What Are The SOC 2 Compliance Requirements?

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SOC 2 has become the essential compliance standard for any company or organization managing their security stature. It’s a mandatory aspect of an app or software to comply with the scope of customer data protection. When it comes to complying with the SOC 2, there are a few requirements that every organization needs to meet across applications and IT infrastructure. Below  is an SOC 2 compliance checklist  tech-based companies can follow so they can be compliant.

Security

The Security criteria contains the most basic SOC 2 requirements required to comply with SOC 2. SOC 2 requires teams  to limit unauthorized access on the cloud where the customer data is stored. This includes preventing misuse of any company applications or software, limiting data removal, and protecting against sensitive information leaks. This criteria evaluates security in the context of how tech companies implement and address security controls. Organizations must have a set of security controls implemented and enforced across their infrastructure.It should be noted that security principles and individual security standards are not optional when it comes to data protection.

The controls for security are diverse but measurable, and reasonable to comply with. First, organizations must set protections to block unauthorized access, teams should implement appropriate access control systems, and  apply access restrictions. Second, teams must perform system vulnerability scanning to detect and resolve system security concerns. Third, teams must prevent unauthorized modifications or changes to the system by controlling who has access to make those changes. Four, security compliance requires teams to develop robust security policies and procedures that dictate technical implementation for security management and controls. Addressing Security criteria standards is an essential step in becoming SOC 2 compliant.  

Availability

Another requirement in the SOC 2 checklist is Availability. Availability refers to the ability to predictably access your organization’s IT systems and resources to perform normal operations.  Based on your organization’s overall business goals, your team should determine minimum capacity requirements and overall system redundancy. . Once a system fails to provide adequate resources or is inaccessible, the service not only fails, but also becomes incapable of detecting and recognizing security incidents or malicious attacks. In other words, unavailability may lead to a potential security threat. 

To comply with the SOC 2 requirements around Availability, your team should consider the following steps. First, your team must establish a strong capacity management process to prevent systems from shrinking due to impaired or other availability issues. Second, your team should identify and assess threats within the environment and measure how they could affect the availability of systems. It should be noted that your team must consider external factors that may affect system availability such as weather, power sources, and services.Mitigation plays a crucial role in maintaining overall availability.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is another requirement organizations must consider when managing SOC 2 compliance. As you probably know, only privileged users should have system access and be able to make changes to confidential data and PII. Whether it’s customer data, product development, financing, or even business strategies, these systems should remain confidential. Confidentiality sounds easy, but has become a major challenge for many tech-based organizations. Confidentiality heavily relates to the security requirements previously mentioned.

There are two categories of fundamental requirements for SOC 2 Confidentiality. First of all, your systems should be able to identify or recognize information that’s confidential by implementing data identification and inventory when confidential data is created and processed. Your team should also determine how systems should retain this type of data. Second, the systems must be able to destroy sensitive information, when it is no longer needed.

Integrity

Integrity measures how accurate data processing is performed by company systems. This criteria measures how systems can deliver the right data in an accurate and timely manner. The right data fundamentally refers to valid and authorized data transferred through the system. Being SOC 2 compliant means organizations must demonstrate accuracy and time discipline in data processing. Speed and accuracy matter, but without integrity, they won’t have value. A system delivering unauthorized and invalid data is a security threat.

When it comes to the Integrity requirements there are two main categories to manage. First, systems must create an inventory of login and activity records coming from input sectors of systems. Second, systems must ensure that apps, software, or services have the right specs by defining the processing actions. Without integrity standards,  security threats could make their way to the system through misuses or unauthorized logins. 

Privacy

Last but not least, teams must have controls set around the Privacy criteria to meet SOC 2 compliance. This requirement relates to how systems accommodate the privacy principles and implements them in policy and procedures utilized with systems. This criteria relates to how the company collects personal information from its customers or users as well as how to use and retain that data. The privacy policy has become a familiar sight for any user before they use a service from the web, app, or software.

Privacy in a SOC 2 context has to meet two requirements. First, communicating the privacy policy should be clear, and there should be no chance of misinterpretation at any point. Straightforward language is preferred to disclose all information about privacy requirements to the users. Second, organizations or companies should confirm and guarantee the legality, reliability, and fairness of the use of any third-party data sources. Privacy is one of the only SOC 2 elements where the users become part of the process by signing or checking the box.