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The Power of SOC 2: Your Guide to End-to-End Attestation

Updated: Jan 4

Last month, hackers breached a leading analytics firm. They stole 50,000 customer records and sold them on the dark web. They now face $4 million in lawsuits and regulatory fines. Their reputation is ruined. Customers have fled.

This could happen to any business. Cyber threats increased by 35% last year. Over 75% of companies were hacked. Firms of all sizes are targets. Just one breach can destroy trust and crater revenue.

But you can protect yourself. By knowing your security level. Improve if something is lacking. Know if you are ready to face hackers or not. Get SOC 2 certified. What is SOC 2? In one sentence- It's an audit verifying your data security and compliance meets the highest standards. 87% of customers feel more secure with SOC 2 attested partners.

But please don't fall in this misconception trap that SOC 2 attestation protects your business. It doesn't. Only tells you about your level of security so you can improve.

This article explains everything about pursuing SOC 2 compliance. Follow our 3-step plan to lock down data and prove your commitment to clients. Let's start making your business hacker-proof right now.

The SOC 2 Framework: What You Need to Know

Feel like your data is hostage? SOC 2 is the rescue team.

SOC 2 attestation shows customers your data is secure. No more worrying about hacks. No more insomnia over breaches leaking everything. SOC 2 is peace of mind. It's an elite security force protecting your customers.

Here's how it works. SOC 2 checks your cyber controls against 5 criteria:

  • Can strangers grab your data? NOPE. Only authorized access is allowed.

  • Could you lose data? NO WAY. Controls ensure it's always available.

  • Is data processed accurately? BET ON IT. SOC 2 audits integrity.

  • Is sensitive data locked down? COUNT ON IT. SOC 2 ensures confidentiality.

  • Is personal info handled right? ABSOLUTELY. SOC 2 examines privacy.

SOC 2 audit verifies that your controls meet all 5 criteria through a detailed evaluation by an independent CPA.

Two levels exist:

Level 1: Checks if controls are designed right.

Level 2: Verifies controls work 24/7. This is the true security assurance.

Most customers will want to see a Level 2 report to confirm your controls are robust on an ongoing basis.

SOC 2 says you take data seriously. It shows customers their info is safe with you. That you care.

Why Get SOC 2 Attested?

SOC 2 attestation demonstrates a commitment to data security. It builds trust and loyalty with customers by showing their sensitive information is safe with you.

Key Benefits:

  • Strengthens security controls and defenses

  • Ensures adherence to compliance regulations

  • Gives a competitive edge over less secure rivals

  • Reduces risk of major data breaches

  • Avoids heavy non-compliance fines

How SOC 2 Does It:

✔ Identifies gaps in security controls to close

✔ Validate measures meet industry standards

✔ Provides report to show prospects instead of questionnaires

✔ Checks the compliance box for healthcare, banking, etc.

✔ Proves you take confidentiality and privacy seriously

87% of Customers say they are more likely to choose vendors with SOC 2 attestation. It gives them confidence in the handling of their sensitive data.

In the current high-risk environment, SOC 2 attestation provides peace of mind and a competitive edge. It's a must-have for any serious organization handling customer data.

SOC 2 Type 1 vs Type 2: What's the Difference?

Wondering what's the difference between SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2 reports? Let me break it down for you.

A Type 1 report is like a quick check-up at one point in time. The auditors come in and evaluate: Are your controls designed properly for security? They poke around a bit to get a sense of things.

A Type 2 report is more like an ongoing health monitoring program. The auditors camp out with you for 6 months! They follow you around, running all kinds of tests. They dig into the details to answer: Is everything working effectively 24/7?

The differences boiled down:

  • Type 1 checks controls at one moment. Type 2 evaluates over time.

  • Type 1 focuses on the design. Type 2 tests effectiveness.

  • Type 1 provides some assurance. Type 2 builds much higher confidence.

So which to get? Most companies will want to see a Type 2 report before working with you. It's the gold standard that shows your controls are truly solid over an extended period.

