SOC 2 may be a voluntary standard, but for today's security-conscious business, it's a minimal requirement when considering a SaaS provider. Compliance can be a long and complicated process, but a scanner like Intruder makes it easy to tick the vulnerability management box.
Security is critical for all organisations, including those that outsource key business operations to third parties like SaaS vendors and cloud providers. Rightfully so, since mishandled data – especially by application and network security providers – can leave organisations vulnerable to attacks, such as data theft, extortion and malware.
But how secure are the third parties you've entrusted with your data? SOC 2 is a framework that ensures these service providers securely manage data to protect their customers and clients. For security-conscious businesses – and security should be a priority for every business today – SOC 2 is now a minimal requirement when considering a SaaS provider.
What SOC 2 means for SaaS
SaaS providers understand the benefits of a SOC 2 report for their business, and their customers. It gives them a competitive advantage. It helps continually improve their own security practices. It helps them to meet customer expectations. Most importantly, it gives current and prospective customers peace of mind. They can be confident that the SaaS provider has a rock-solid information security practice in place to keep their data safe and secure.
What is SOC 2?
Developed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), SOC 2 requires compliance for managing customer data based on five criteria or "trust service principles" - security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy.
It's both a technical audit and a requirement that comprehensive information security policies and procedures are documented and followed. As with all the best compliance certifications and accreditation, it is not just about joining the dots. It involves a complex set of requirements that must be documented, reviewed, addressed and monitored. There are two types or stages: Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 or 2?
A SOC 2 Type 1 report evaluates cybersecurity controls at a single point in time. The goal is to determine whether the internal controls put in place to safeguard customer data are sufficient and designed correctly. Do they fulfil the required criteria?
A Type 2 report goes a step further, where the auditor also reports on how effective those controls are. They look at how well the system and controls perform over time (usually 3-12 months). What is their operating effectiveness? Do they work and function as intended?
It's not just for tech
If you think only tech companies like SaaS or cloud service providers need SOC 2 certification, think again. Whatever vertical or industry sector, SOC 2 certification shows your organisation maintains a high level of information security.
That's why healthcare providers like hospitals or insurance companies may require a SOC 2 audit to ensure an additional level of scrutiny on their security systems. The same could be said for financial services companies or accountancies that handle payments and financial information. While they may meet industry requirements such as PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), they often opt to undergo SOC 2 for additional credibility or if clients insist on it.
The rigorous compliance requirements ensure that sensitive information is being handled responsibly. Any organisation that implements the necessary controls are therefore less likely to suffer data breaches or violate users' privacy. This protects them from the negative effects of data losses, such as regulatory action and reputational damage.
SOC 2-compliant organisations can use this to prove to customers that they're committed to information security, which in turn can create new business opportunities, because the framework states that compliant organisations can only share data with other organisations that have passed the audit.
SOC 2 simplified by Intruder
One control you must pass for your SOC 2 report is vulnerability management. And for that you can use Intruder. Intruder is easy to understand, buy and use. Just sign up and pay by credit card. Job done. You can tick the SOC 2 vulnerability management box in under 10 minutes.
Of course, Intruder is also a great tool to use on a day-to-day basis. Not only for its continuous monitoring to ensure your perimeters are secure, but for other scenarios that may require a SOC 2 report such as due diligence. If your business is trying to secure new investment, going through a merger, or being acquired by another business, due diligence will include your security posture, how you handle data, and your exposure to risk and threats. With Intruder, it's easy to prove you take your information security seriously.