SOC 2 Compliance for Cloud Businesses security! This is one of the most critical topics in the cloud industry. Not attesting to SOC 2 compliance can cause a wide range of issues for cloud-based businesses, and it can cost you a fortune, apart from losing business partners and clients.
Nordic Defender has multiple other articles on what exactly SOC 2 is and what its various use cases are, so if you’re interested, click on the link!
You can read this article to find out all about the benefits of SOC 2 compliance for cloud businesses security and get answers to the following questions:
● What are the principles of SOC 2 compliance for cloud security?
● How to implement all the required controls in a cloud business?
● How much time does it take to perform audits and receive SOC 2 reports for cloud?
● What type of SOC 2 report is necessary for a cloud business?
● Is it necessary to work with a third-party auditor to achieve SOC 2 compliance?
Read more about the Benefits of SOC 2 HERE!
Introduction: A Brief Explanation of What SOC2 is and Why it is Important
Compliance with the System and Organization Controls (SOC) isn’t mandatory, but it creates colorful benefits for cloud service providers and SaaS companies. Based on the 5 main principles outlined in the SOC 2 framework, you can integrate the necessary data security controls into your IT systems and networks and demonstrate this to your clients with audit reports.
Read more about SOC 2 for SaaS Companies HERE.
Note that adhering to a SOC 2 type I or type II report isn’t a small endeavor, and it will take time and effort. So, it’s no wonder SOC 2 reports for cloud bring a lot of worthwhile benefits and generate value after performing formal audits.
SOC 2 compliance for cloud businesses gathers together a wide range of outcomes and helps your business:
● Protect brand reputation: SOC 2 helps your business stay protected against cybersecurity breaches, which can be costly and devastating.
● Stand out in the competition: Every company that offers a high level of information security and protection can distinguish itself from other competitors.
● Attract more customers: By complying with the SOC 2 framework, you will receive audit reports that help you boost your sales and improve your business contracts.
● Improves services: Highly-secured IT systems and networks result in improved services and bring better quality and customer satisfaction.
● Save time and money in the long term: How much cost does a data breach or down time incur to your cloud-based business? If you want to avoid cybersecurity fines and penalties, complying with cybersecurity frameworks is the first priority.
The 5 Trust Service Criteria (TSCs)
● Security: Security criteria focus on your organization’s protection of information, systems, and different resources. A business’s data and computing systems must be fully protected against unauthorized access and improper disclosure of information.
● Availability: All information and digital systems and services should always be available for operation and use. The availability rule for cloud businesses is a critical aspect of SOC 2 compliance.
● Processing Integrity: Through this approach, you are sure that your systems follow the defined plan to deliver the proper functionality and efficiency. This involves different steps to ensure the integrality and accuracy of your system’s information and stored data.
● Confidentiality: Confidentiality is a common category in SOC 2 compliance that helps cloud-based organizations and businesses handle all the information without any issues, by employing the necessary tests and controls.
● Privacy: All personal information collected, used, and processed must meet the defined requirements in this criteria. This category emphasizes having a transparent plan on how your organization handles and protects personally identifiable information (PII).
How TSCs are Applied to Cloud Security
Cloud businesses should be built on an essential factor: “trust”. Especially for cloud service providers, a data breach can cause significant damage and put your business at high risk.
Customer trust in cloud-based businesses is key to achieving success. One common way to build and maintain trust is by taking into account TSCs that are defined by SOC 2 compliance. Cloud services can greatly benefit from SOC 2 compliance since it covers a considerable number of security controls and tests that are essential for better security and data protection.
● Handling users’ information and protecting customers’ data are key factors in SOC 2 compliance, and you can demonstrate how great your security level is by telling your customers you’ve passed the SOC 2 audit process.
A Brief Overview of the SOC 2 Audit Process
SOC 2 compliance for cloud businesses comes with two main reports, and you need to decide which one is the best fit for your organization. The main audit process begins after selecting an accredited certifier and can take anywhere from 6 months to a year to complete.
Please note that a comprehensive gap analysis is required before taking any action, and this will ensure all security controls will be implemented at the next step.
In the case of SOC 2 compliance for cloud, every company is unique, and reports can be different for small businesses compared to larger companies. However, there is a defined step-by-step process that is applied to most cases:
● Choosing the type of report
● Conducting a gap analysis
● Selecting a certified third-party auditor
● Defining the scope of audits
● Beginning the process for a formal audit
Read More about the SOC 2 Audit Process HERE.
