It can be challenging to understand what comes first when starting the SOC 2 process. Businesses implement and maintain SOC 2 in a variety of ways. We broke down the basic process to tackle SOC 2 compliance into a checklist below.
The first action item on your SOC 2 checklist involves the purpose of your SOC 2. Before diving into controls, an organization will need to determine the objective of their SOC 2 report and choose relevant TSCs.
There are two types of SOC 2 reports, Type 1 and Type 2. Businesses typically start with a Type 1 and build up to a Type 2. We recommend this order for our own clients.
The type of information and data stored or transmitted by a business should determine the applicable TSCs.
SOC 2 encompasses 5 TSCs:
The only required criteria is security.
A compliance team examines the practices and procedures a business has in place and compares the security posture to SOC 2 best practices to identify gaps. Based on the gaps found, a strategic remediation plan is set to tackle SOC 2 in the most efficient way possible.
The controls needed for a big corporation to demonstrate SOC 2 compliance are drastically different from those needed by a startup. From logging and monitoring to HR tasks and vendor management, a compliance team can identify ways to save time and money by implementing the correct tools and processes.
When control implementation is about 80% complete, the compliance team performs a risk assessment. As a crucial part of the audit, the risk assessment understands any potential risks an organization incurs through growth, geography, or outside information security best practices.
After the risk assessment mitigation and acceptance process, the business needs to prepare for an audit.
While this means gathering evidence of implemented controls, it also means preparing an internal team to answer questions and work with auditors throughout the audit process.
When all the evidence has been collected and compiled for auditors and risk has been assessed and accepted, the organization is ready for audit.
SOC 2 audits can last between 2 weeks and a couple of months, depending on the number of questions or corrections from the auditors. Though businesses cannot technically fail a SOC 2 report, many will want to correct discrepancies to avoid a poor report.
Last point on the checklist: maintenance.
SOC 2 audits need to be performed on an annual basis. We recommend that our clients set up integrations to automatically collect evidence and monitor practices over time. This can help to avoid heavy time commitments from team members and continue to secure information.