The Costs and Efforts of SOC 2 Compliance

Getting SOC 2 attested requires an investment of time, money, and effort. Here are some key considerations:

Cost Factors:

  • Audit fees paid to CPA firms - Can range from $15,000 to over $100,000 depending on company size and scope

  • Software costs for audit preparation/management

  • Consulting fees of utilizing external consultants (recommended due to its complexity)

  • Internal labor costs for compliance personnel

Time Investment:

  • Education on SOC 2 requirements - 1-2 weeks

  • Review and update security policies - 1-2 months

  • Control implementation for any identified gaps - 1-3 months

  • Gathering audit evidence and preparation - 1-2 months

  • Timeframe for Type 2 report - 6 months of operating period

Resource Commitment:

  • A dedicated compliance team is optimal

  • Security engineers to implement controls

  • Executive buy-in and participation in certification

The costs and effort involved make careful planning and management of the project essential. However, the long-term benefits and reduced risk make SOC 2 a very strategic investment overall.

Getting Started with SOC 2 Compliance

Want the inside scoop on getting SOC 2 compliant? Here's how to tackle it:

  1. First things first - build an all-star compliance team. Gather the smartest folks at your company, or recruit outside experts. Having the right squad is crucial.

  2. Next, geek out on the Trust Services Criteria. They spell out the security rules you'll be measured against. Memorize them.

  3. Do an honest gap analysis. How do your current controls stack up against the SOC 2 requirements? Is anything missing or needs work?

  4. Make a battle plan to fix the gaps. Update policies, strengthen controls, and refine any shaky processes. Check those boxes!

  5. Now prove your controls are tight. Flaunt any evidence - documents, screenshots, logs. More proof the better.

  6. Decide on a Type 1 or Type 2 report. Type 2 is the ultimate certificate of street cred and is worth the effort.

  7. Hire CPAs you trust to run the audit. Do your research - you want keen-eyed experts watching your back.

  8. Stay in constant contact when they're on site. Answer questions. Provide support. Brew strong coffee.

  9. If they flag any weak points, lock 'em down. Get your controls fully up to SOC 2's high standards.

Once you're compliant, show it off! Add that SOC 2 badge of honor to your website. Watch new customers roll in.

Staying Compliant: Best Practices for Continued Success

Think of SOC 2 like constructing a skyscraper - the initial build is a huge undertaking, but maintaining it over time also takes diligence. To keep your SOC 2 "skyscraper" standing tall, conduct regular "structural inspections" (control reviews) to catch any cracks.

Follow strict procedures for "renovations" (system changes) to avoid undermining structural integrity. Maintain detailed "architectural plans" (documentation) for transparency.

Promptly "repair" any identified "defects" (audit findings). Don't ignore problems! Review "zoning laws" annually (best practice standards) and update your "blueprint" (policies and controls) accordingly. Conduct "safety drills" (employee training) to keep everyone following proper protocols. Get new "tenants" (hires) up to speed.

Check-in routinely with your trusted "architects" (auditors) for guidance as codes evolve. Schedule regular "safety inspections" (audits) to renew your "occupancy permit" (certification).

"Automate maintenance" (compliance processes) where possible to increase efficiency. Appoint "property managers" (compliance owners) to oversee controls across the organizational "floors" (divisions).

Maintaining your SOC 2 skyscraper takes diligence and investment, but becomes easier over time. Ongoing compliance reduces risk and provides confidence that your fortress stands strong.

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

SOC 2 provides a powerful framework for organizations to demonstrate their security and compliance to customers. Key points:

  • SOC 2 attestation builds trust and confidence with customers in today's high-risk environment

  • Validating controls meet Trust Services Criteria gives a competitive advantage and facilitates sales

  • Type 2 reports provide the highest level of assurance with rigorous ongoing testing

  • Compliance requires investment but pays off through reduced risk and peace of mind

  • Maintaining certification involves diligence as controls must remain effective over time

Achieving SOC 2 compliance signals your commitment to data security and privacy. It shows customers their sensitive data is in reliable hands.

Are you ready to join leading companies by getting SOC 2 attested? Contact our experts today to start your SOC 2 journey. We make attestation efficient and cost-effective.

CTA: Get Me SOC 2 Attested

An upfront investment in SOC 2 will pay dividends through new business, customer loyalty, and reduced risk of cyber incidents. Let's discuss your needs and get started on a security solution tailored to your organization.

We will assess what's needed to pass and refine any gaps. Then connect you with auditors to schedule your Level 2 audit.

Time to relax knowing SOC 2 is locking down your data. Let's talk!

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