If you were to ask any business owner what the number one concern is at the forefront of their mind, chances are, they might answer with “growing and keeping their business going.” But what they don’t realize is that poor information security could be the reason a company could go out of business.

For those who may outsource key business operations to third-party vendors, security is particularly important, and rightfully so since mishandled data—especially at the hands of network security providers—can leave organizations vulnerable to a variety of dangers. 

Because of the increase in cyber attacks and data breaches, businesses are looking for ways to vet and guarantee their IT providers’ security protocols. That’s where a certified SOC 2 service provider comes in.

What Is SOC 2?

SOC 2 is an auditing process created by AICPA’s Service Organization Control (SOC) that evaluates and certifies the customer data security processes of a service provider. The audit assesses a company’s effectiveness in managing its customer’s data, and it’s conducted by a licensed, third-party certified public accountant (CPA). 

To be a SOC 2 service provider, you must go through a rigorous process that highlights five specific security principles your company must abide by:

  1. Security: The system must be protected against unauthorized access.
  2. Availability: Systems must be available for operations and use as committed or agreed.
  3. Processing Integrity: System processes must be complete, accurate, timely and authorized.
  4. Confidentiality: Information designated as confidential must be protected.
  5. Privacy: Personal information must be collected, used, disclosed, and disposed of according to established procedures.

The Process of Certification

Achieving a SOC 2 certification isn’t easy. It’s both time consuming and expensive. But it can be a great investment for any IT services provider. A certified SOC 2 service provider can guarantee that their security protocols are up to satisfactory standards.

The process for certification is comprehensive and includes the following steps:

1. Understanding the SOC 2 documentation requirements.

2. Planning and scoping the audit.

3. Creating the control environment.

4. Conducting a risk assessment.

5. Identifying key controls in place to mitigate those risks.

6. Documentation of control activities and testing results.

7. Reporting on the effectiveness of management’s description of its system, criteria used to meet applicable trust services principles, suitability of design, operating effectiveness and other matters included in an examination as may be agreed upon with customer or user entities.

Why You Should Partner with an IT Provider Who Has a Certification in SOC 2

When it comes to data security, opting for an IT provider who has undergone and passed the AICPA’s SOC 2 audit is paramount. Since the cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, proving you can keep up with security changes is key for certification.

Plus, a certified SOC 2 service provider is someone who can ensure compliance with data regulations and industry requirements. The truth is the hold on security is tightening, and one small move could mean disaster for your company. 

But partnering with a certified SOC 2 service provider means peace for you and your business—don’t let someone who promises your business better security access your networks without proof. Your IT provider needs to provide receipts that they’re ready and prepared to protect you.

What Businesses Can Expect in a SOC C Type 2 Report

Once an IT service provider has passed an SOC 2 audit, the auditor will issue what’s called a “Type 2 Report.” This report goes into detail and provide transparency on the prospect SOC 2 service provider’s business security practices and includes information such as the following:

  • The provider’s description of their system
  • A description of criteria used to meet applicable trust services principles
  • An assessment of risks associated with their setup
  • Information about how those risks are being mitigated
  • Insights on how effective the provider’s system is
  • An examination of their design, operating effectiveness, and other related matters
  • Conclusion on the service provider’s conformance with applicable trust services criteria

INSC: Your SOC 2 Certification Partner

If you’re looking to partner with a top-notch SOC 2 service provider, consider Innovative Network Solutions. We can help ensure compliance for your business and protect your customer data. Our experienced team is committed to providing best-in-class cybersecurity and IT services for our clients. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help safeguard your customer data!