Your Guide on Startups and SOC 2 Compliance

By James Mellor posted 06-04-2020 12:32


With each year that passes, businesses face more advanced and sophisticated attacks against their systems. With more companies relying on cloud systems, it is easier for cyber attackers to breach into their internal files and use them maliciously. 

Therefore, companies must have adequate security protocols in place to mitigate cyberattacks and contain them before they turn into an even larger problem. 

Startup companies using cloud-based systems should put cybersecurity at the forefront of their to-do list. They should work towards being SOC-2 compliant and here is a guide to help startups navigate their path to getting their certification:

Preparing for the audit

Before starting the practical preparations for the audit, you should start off by understanding what the SOC-2 compliance is. The company must have a clear picture of what is expected and should know the entire auditing framework. When preparing for the audit, you can also identify areas where the business lacks and potential vulnerabilities. 

According to the experts at JupiterOne, with that data, you can start developing a roadmap that will guide the business to being SOC-2 compliant. You can also choose carefully the type of products that will be used by the business to reach SOC 2 compliance requirements.

Getting the paperwork ready

Startups generally face a hard time in having the entire necessary paperwork ready because of insufficient human resources. The company may not have a role dedicated to drafting, collecting, and storing important company policies that should be presented during the audit. 

Therefore, there is a lot of paperwork involved, so be ready to have a good deal of documentation ready for reference. 

The minimum paperwork required includes policies and procedures regarding data backup, incident response, access control, and change of management. Ensure that these are ready for the audit and communicate with your assigned auditor to gather all the required information.

Improving security systems

Once all the paperwork is done, the next step you should take is setting up practical security measures to your systems. During the initial phase, there will be discrepancies or inconsistencies you might have picked up. This is where you should work towards fixing them all and making the company systems align with SOC-2 compliance requirements. 

You might need to reconfigure your IT infrastructure, implement vulnerability scans, file integrity monitoring systems and two-factor authentication solutions. You should also train the entire staff on the importance of security and testing the incident response plan that has been developed for the business.

Conducting a self-audit

All your protocols and precautionary safety measures should be tested before the real audit. You might want to hire a third-party auditor to conduct a “dry run” of the security and operational improvements implemented on the company systems. 

The test might point out other vulnerabilities you might have missed or where there is room for improvement. If you are not confident about the results of the self-audit, there will still be time to bring them to your level of satisfaction, in accordance with SOC-2 requirements.

Requesting the actual audit

Once all systems have been tested, you can request the actual audit and prepare your team for potential questions that might be asked. The questions will relate mainly to the company protocols developed to test the understanding of the business regarding SOC-2 compliance. 

You will also be required to present the paperwork requested and evidence that corroborates your SOC-2 compliance. The entire team will be interviewed to determine their roles and what they know about data privacy and other security concerns. If all of these things check out, you will then be awarded the SOC-2 compliance certificate.

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