Debunking the Myths about SOC 2
With the alphabet soup you see every day that is the myriad of industry regulations your organization must contend with; it could be tempting to brush one or two off as unnecessary. Make sure you do not do this with SOC 2. While SOC 2 is not a certification, as you will find out as you read on, it certainly provides your partners and clients alike with peace of mind that their data is safe in your hands.
There are plenty of myths surrounding the ins and outs of SOC 2. The following will put some of those to rest:
- Myth No. 1: SOC 2 is a certification – SOC 2 is a not a certification. It is an examination of your controls that are performed by qualified pros at a CPA firm. This process is executed under the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) attestation standards, and at the end of the process, the audit firm issues a report with an opinion. When companies announce they have achieved SOC 2 certification, what that truly means is that a CPA firm has performed an SOC 2 audit and issued an opinion over one or multiple categories.
- Myth No. 2: SOC 2 compliance offers no ROI – Compliance is often viewed as the antithesis of profit by decision-makers. However, that isn’t the case anymore, especially considering the fines that come with noncompliance as well as the costs associated with recovering from breaches. Now that SOC 2 is so widely known and highly regarded, there is a marketing benefit to having a report in hand. SOC 2 is meant to be shared with clients and prospects under a nondisclosure agreement. However, you can also obtain an SOC 3 report without any confidential information, which is meant to be shared publicly.
- Myth No. 3: SOC 2 Type 2 audit is an annual examination – While 12 months is the most common timeframe the SOC Type 2 report covers, there is no minimum required duration. The shortest period a CPA firm will accept to audit is three months. Typically, those scenarios include undergoing a SOC 2 readiness assessment in the middle of the year that may require a six-month report for the ending period of the audit to align with their year-end, or their clients’ fiscal year.
- Myth No. 4: It’s a technical examination – Yes, SOC 2 is an examination of your IT controls, but it is not exclusively a technical exam. There are control criteria that involve encryption, software vulnerabilities and firewalls, for example. But the overall goal of the auditor is to determine whether there is a sufficient and well-functioning governance structure in place over IT rather than examine specific configuration settings across the enterprise.
- Myth No. 5: It’s a simple exercise – Sorry, but this isn’t going to be easy. Any organization approaching SOC 2 for the first time will require a great deal of work before undergoing the examination. It can seem daunting – but that is because it is. However, consider the examples of the types of controls the auditors examine, which include strong governance and alignment between business and IT; transparent communications with stakeholders; and a monitoring program that aims to ensure the control environment continues functioning at an elevated level.
This is where 2W Tech steps in. There are plenty of challenges to maneuver through when pursuing SOC 2 certification. You do not have to go through this alone. Contact us for help. We have a robust Cybersecurity Compliance Program that will ensure your organization complies with all industry-related regulations.