Implementing robust data security and privacy frameworks can be a time-consuming challenge for companies. Becoming SOC 2 compliant, like any complicated process, requires careful consideration of various factors that can either prolong or expedite the compliance and audit processes.
Often, SaaS startups prioritize other initiatives over SOC 2 compliance processes, relegating them to the back burner. However, when a large enterprise customer requests a cybersecurity compliance report, the sales cycle can come to a screeching halt. Suddenly, cybersecurity becomes the top priority, pulling resources away from critical departments such as engineering, product management, IT, human resources, etc.
Rushing to achieve SOC 2 compliance without a plan or clearly defined responsibilities and functions can lead to significant delays. Fortunately, there are proven strategies to fast-track compliance processes without compromising business growth.
Understanding the SOC 2 Framework
Before embarking on the compliance journey, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the five trust service categories that shape your company’s cybersecurity practices:
- Security: This category protects information and systems against unauthorized access and disclosure. It includes developing well-defined security policies, procedures, and training.
- Availability: Cybersecurity systems must meet the availability standards outlined in the Service Level Agreement (SLA), focusing on performance, support, and incident management.
- Processing Integrity: This category emphasizes deploying robust monitoring and quality assurance practices to ensure processes function as expected against cybersecurity threats.
- Confidentiality: Complying with this category requires implementing encryption, access controls, and firewalls as essential safeguards for protecting customer data. It also involves establishing robust user permissions to limit data access to authorized individuals within the organization.
- Privacy: This category oversees how well a company communicates how customer data is used and stored.
A comprehensive understanding of these criteria is an excellent starting point for effective planning and faster implementation of necessary controls.
Leveraging Collaboration Across Departments
A cross-functional team is indispensable for a smooth and accelerated SOC 2 compliance process. It is imperative to involve stakeholders from IT, security, operations, HR, legal, and other departments. This team will collaborate to define policies, implement controls, address identified gaps, and address identified gaps. It is also essential to assign clear roles and responsibilities to team members.
Performing Constant Gap Analysis
Conducting a gap analysis is a crucial step in identifying any existing gaps between your current practices and the SOC 2 requirements. This assessment helps you understand which areas need improvement, enabling you to prioritize your efforts. Engage a qualified third-party auditor to conduct the analysis and provide a detailed report highlighting the areas that require attention.
Conducting Internal Audits
Internal audits are invaluable for assessing progress toward SOC 2 compliance. They help identify areas that require improvement and ensure adherence to established controls and policies. Internal audits also offer an opportunity to address issues before they become compliance roadblocks proactively.
Expediting Compliance Through Software Platforms
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for SOC 2 compliance, cybersecurity companies have developed fully customizable platforms to empower companies with a wide range of pre-built policies and controls, streamlining SOC 2 compliance while staying within budget and avoiding costly auditors or adding internal headcount.
These software platforms expedite SOC 2 requirements through automated data collection using cloud-based services and tools like AWS, GitHub, and G Suite. This eliminates the manual effort involved in data collection and ensures accuracy.
Moreover, these platforms guide organizations through the compliance assessment process step by step, providing a checklist of requirements and evidence for each control. This guidance helps organizations stay organized and focused on compliance goals, enabling them to be well-prepared for the formal SOC 2 audit, saving time and minimizing potential roadblocks.
While there are no shortcuts to achieving SOC 2 compliance, there are multiple ways to speed up the process. SOC 2 compliance requires constant monitoring, assessment, and adaptation to changing threats and regulations. Prioritize security and privacy, demonstrating your commitment to protecting your customers’ data.
Fortunately, there are cloud-based solutions that can do the heavy lifting while the company focuses on growing.