If your business outsources any operations to third-party vendors, such as SaaS or cloud-computing providers, it’s crucial to make sure they protect your data. Luckily, there are guidelines in place that companies can use to make sure their service providers are compliant with security protocols and best practices.
Not everyone is familiar with SOC 2 compliance and the responsibilities companies bear for protecting data. But now is a good time to learn more about whether you or the companies you share data with are abiding by these important principles.
What is System and Organization Controls 2 (SOC2)?
Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) introduced the term “System and Organization Controls” (SOC) in 2017. More specifically, SOC 2 refers to the criteria organizations must abide by if they manage customer data.
These 5 “trust service principles” are:
- Security: Does your system protect against unauthorized access?
- Availability: Is the system accessible as agreed upon with customers?
- Processing integrity: Is customer data processed in a timely manner, with accuracy?
- Confidentiality: Are you maintaining commitments to customers surrounding confidentiality?
When choosing a third-party vendor of any kind, a company should ensure that they are SOC 2 compliant. Service providers should be clear about the SOC 2 auditing procedures they have in place to prevent the mishandling of a client’s data, including cyberattacks, data theft or destruction, and infection with malware.
Enhancing security with SOC 2
A company that manages customer data needs to be well-versed in SOC 2 criteria. However, these criteria are minimum requirements for information security (InfoSec), and SOC 2 reports can look different for each organization. That’s why it’s essential for companies that outsource operations to understand the 5 (somewhat overlapping) trust principles and ask vendors how they stay compliant.
For example, security procedures should include firewall protection, intrusion detection, and two-factor authentication, at minimum. Availability refers to a vendor’s approach to its own performance monitoring as well as how they handle security breaches, data corruption incidents, and data recovery. A vendor’s processing integrity involves things like their monitoring procedures and quality assurance protocols. SOC 2-compliant companies also put confidentiality and privacy measures in place, including access controls and up-to-date encryption.
What is System and Organization Controls 2 (SOC 2) compliance?
There are two types of SOC reports:
- Type I reports provide details on a vendor’s systems and whether or not they meet the five trust principles.
- Type II reports contain data on the operational effectiveness of a vendor’s systems.
While your company may not need to know the exact details of AICPA’s compliance requirements that pertain to vendors, you can expect companies you do business with to share these details. Knowing if they are compliant and take information security seriously can, in turn, help you establish trust with your own customers. So when you need a new information security or service provider, it’s wise to ask about their SOC 2 compliance information.
Staying SOC 2 compliant with visitor management tools
Visitor management systems should have protocols in place to ensure the protection of all the data they collect. If they utilize a cloud-based system, that system should be SOC 2-compliant.
Sine is a cloud-based visitor management system hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS data centers are designed to be secure, and Amazon continually undergoes risk assessments to ensure compliance with industry standards around the world.
SOC 2 compliance is an indicator of reliability, and Sine’s partnership with AWS makes sure that these standards are met. AWS’s SOC reports — including their SOC 2 reports — are freely available online. They are produced by an independent third party that ensures AWS’s customers, such as Sine, can confidently assure their visitors that their information is secure and that the vendors involved are transparent about their commitment to data privacy and protection.
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