How to get SOC2 certification in four steps

Easy, intuitive and secure

Ines Guerra · 6 min read

SOC2 certification is one of the essential compliance objectives for technology companies. Businesses that provide technology services to third parties, such as SaaS, must be familiar with the SOC2 standard. This certification is essential to partner with other companies and provide them with services.

Why, if your company is a SaaS, will you need to obtain this certification?

SOC2 certification was explicitly designed for data storage service providers. So today, SOC2 applies to almost all SaaS companies. Any company that uses the cloud to store customer information has access to a significant volume of data with sensitive and private content.

What are the requirements of SOC2?

SOC2 requires companies to have and follow stringent information security policies and procedures. These cover confidentiality, security, processing, and integrity of all your customers' data. What SOC2 certification will ensure is that a company's information security measures meet the parameters of today's cloud requirements.

Why is SOC2 so important, you may ask?

The answer is easy, SOC2 compliance will certify that your organization maintains a high level of information security. The multiple and rigorous compliance requirements tested in a SOC2 audit ensure that all sensitive information that the company handles, manages, and stores are secure and handled responsibly—complying with the protocols and legislation in force in this area. Thus, SOC2 certified companies that have implemented the necessary controls will be much less likely to suffer data leaks or user privacy violations. This way, the organization is protected from the adverse effects of privacy breaches, reputational damage, and most importantly, software vendor companies give a unique competitive advantage. If your company is SOC2 compliant, it can demonstrate to its customers the commitment to information security, and in turn, this will create more business opportunities.

The main reason for this is that the current legal framework in almost all countries states that compliant organizations can only share data with other organizations that have passed the SOC2 audit. Below, we will show you four areas of security practices that are essential requirements for SOC2 compliance.

1. We are monitoring the known and unknown.

To be certified as SOC2 compliant, a process and practices must be in place with the necessary levels of oversight throughout the company. Specifically, a method is passed to monitor unusual system activity, authorized and unauthorized system configuration changes, and user access levels.

Therefore, with the speed at which data moves in the cloud, there is a need to monitor known malicious activity and, more importantly, the unknown, putting the privacy and control of stored data at the most significant risk. This could be achieved by establishing a database of regular database activity to determine what or when abnormal activity is occurring quickly.

Thus, customers will know that sensitive information will be safe when a threat occurs. By putting in place a continuous security monitoring practice that can detect potential threats from external and internal sources, you can ensure that everything that happens within the cloud infrastructure is under control.

2. Monitor and alert for anomalies.

It is impossible to control and stop all security incidents in time, and so it is highly likely that they will occur at some point. Therefore, the most important thing is that your company can demonstrate that you have alert procedures in place. When unauthorized access to customer data occurs, you can quickly resolve it and take corrective action to prevent further damage.

The SOC2 standard in its eagerness to eradicate this type of incident requires the company to establish alerts for any activity that causes:

  • Exposure or modification of data
  • File transfer activities
  • Access to the file systems or the accounts or the logins.

3. Have a detailed audit trail and log

In other words, SOC2 will require your company to determine what activity could be an indicator of threats within your cloud environment and your risk profile to ensure that you will be alerted when something happens. Excellent and prompt action is taken to prevent data loss, or privacy compromise could be compromised. Have a detailed audit trail and log

The key to minimizing the risk of further attacks is to know the root cause when responding. If we don't have that contextual view, we won't know where to remediate the problem. To that end, audit logs are the best way to get the information you need to conduct security operations, providing the necessary context in the cloud, giving you the how, when, what, where and who of a security problem so you can make efficient, fast and informed decisions on how to respond.

An audit log can provide a clear and complete view of:

  • The modification, addition, or removal of critical system components.
  • Of unauthorized modifications to data and configurations.
  • Of the magnitude of the impact of the attack and the point of origin.

4. Thorough actionable analysis.

Your customers will want to be assured that they are monitoring suspicious activity and receiving real-time alerts. They can make quick decisions and take swift action to attack the problem before a system-wide situation exposes and compromises sensitive customer data. In addition to the fact that reducing MTTD (Mean Time to Detection) and MTTR (Mean Time to Remedy) will make achieving SOC2 certification easier, which will make your customers place more trust in your company.

The biggest secret in this cybersecurity IT scheme is that your decisions can only be as good as the intelligence they are based on, as you need actionable data to make informed decisions. This translates into host-based monitoring, where the source of truth can be found. Once we have found this, we have visibility into many areas; where the attack originated, where it went, what parts of the system are affected, the nature of the impact, and predicting what the next move might be.

The 4 steps to prepare your company for a Soc2 audit

By knowing and managing this data, threats can be effectively detected, the impact lessened and corrective measures implemented to prevent similar events from occurring again in the future. Finally, and to make it more straightforward, the final objective of SOC2 certification is to list the principles that govern it.

  • Security: all information and data handled by the company are protected against disclosure and unauthorized access.
  • Confidentiality: the information granted confidential status is protected to meet the entity's objectives.
  • Availability: data and systems are available for operation and use.
  • Privacy Controls: personal information is collected, used, retained, disclosed, and disposed of in compliance with the entity's objectives.

These form the basis of the most important principles within SOC2, but when it comes down to it, what both the company and the customer are interested in knowing is: How do we know we are ready for a SOC2 audit?

The answer is simple, review the systems. It is the only way to ensure that we are ready to pass the audit and achieve certification successfully. As you can see, SOC2 certification is the certification that all SaaS companies want to achieve.

In the next post, we will talk about the eight steps for the correct preparation of the SOC2 audit. For the moment, we will list them so that you can start to understand them: defining the reporting period, quantifying the risk, limiting the scope, building a solid compliance team, assessing readiness, identifying gaps in the system, remediating and gathering additional documentation.

  • What are you doing today to achieve SOC2 certification?

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