There are many reasons why you might be contemplating a change in how you resource IT services. You could have outgrown your current IT support company. You may have come to the realization that your internal team doesn’t have all the capabilities you need. Maybe you’ve had a data breach and you aren’t confident that IT is doing everything they can to keep your data and business secure. Whatever the reason, make your evaluation of potential IT services companies easier by looking for SOC 2 verification.
What is SOC?
If you’re not in the financial services industry, you’ve probably not heard of this term. SOC stands for Service Organization Control and it’s a part of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) reporting platform. SOC 1 is mainly concerned with financial information, and SOC 2 is concerned with not only financial information but many other kinds of data that you might store for clients. Type II indicates that controls on information were audited over a period of time, whereas Type I is for one snapshot in time.
SOC 2 Compliance Means Cyber Security Credibility
You don’t have to be a financial services company to benefit from a managed IT service provider’s SOC 2 compliance. The impact of a cyber attack can be devastating, and in order to manage overall business risk, executives and business owners need to know for sure that their IT partner is doing everything they can to protect their data, systems and people from a cyber attack.
Here’s why SOC 2 compliance is a cyber security signal you can trust:
1. Third Party Validated Security Practices and Procedures
You can’t become SOC 2 compliant without going through a rigorous audit process that is conducted by a third party. There are five areas of operations that the auditors assess called the Trust Services Criteria. These include:
- Security – Protection against unauthorized access.
- Availability – Data is available for use.
- Processing Integrity – Data is accurate and complete.
- Confidentiality – Data is protected as agreed.
- Privacy – Personal information is handled according to AICPA standards.
Not only is third party validation of cyber security practices good for your own peace of mind, it’s a way that you can communicate to your customers your commitment to protecting their data that you have in your possession.
2. Ongoing Technical and Nontechnical Improvements to the Cyber Security Process
Ongoing SOC 2 audits are required to maintain compliance and a key concept incorporated into the process is continuous improvement. Improvement may mean ongoing training for staff so that they know how to recognize and respond to a potential cyber attack, or it can mean improving technical layers of defense as technology evolves.
Although specific software tools are not called out in the guidelines, sophisticated applications are required in order to meet requirements for detecting a network intrusion. Many managed IT service companies have not invested in these expensive technologies, so SOC 2 compliance is a sign that the vendor is committed to a higher level of defense than other companies who don’t have the tools nor the capability to deploy them.
Cyber security is a process that must be managed, not a set of policies and procedures that live only in the pages of your employee handbook. Ongoing training and policy enforcement are required because cyber security practices need to become part of daily operations.
3. Compliance Indicates High Level Commitment to Cyber Security
The audit process to become SOC 2 compliant is arduous and expensive. It isn’t something that a company undertakes without total commitment from leadership that permeates throughout the whole organization.
It’s not that unusual to see very large companies attain SOC verification especially when they have whole departments dedicated to compliance. When you find a smaller IT company that has undergone the process, you’ll know that this is a company that not only understands the importance of cyber security; they understand the importance of cyber risk management for business continuation.
XPERTECHS is SOC 2 Compliant
Here at XPERTECHS, we have made the commitment and the investment in our clients’ futures by becoming SOC 2 Type II compliant.
Schedule a meeting to explore how you can get the cyber security expertise you need to get peace of mind about the security – and the future – of your business.