Your organization has sensitive information about your customers, vendors, and employees. Those people are counting on you to protect that information from a data breach.

If you get hacked, you could be looking at a very expensive — and public — cleanup. The average cost of a cyberattack is $3.86 million, and that cost is increasing every year.

SOC 2 is one of the industry standards that organizations use to certify that they’re securely managing their data. SOC 2 is a directional standard, which gives you certain freedoms that other standards don’t. This can be both a blessing and a curse.

Related reading: Your Small Business Isn’t Hiding from Cyberattackers

What Is SOC 2?

SOC 2 is a compliance standard that defines a set of criteria for managing your sensitive data. Developed by the American Institute of CPAs, SOC 2 is based on five trust service principles:

  • Security — how secure are your system resources from attack?
  • Availability — do the right people have the right access to your system, products, and services?
  • Processing Integrity — does each system achieve its purpose?
  • Confidentiality — is sensitive information adequately encrypted?
  • Privacy — are the right controls in place to protect personal information?

The idea of SOC 2 is to make sure you’re keeping sensitive data secure by meeting certain criteria. It’s up to you to create your own controls, to ensure SOC 2 criteria are met. Each of those controls is customized to your organization, and it’s different for every company.

For each of those controls, you have to provide a series of testing steps to prove that the controls are in place and effective.

SOC 2 certification is issued by a third-party Assessor. Your Assessor will conduct an annual assessment of the controls and associated testing steps defined to meet the SOC 2 criteria.

Sounds simple enough, right? Keep reading.

What’s Tricky About SOC 2?

SOC 2 is a directional compliance standard — it’s less rigid than a highly prescriptive standard, like PCI-DSS, which tells you exactly what to do and how to do it. With SOC 2, you decide what controls you’re going to use to meet each of the in-scope criteria.

Because you can create any controls you want, you’ve got more room to create a mess. Give me a paint-by-number kit and I can create a masterpiece, but give me a blank canvas and I’ll politely see myself out the door.

SOC 2 requires thoughtful planning about the scope you set and the controls you need in place. Make sure those controls are appropriate, and clear to all parties involved. If they’re too simple you can have gaps, and if they’re too complicated they can create confusion and extra work. You may want to lean on your Assessor’s expertise as you initially develop them.

Your Assessor will typically start their inaugural engagement with your organization by reviewing and confirming that the structure of controls and associated testing steps are appropriate to ensure your organization has met the criteria.

Your tests will also need to be clearly defined and appropriate. Make sure they’re clearly communicated to all stakeholders.

Finally, because SOC 2 is so highly customized, there usually isn’t an easy way to use existing platforms to generate a list of your customized controls and testing steps. Every organization meets SOC criteria differently — sometimes wildly so.

So you’re often on your own for managing and tracking SOC 2 at your company — typically with (insert timely shudder) a spreadsheet or some other patchwork quilt of manual monstrosity.

Which means you’re probably managing SOC 2 compliance manually. If so, you’re doing it wrong. TCT Portal can streamline SOC 2 management for you.

Listen to our SOC 2 podcast episode

Manage SOC 2 Like a Master

When Total Compliance Tracking was born, we made a commitment that the company would live up to its name. We had to make compliance management suck less for every standard, not just the prescriptive frameworks like PCI-DSS.

Since SOC 2 is a directional standard, if we could create a compliance management system that streamlined the SOC 2 process, we knew we could legitimately stand by our name.

TCT Portal compliance software gives you complete freedom to customize your controls however you see fit, while providing the stability of the underlying principles that you need to meet as an organization.

No matter how your organization defines your controls, TCT’s combination of flexibility and stability creates a framework you can use to streamline your compliance process.

All of that manual work you’re doing to organize and manage your SOC 2 efforts? It’s all done automatically in TCT Portal.

  • Get clear visibility into your status with live data.
  • Get actionable information at a glance.
  • Never lose your evidence.
  • Quit hounding your team members to complete their tasks.
  • Work seamlessly in a remote environment.

Instead of the engagement managing you, you’re managing the engagement.

TCT Portal streamlines your SOC 2 management and simplifies your annual assessments. The Portal allows you to define your controls and how you’re going to test them.

TCT Portal for ALL of Your Compliance Certifications

TCT Portal allows you to manage all of your compliance certifications under one system. You don’t need to get a HIPAA system and then get a SOC 2 system, and then find something else for PCI-DSS. And you don’t need to keep a bunch of separate manual tracking sheets for each standard.

Good golly, that’s practically unmanageable — and yet, people are doing their damnedest every day to hold multiple standards together across different systems.

Instead, you can use TCT Portal for all of your industry compliance standards.

Better yet, if you’re also running under a more prescriptive standard like PCI-DSS, you can use that standard to apply and fulfill the testing validations for your SOC 2 controls. Attach evidence under your PCI track and it’s automatically applied to SOC 2 as well. You could find that you have 90 percent of your SOC 2 requirements taken care of through your other compliance frameworks.

That’s less time and effort, and zero duplication of your activities.

Managing your SOC 2 compliance doesn’t have to suck. See for yourself how TCT Portal can make your life easier.

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