SOC 2 Compliance Checklist 2024

Kaitlin Edwards | Jun 8, 2024

SOC 2 Compliance Checklist 2024

Data seems to drive everything these days. In business, it’s responsible for safeguarding your customers’ information — it can be the difference between building trust and facing damaging consequences.

SOC 2 compliance is a widely recognized standard that demonstrates your organization’s commitment to protecting sensitive data. It’s not just a box to tick — it’s a way to ensure your business practices align with the highest security standards.

Achieving SOC 2 compliance doesn’t have to be a headache for your business. Companies like Mosey offer solutions to streamline the corporate compliance process, guiding you through the steps required to protect your business and your customers’ data.

What Should Be the Key Items on Your SOC 2 Compliance Checklist?

The SOC 2 journey begins with careful planning and a firm understanding of your objectives. Let’s go over the most important items on your SOC 2 compliance checklist to point you in the right direction:

1. Define Objectives and Choose Your Report Scope

Before you start implementing controls and updating procedures, it’s important to pinpoint exactly why you’re pursuing SOC 2 compliance. Are customers demanding it? Do you want to boost your security posture and reduce risks? Are you aiming for expansion and need to assure potential investors?

Once you understand your “why,” you can decide on the type of SOC 2 report that best suits your needs.

Your options are:

  • SOC 2 Type 1: This report provides a snapshot of your security controls at a specific point in time. It can be a good starting point if you’re new to SOC 2 compliance or must quickly show customers you’re taking security seriously.

  • SOC 2 Type 2: This more comprehensive report examines your controls over a period of time (often six to 12 months). It demonstrates that your security practices are in place and consistently effective.

2. Conduct a Rigorous Risk Assessment

Think of a risk assessment as a thorough security checkup for your business. You’ll need to identify potential threats, such as data breaches or unauthorized access, and the vulnerabilities within your systems that could make those threats a reality.

Here are some key questions to guide your analysis:

  • What types of sensitive data do you collect and store?
  • Where does that data reside, and how is it transmitted?
  • Who has access to sensitive data, and are their access levels appropriate?
  • What safeguards are in place to prevent data loss or unauthorized access?

A well-conducted risk assessment lays the foundation for your SOC 2 compliance efforts. By understanding your vulnerabilities, you can prioritize your organization’s most critical security controls.

3. Perform Gap Analysis and Take Corrective Measures

With your objectives clear and risks identified, it’s time for an honest assessment of your current security posture. The SOC 2 checklist provides a detailed roadmap of necessary controls and procedures.

By comparing your existing practices against these requirements, you’ll uncover any gaps that need addressing.

Remediation, or closing these gaps, is essential for achieving compliance. This could involve tightening access controls, implementing formal security policies, investing in employee training, or any number of other necessary changes.

4. Select and Implement the Right Controls

SOC 2 compliance isn’t a singular endeavor. The specific controls you’ll need depend on the Trust Service Criteria (TSC) relevant to your business.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Security (Mandatory): The foundation of SOC 2. Controls here focus on protecting your systems and data from unauthorized access or attacks.

  • Availability: Ensures your systems are up and running reliably, aligning with customer expectations.

  • Confidentiality: Protects sensitive data, like customer information or intellectual property, from unauthorized disclosure.

  • Processing Integrity: Guarantees that your data processing is accurate, complete, and authorized.

  • Privacy: Governs responsible handling of personally identifiable information (PII).

When selecting controls, remember that your business is unique. A solution that works for a massive corporation won’t necessarily be right for a small startup. Your controls need to be stage-appropriate and flexible enough to evolve as your business grows.

5. Undergo a Readiness Assessment

Think of a readiness assessment as a dress rehearsal before your actual SOC 2 audit. An independent assessor will help you pinpoint any remaining gaps or shortcomings in your compliance program.

This SOC 2 compliance checklist component is invaluable for addressing potential issues proactively and streamlining your path to a successful audit.

A readiness assessment typically involves assessing your:

  • Client Cooperation: Your willingness to share necessary information openly.

  • Gap Analysis Results: Identification of specific recommendations and priority actions.

  • Controls Matrix: A clear breakdown of control objectives and procedures.

  • Auditor Documentation: Drafts of formal policy documents and evidence of control implementation.

While there’s no such thing as “failing” a readiness assessment, it’s your chance to ensure a smooth and successful SOC 2 audit. Proactively addressing any issues flagged by the assessor puts you in a strong position to obtain your final SOC 2 report.

6. Find the Right Auditor and the Audit

You’ve carefully prepared, implemented controls, and addressed any gaps. Now, it’s time for the official evaluation: The SOC 2 audit.

While the idea of an audit can seem intimidating, partnering with the right auditor and understanding the process can smooth the way toward your compliance goals.

Choosing the right auditor is essential. While cost is a factor, don’t let it be the sole deciding factor. Look for an auditor with a strong track record and experience in auditing businesses similar to yours.

Here are some tips for making the right choice:

  • Seek Referrals: Ask your network for recommendations and inquire about their experience with specific auditors.

  • Check Credentials: Ensure the auditor is certified under the AICPA’s SOC 2 standards.

  • Ask About Communication Style: A good auditor will communicate clearly throughout the process, providing guidance and transparency.

Moreover, the SOC 2 audit itself typically unfolds in stages:

  1. Planning: You and the auditor will establish the scope of the audit, timelines, and evidence requirements.

  2. Fieldwork: The auditor examines your controls in-depth, requesting documentation, conducting interviews, and observing your processes.

  3. Draft Report: The auditor prepares a draft SOC 2 report, including any potential exceptions (gaps or weaknesses in your controls).

  4. Management Response: You’ll have an opportunity to address any exceptions and provide additional evidence as needed.

  5. Final Report: The auditor issues the final SOC 2 report, which outlines your security posture and compliance status.

A clear and collaborative approach from your auditor is key, especially as you go through the various stages of the SOC 2 audit.

What Are Common SOC 2 Compliance Challenges?

While the rewards of SOC 2 compliance are substantial, the path can be demanding. So, before we close, we need to address some of the most common hurdles businesses face:

  • Time Investment: Achieving SOC 2 compliance requires significant dedication. Documenting procedures, implementing new controls, and undergoing the audit process all demand time and attention from your team.

  • Documentation: SOC 2 relies heavily on detailed documentation, including policies, procedures, and evidence of control implementation. Developing and maintaining this documentation can be a substantial undertaking.

  • Potential Costs: Depending on the size and depth of your organization, SOC 2 compliance can incur costs such as auditor fees, software upgrades, and employee training.

Achieving SOC 2 compliance demonstrates your commitment to data security. SOC 2 compliance strengthens your security posture and builds trust with customers and partners, setting you apart in a competitive marketplace.

Choose Mosey for Automated Compliance

SOC 2 compliance is a powerful differentiator. It signals to customers and stakeholders that you take data security seriously. While the process can be complex, the rewards are substantial: Enhanced security, increased client trust, and a competitive edge. Mosey is SOC 2 compliant, ensuring our systems are secure and reliable for helping automate your compliance needs.

Solutions like Mosey can streamline your state compliance. With automation, centralized management, and expert guidance, Mosey empowers you to achieve compliance efficiently and stay ahead of evolving legislation.

Do you want to unlock the benefits of automated compliance? Book a demo with Mosey today to get started.

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