A Deep Dive Into TSC Security
SOC 2 compliance for cloud businesses is developed based on five principles that define the required standards and security controls within your IT infrastructure. For cloud businesses beginning their SOC 2 journey, it may be somehow complex to figure out which controls must be implemented to ensure there is no issue with cybersecurity compliance.
Yes, it is complex, but of course, TSCs are going to be implemented through a step-by-step process. In each step, only a few controls and standards are used and maintained. If you are on a tight budget and your cybersecurity spending is limited at the time, you can only include the TSCs that are required.
● You can talk to your cybersecurity service provider and get full recommendations on this. They will help you cut costs and provide you with the necessary reports within a defined period of time.
A Great Benefit of SOC 2 Compliance for Cloud Businesses
SOC 2 for cloud businesses requires extensive evaluations conducted by third-party auditors to ensure a high level of security. Particularly in the case of cloud service providers, SOC 2 provides a unique opportunity to achieve long-term cost savings. Suppose that when you prevent a deadly data breach, it will help you prevent data breaches that cost more than $4 million on average.
Specific Requirements to Achieving a Good Level of Security with TSCs
Before you begin a formal SOC 2 audit, you need to understand how your organization’s cybersecurity is working. TSCs ensure you’ve implemented the necessary controls and security standards, but your cybersecurity provider should analyze your systems prior to performing SOC 2 audits.
Through these analyses, cybersecurity specialists can find out if the following requirements are working aptly in your IT infrastructure or not.
● Access control: Access control is a critical requirement for every digital system. Access control ensures your systems are protected against unauthorized user and there will be no issue in this case since your company has managed and restricted virtual and physical access.
● Network security: Network security is a set of technologies and cybersecurity practices that protects the usability and integrity of your network. With the proliferation of bad actors actively hitting networks, network security has become an important part of every cybersecurity framework.
● Vulnerability management: Vulnerability management is a continuous and proactive plan that involves many technologies and tools to keep your computer systems, networks, and digital devices safe from cyberattacks. An exploited vulnerability can put your cloud-based business at a high risk and ruin all your growth and development plans.
Some Real World Examples of How World Class Companies Have Implemented TSCs for Better Security
SOC 2 for cloud businesses provides industry-specific benefits, and the cloud industry can take significant advantage of this reliable cybersecurity framework.
SOC 2 Compliance for Cloud Security: Software as a Service
Many cloud-based companies offer SaaS tools, which have greatly simplified business operations in recent years. Software as a Service is an essential requirement in today’s world, but current cyberattacks and data breaches necessitate having the required cybersecurity controls in place when it comes to providing a SaaS tool.
SOC 2 Compliance for Cloud Security: Financial Services
Financial services companies are developing and deploying their own cloud-based platforms because they provide exceptional speed, performance, and reliability. Banking, insurance, and investment companies can benefit from cloud services after stabilizing, maintaining, and foolproofing their platforms with SOC 2 for cloud businesses.
SOC 2 framework emphasizes data security, platform availability, and personal information protection through 5 main principles. SOC 2 is not a legal requirement for financial services that work in the cloud, but it is beneficial when signing business contracts with clients or business partners.
SOC 2 Compliance for Cloud Businesses: Manufacturing
The manufacturing industry is not what it used to be, and many things have changed. There has been a significant change in how information and processes are handled in this industry. In fact, cloud computing is commonly used for handling and processing data in this sector. Cloud security is an essential requirement to deal with cybersecurity issues that could hit manufacturing companies.
Companies can use cloud-based CRMs, Manufacturing Execution Systems, and ERPs. These tools present a unique opportunity to get rid of different processes handling issues in the manufacturing industry. However, benefits come when your platform is compliant with cybersecurity frameworks and is protected against cyberattacks that may target cloud services.
Best Practices for SOC 2 for Cloud Security Compliance
Preparing for a SOC 2 audit isn’t simple, and it requires a detailed, trustworthy, and labor-intensive plan. Note that if your business undergoes a SOC 2 audit for the first time, it may require more time and effort.
An experienced cybersecurity team and certified auditor can streamline the audit process by breaking it down into different steps. You can contact Nordic Defender’s professional team to get full recommendations about this.
There are 5 critical practices that help your company get through the audit process and receive detailed reports:
1. The Necessary Security Controls
During the previous step, your cybersecurity team gained full insight into security weaknesses and developed a list of the required controls according to SOC 2 requirements.
