Protecting consumer data is one of your biggest responsibilities and challenges in the financial services industry. With data breaches and cybersecurity threats a constant concern, your company needs to comply with System and Organization Controls for the best security practices to safeguard your data. A SOC 2 compliance checklist can ensure your company passes a security audit and protects your clients.
With a SOC 2 checklist, you can meet the compliance requirements of an audit when testing the privacy and security of your data. Although SOC 2 is a voluntary compliance standard, earning a certificate in compliance gives credibility to your company when it comes to responsibility for handling sensitive data and maintaining a high level of information security.
For your business to achieve compliance with SOC 2 standards, an independent CPA firm or CPA performs a SOC audit. All controls are evaluated according to the Trust Services Criteria set by the American Institute of CPAs.
Your SOC 2 compliance checklist should address the critical standards of data security established by the AICPA in theTrust Service Criteria. The TSC covers a range of things, from data encryption to physical security.
This is the most common criterion. Security requires businesses to enable firewalls, entity-level controls, access controls and other operational controls that protect applications and data.
This standard requires your company to meet performance and operational uptime expectations. It involves your procedures for addressing security incidents, performing disaster recovery and monitoring network performance.
You must demonstrate your capabilities for safeguarding confidential information during its lifecycle with your company. This includes setting access controls for authorized users.
The standard of integrity is the accurate, reliable and on-time processing of cloud data and verifiable operations of your systems. This element focuses on quality assurance measures and the tools needed to monitor data processing.
All personally identifiable information requires protection from unauthorized access and data breaches. This standard evaluates encryption methods, two-factor authentication practices and access controls.
To be fully prepared for an audit and establish your data security reliability, there are nine elements to include on your checklist. All of your practices, processes and controls should support one or more of the five main TSCs.
The first item on the checklist is determining what you are doing with the SOC 2 report. The answers help define your end goals and objectives and could include things like answering a client’s request, expanding operations or improving your security posture against breaches.
You can choose either a Type 1 or Type 2 report. You can make this decision based on the timeline you are working with or the request of your client. Type 1 is recommended for those just starting out in the business and needing reputational reliability. Type 2 is ideal if you already maintain compliance.
You can demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of your data safety requirements by focusing on the elements that only apply to you. This lets you pare down the SOC 2 compliance checklist according to the TSC that apply to your practices. Security is always a criterion, but most financial services businesses need processing integrity and availability as well.
Identify your internal risks, assigning both a likelihood and an impact estimation for each. For every risk, create and deploy controls to mitigate it. Any gaps or oversights when assessing risks leave you vulnerable to data security concerns.
Work through all the practices and procedures in place and compare them to the expectations outlined in checklist requirements and industry best practices. This way, you have current knowledge of what processes are in place and how they compare to SOC 2 standards for certification. Since a SOC 2 audit requires evidence of your security and compliance, collect log reports, screenshots and other documentation to present to the auditor.
There are a total of 61 criteria elements across the five TSC of SOC 2 compliance. Put in place internal controls for each individual criterion of your TSC focus. They should be stage-appropriate and relevant to your operations and establish performance expectations and the procedures that achieve these expectations.
You can use an independent auditor to conduct a basic readiness assessment to determine your compliance before a full audit. Areas to focus on include:
The results of anaudit prepinform you of any controls to remap or new ones to implement. You boost the likelihood of a good SOC 2 audit with a practice run.
An independent certified auditor will complete your SOC 2 compliance checklist and generate a report for the audit. Work with an auditor with experience with businesses like yours and verifiable credentials.
SOC 2 audits take place each year. Put in place robust monitoring practices to ensure your business is protected as it grows, expands operations, purchases new software or equipment and gains or loses employees.
For a complete compliance checklist, there are four areas of practice to keep in mind as you evaluate your data security:
Paying attention to these areas keeps the focus on how you are meeting the TSC.
Putting together a SOC 2 compliance checklist is time-consuming but incredibly important for your company’s data security. To streamline your compliance concerns, turn to Compyl.Contact usto find out how we can improve your data security measures.