This Key Thing Will Make Your Company’s Data Safer and Get You More Customers
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
In 2021, an average company relied on 110 SaaS (software as a service) apps for its daily operations. With this number rising rapidly year to year, the security of data throughout the network of third-party vendors becomes a priority. It’s critical for companies to know who has access to their data and how it is protected.
Assessing every vendor separately, however, isn’t practical. That’s why the auditing industry came up with various accreditations, from SOC 2 to ISO 27001. Certifications like these act as shortcuts for buyers, proving that vendors are following best security practices.
Ask your sales people how many times they get some variation of, “Sorry, we only work with SOC-accredited vendors.”
To give an example, we run an app subscription platform for macOS and iOS that services both B2C and B2B markets, and we used to spend hours manually verifying every single partner in our ecosystem and replying to requests from potential B2B customers regarding our own data security.
Related: Making Data Security Compliance a Revenue Driver
Thankfully, since we passed the SOC 2 Type 1 audit, things got much easier. So what is SOC 2 Type 1, why should you get it right now and why is it important for data security?
What is SOC 2 Type 1?
SOC (system and organization controls) is a reporting framework designed to evaluate the level of data management and security in service organizations.
The framework was created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), which means every SOC certification requires an independent auditor to verify all claims.
There are three categories of SOC reports you can get:
- SOC 1 tests finance-related compliance.
- SOC 2 verifies data controls for SaaS companies.
- SOC 3 is a simplified version of SOC 2 designed to be accessible to a more general audience.
SOC 2 is further split into two types:
- Type 1 evaluates security controls at a single point in time.
- Type 2 tests all controls over a period of time (usually 3 to 12 months).
Unlike other industry audits, SOC is voluntary and very flexible in scope, which means that you choose the exact controls that are going to be audited and featured in the final report. There are five categories:
SaaS companies usually start with SOC 2 Type 1, most likely in the security category, and then upgrade to SOC 2 Type 2 over time.
Related: Data Security Basics in the Virtual World
5 benefits of getting SOC 2 Type 1
Even though SOC 2 Type 1 takes a non-trivial amount of work to complete, it recoups the investment many times over. The most important outcome is that you can prove to your customers and partners that you have the best data management and security policies in place.
Here are five other benefits from passing the SOC 2 Type 1 audit:
Related: Everyone is a Target. Your Business Needs to Take Security Seriously.
How to successfully pass SOC 2 Type 1
There’s no time limit on preparing for your SOC 2 Type 1 audit. In our case, it took us the better part of 2021, since there were lots of things we didn’t know or anticipate.
For a much faster and easier SOC 2 experience, follow our top five tips.
In the end, you’ll get an official report recognizing that you’ve passed SOC 2 Type 1. As a result, vendor reviews from a security standpoint will become not only easier, but faster as well — and we can say it’s definitely worth it.