A SOC-oriented security control list includes the following parts:
● Backup and recovery plans
● Encryption plans and practices
● Audit logging
● Access control and management
● Vulnerability management and scanning
● Firewall and network security
● Intrusion detection and management systems
2. An Eagle-Eyed Monitoring
A good plan for cloud activity monitoring will help cybersecurity teams detect and examine anomalies and harmful activities. To find these unknown and potential activities, Nordic Defender offers a comprehensive monitoring system that covers and monitors network activities in detail.
3. Anomaly Alerts
Your security team will receive alerts when unauthorized access to sensitive information or an anomaly is detected. These alerts provide you with useful information for further controls, configurations, and modifications.
4. Taking Forensic Data Into Account
Monitoring cloud-based platforms and software tools is crucial, but it isn’t enough in most cases. Information security specialists should take the alerts into account and take the necessary action based on them.
Following the above practices, your team can create a trustworthy environment, achieve compliance, and maintain the necessary security controls.
Ensuring Security through implementing SOC 2
There are three practices to ensure there is a high level of security in place, based on SOC 2, including:
● Risk assessment: Risk assessment is the process of analyzing, detecting, and evaluating cyber risks. It helps ensure that SOC2-related security controls are functional and practical in time.
● Policy development: Developing data security policies is an important part of every security strategy. A well-structured policy helps your employees understand their responsibilities when handling sensitive data, and it prevents a lot of cybersecurity-related issues.
● Roadmap and action plans: Nordic Defender’s team is committed to providing a concise, prioritized roadmap that’s broken down to clear and straight-to-the-point action plans.
Finding and Addressing Common Challenges
Cloud service providers and SaaS organizations may encounter different challenges before and during the audits. These challenges can be serious enough to slow down your business growth or delay your plans.
Having said that, there is a wise solution to solve all these challenges in one shot. The SOC 2 requires organizations to contact an accredited cybersecurity provider that knows and understands how to start, perform, and finish SOC 2 audits.
Note that some challenges can hold you back from your goals:
● Defining which cybersecurity services are needed in the SOC 2 framework
● Figuring out which cybersecurity controls are necessary to achieve full reports
● Developing cybersecurity policies and internal rules for your organization
● Consistent adherence to the SOC 2 principles and guidelines
How Nordic Defender Helps You Achieve a Higher Level of Cybersecurity
Aside from not attesting to SOC 2 compliance for cloud businesses, the different challenges and risks your business faces by working with an unskilled and unprofessional team can cause a critical issue and stop your business from reaching new markets. Note that SOC 2 audit reports are valuable documents if you want to increase your customer base and expand your business into cross-border markets.
● Attaining these reports in the defined time helps you reach your goals through a pain-free approach. Nordic Defender’s team is here to provide you with a detailed roadmap that defines all security requirements and controls your company needs to obtain SOC 2 reports. Our team can help you implement those controls in your company and create a high level of data security.
SOC 2 Compliance for Cloud Security: Final Words
For those cloud-based businesses that seek significant growth and development, achieving SOC 2 reports is crucial. This framework promises to provide you with a reliable action plan that will help your organization implement the necessary security controls. You can contact our team now if you want to perform SOC 2 audits and offer your clients the desired level of cybersecurity.
Frequently Asked Questions
What principles define trust services criteria for integration in an organization?
● There are 5 vital sections that define how you need to integrate trust services criteria into your organization and maintain it over time. This includes security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.
Do cloud businesses really need SOC 2 compliance?
● Cybersecurity is a critical part of cloud-based platforms and businesses, and SOC 2 can empower these businesses to achieve better business growth and development.
Is there a defined audit process on SOC 2 compliance for cloud?
● Yes. A certified cybersecurity company can help you by implementing a specific audit process. The audit roadmap will be developed according to your business type, objectives, and needs. Feel free to contact us and let us provide you with complete recommendations about the SOC 2 audit process.
How about security monitoring in SOC 2? How does it work?
● SOC 2 for cloud businesses promises to monitor your cloud platforms 24/7, and it uses advanced tools to always be on alert about abnormal network activities and unauthorized behavior.
What is the focal point of SOC 2 for cloud businesses?● SOC 2 aims to provide your cloud-based business with a high level of security through 3 main points. Core monitoring, detection, and response are those 3 practices that ensure your business will be protected against minor and major cyber threats.