What is SOC 2: a beginner’s guide to compliance

Does your organization store, transmit, or process any kind of customer data? If you are familiar with SOC 2, you likely know that it is a security framework. This framework assists companies in managing customer data in the cloud.

The importance of securely stored data becomes more apparent with each high-profile data breach. Apple, Meta, and Twitter have all listed cyber security attacks over the past 12 months. One data breach can cost millions and impact customer trust.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what SOC 2 is, who it’s for, and what principles it’s built on. 

What is SOC 2?

The AICPA created SOC 2 in 2010. It helps build trust between service providers and customers. It also helps auditors assess how well an organization’s security protocols work. The framework outlines how companies should handle their customer’s data when storing it in the cloud. 

SOC 2 reports are not a “one-size-fits-all”; they’re unique to each organization. You create your own controls to comply with one or more of the trust principles, in line with your specific business practices. 

There are two types of internal SOC reports you can create:

  • Type 1 describes a vendor’s systems and whether the design is suitable to meet the trust principles.  
  • Type 2 describes the operational effectiveness of the systems. 

Who needs it

If you store, process, or transmit your customer’s data, you’ll likely need to be SOC 2 compliant. The requirements set out in SOC 2 help your organization create solid internal security controls and lay the foundation of security policies and processes.

Your customers might have been asking if you’re SOC 2 compliant because they want to know you can keep their sensitive data safe. Showing that your security foundations are SOC 2 compliant is the gold standard of showing your customers they can trust you with their data.  

SOC 2 trust principles

You need to get an external auditor in to do an audit and provide you with SOC 2 certification. The auditor checks if your organization follows the trust principles in its systems and processes.

The five trust principles are: 

1. Security

When it comes to security, think of it as having your own personal digital security detail. This includes a range of measures such as firewalls, two-factor authentication, and an entire arsenal of tools and techniques to protect your digital assets and keep hackers at bay.

Firewalls act as a barrier between your computer or network and potential threats from the internet. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is another crucial security measure that adds an extra layer of protection to your accounts. In addition to firewalls and 2FA, there are numerous other security measures that make up the whole arsenal of digital protection. These can include antivirus software, which scans for and removes malicious software, such as viruses, worms, and Trojans.

2. Availability

Availability is a crucial aspect of any network or system. It refers to the ability of a network or system to be accessible and operational for users whenever they need it. To ensure availability, it is important to constantly monitor network performance. This involves regularly checking the network’s performance metrics, such as latency, bandwidth, and packet loss, to identify any potential issues or bottlenecks that may affect the network’s availability.

In addition to monitoring network performance, it is also essential to have contingency plans in place. These plans outline the steps to be taken in the event of a network outage or failure. Contingency plans may include backup systems, redundant network connections, and failover mechanisms to ensure that the network remains available even in the face of unexpected events or failures.

3. Processing integrity

Processing integrity refers to the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of data throughout its lifecycle. It is crucial for organizations to ensure that the data they process is on point and fulfils its intended purpose. This involves implementing quality checks and monitoring mechanisms to detect and prevent errors, inconsistencies, or unauthorized alterations in the data.

To achieve processing integrity, organizations need to establish robust data management practices. This includes defining clear data quality standards and guidelines that outline the expected level of accuracy and completeness for different types of data. These standards should be communicated to all employees involved in data processing to ensure a consistent approach.

4. Confidentiality 

Encryption, firewalls, and airtight access controls are your tools in the battle for confidentiality. Make sure you use them all to your advantage.

5. Privacy 

In the age of privacy concerns, treat personal info like a prized possession. Adhere to the rules for collecting, using, and disposing of personal data.

SOC 2 and secure development training

Knowledge is power, and cyber security training is key in making sure everyone in your organization knows how to keep your software and your customer’s data safe. 

Tailored security training for each employee’s specific role and responsibilities makes secure development training more engaging and effective. As you create your own security controls based on the trust principles in the SOC 2 compliance framework, make sure you have an open line of communication with your team during their security awareness training. 

From developers to product owners and service architects, secure the software you design and build and meet compliance requirements with ease, supported by our leading secure development training platform.

How SafeStack can help you meet SOC 2 requirements

Building secure software is about more than just secure coding; it takes every member of the software team to do it well. At SafeStack we make it easy to create application security training programs for every role in your team.

  • Meeting compliance goals

Using our pre-built learning paths for popular compliance frameworks such as ISO27001 and SOC 2, or build your own for complete control.

  • Integrates with major compliance platforms

SafeStack helps organizations big and small meet their application security compliance requirements with ease by partnering with best-in-class compliance platforms such as Vanta.

Take the stress out of application security compliance with easy-to-use integrations and automatic data syncing to major compliance platforms.

  • Tailored application security training for your team

Whether it’s the excitement of wanting to learn everything all at once, or not being sure what your organization’s training priorities are, it’s easy to feel stuck.

  • Deliver the right training, to the right people and at the right time.

Every team has different needs, priorities, and goals, and your application security training needs to have the flexibility to support this, so you can focus on learning exactly what you need to know.

  • Make learner management easy

Whether you’re juggling the needs of different teams in your organization, staring down a compliance deadline, or wanting to support your team to focus on what’s important right now, Learning Paths are here to help.

Wrapping it up

Becoming SOC 2 compliant is a comprehensive process that goes beyond simply checking off a box on a list. It involves implementing a series of rigorous security measures and practices to ensure the protection of sensitive data. SOC 2 compliance is a recognized industry standard that demonstrates an organization’s commitment to data security and privacy.

SafeStack can help you meet SOC 2 through our awesome secure software development training. Sign up for a free trial today.


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