

When an auditor finds no issues with your control design and operation the offer an unqualified opinion. This is what everyone strives for and indicates a ‘clean’ report from the auditor.

Control Mapping

The activity of applying your relevant controls to a framework such as SOC 2, ISO 27001, or HIPAA or even regulations such as CCPA and GDPR. This is a time consuming activity, but with Strike Graph we've already done this for you.

Trust Services Criteria (“TSC”) 

A set of guidelines for meeting the SOC 2 standards. 

  • Security - Also known as Common Criteria. A collection of both operational and security criteria.

  • Availability - How the system stays up and running.

  • Processing Integrity - How data is manipulated to produce the correct or expected result.

  • Confidentiality - How data is kept secret.

  • Privacy - How Personal data is kept secret and protected.

Point of Focus

Areas to consider for each Trust Services Criteria. They are as close as SOC 2 gets to requirements, however, think of them as hints on how to meet each criteria.


How many controls you have mapped to each criteria. The auditor will subjectively assess whether you have enough coverage.


System Organization Controls. A a set of reports where CPAs form an opinion (or attest) on controls.

  • SOC 1 - For services that impact financial reporting

  • SOC 2 - For IT systems that process data

  • SOC 3 - A public facing SOC 2 report

Type 1

Tests the design of controls as of a point in time.

Type 2

Tests everything in a Type 1 as well as the functioning or operation of controls over a period of time. The time period is typically 12 months, but can be as little as 3 months.

Section 3 (aka System Description)

A section of the SOC 2 report prepared by you (i.e. management). Anything in this section is fair game for an audit. This section covers topics relevant to your system or product such the people, processes, technology and data that make up the environment or system that support your service.

Section 5

An optional section of the SOC 2 Report where you (as management) can explain any issues, test exceptions or events occurring subsequent to the end of the audit.

Test Exception

An anomaly in the design or operation of a control found by the auditor. Something to avoid, but often unavoidable. 

Ready to start your SOC 2 journey?


ISO 27001 Glossary

ISO (International Standards Organization) 

An international body that creates, maintains and publishes frameworks that include everything from quality assurance to data privacy. 

ISO IEC 27001:2013

This is the official name of the current ISO 27001 framework. This framework was last updated in 2013, but a new version may be released as soon as December of 2021. The framework provides guidance and controls to establish and maintain an information security management system.

Information Security Management System (ISMS)

A formal security program that is continuously improved upon, refined and monitored.  


Clauses are a collection of ‘shall’ statements that describe how to establish, run and continually improve an ISMS program.

Annex A Controls

ISO 27001:2013 includes a list of 114 ‘controls’ (across 14 domains or areas) that are recommended for a functioning ISMS. The updated ISO 27001 standard will include 93 controls in 4 control themes: People, Physical, Technological, and Organizational.

Statement of Applicability

A required ISMS document showing which Annex controls are in scope. This list is shared with Auditors and Assessors. 


Something that is not aligned with an Annex control, a Clause or even a regulation or company process. Nonconformities can be identified by auditors, through incidents, by external parties and other means..

Corrective Action

The activities that are undertaken by the organization to get a nonconformity back into conformance. 

Internal Audit

An independent assessment of the ISMS as a whole or any subset of controls. An internal audit is required as part of a functioning ISMS.


The end result of the ISO process and granted by one of a handful of certifying organizations. 


Ready to start your SOC 2 journey?

HIPAA Glossary

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
A Federal law to enforce privacy and security of electronic patient health information (ePHI) for covered entities and their business associates from being disclosed without the patient's consent or knowledge. 

Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 
Reinforcement of compliance for business associates of covered entities to HIPAA.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
The governing bodies of HIPAA that conduct periodic audits to ensure that covered entities and their business associates comply with the requirements of HIPAA's regulations.

Covered Entities
Covered Entities under HIPAA are any individual, organization, or agency that provides treatment, payment, or operations in healthcare (ex: healthcare providers - doctors, pharmacies, nurses, nursing homes; Health plans - insurance companies, goverment plans; Healthcare clearinghouses - electronic stations that allow healthcare providers to transmit claims to insurance companies).

Business Associates
Business Associates under HIPPA are any individual, organization, or agency that performs certain functions that involve the use or disclosure of PHI on behalf of, or provides services to, a covered entity (ex: SaaS platforms, IT contractors, cloud storage, CPA firms).

Electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI)
Defined in HIPAA regulation as any protected health information (PHI) that is created, stored, transmitted, or received in any electronic format or media. ePHI includes any of the 18 distinct demographics that can be used to identify a patient. 

Security Rule
The foundation to ensure integrity, confidentiality, and security of ePHI. 

Breach Notification Rule
The HIPAA Breach Notification Rule requires companies to notify patients when their PHI is impermissibly used or disclosed (or “breached”).

Privacy Rule
The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy of personal health information, and sets limits and conditions on the uses and disclosures that may be made of such information without patient authorization. The Rule also gives patients rights over their health information, including rights to examine and obtain a copy of their health records, and to request corrections.

Enforcement Rule
The HIPAA Enforcement Rule allows the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to investigate any violations of HIPAA, perform Privacy and Security Rule compliance audits, and issues fine penalities to those that do not comply with the Rules. 

Learn how you can leverage Strike Graph for your cybersecurity needs