Data protection, data privacy, and cyber security are top-of-mind concerns, especially for fast growing startups. But what if you could…
Turn your data protection practices into a competitive advantage that helps you close more deals?
Prove that your company is ready to be serious about data protection and privacy?
Make data security a driver of strategic value (and revenue) for the business?
One way to help make these goals happen: SOC 2 attestation.
SOC 2 is an increasingly important compliance reporting framework for innovative startups. It verifies that you are up-to-speed on the industry’s highest standards for safe and secure handling of customer data.
Let’s learn more about SOC 2 attestation, why completing a SOC 2 audit is an essential step for growth-minded leaders, and how your team can get a SOC 2 as soon as possible.
SOC 2 compliance is table stakes for big deals
SOC 2 is a reporting framework that is overseen by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) that verifies your company’s compliance with processes and security controls. The SOC 2 audit tracks your organization’s overall information security posture: how trustworthy are you at protecting and handling sensitive data. This test is especially important for SaaS companies that store and manage sensitive customer data in the cloud.
Having strong information security controls protecting data is not just about avoiding a data breach. SOC 2 audits also help measure your company’s readiness to go after bigger deals with enterprise clients. If you want to move up market and start selling to major enterprise buyers, your company needs a SOC 2 audit.
Why is a SOC 2 audit so valuable?
It enhances credibility in the eyes of your buyers. In fact, many B2B enterprise buyers might not even want to have a serious sales meeting until they know your company can demonstrate security best practices through a SOC 2 audit. This is becoming table stakes for big-time enterprise deals; buyers want to know that your team has the right processes, controls, and compliance culture in place to be responsible and reliable in handling their customer data.
Don’t risk losing deals to a competitor. A SOC 2 ausit is another way to prove that you belong in that sales meeting, and to show that your organization is responsible, forward-thinking, and ready to protect your clients’ most sensitive data.
Pros and cons of Type 1 and Type 2
SOC 2 measures five different categories of trust services, with various criteria. The categories are:
You have some flexibility for which categories you choose to be evaluated in as part of your SOC 2 audit. Security is required for every SOC 2 audit. Most startups want to choose Security and Confidentiality as their two trust services categories, as these are most relevant for your needs, but the specific commitments you make to your customers should determine which categories you choose to be evaluated on.
Along with these five categories, there are two types of SOC 2 audit: type 1 and 2.
SOC 2 Type 1 audits are shorter (2-3 weeks) and might cost $10k-$20k; they focus on the design of your organizations controls at just one point in time. The Type 2 audits are more complex and evaluate the design and operating effectiveness of your controls over a period of time (6-12 month review period, might cost $20k-$30k or more).
Be prepared to go through annual SOC 2 Type 2 audits so you can demonstrate your compliance with the criteria from year to year.
Six steps to get started
The best way to avoid cost overruns and costly delays with your SOC 2 compliance audit is to start by preparing in advance. Follow these steps:
Do a readiness assessment with your team to identify opportunities to improve your compliance processes and controls.
Assign a dedicated project team that is focused on preparing for the SOC 2 audit.
Give this SOC 2 team the responsibility for documenting your processes.
Assign a dedicated team member with decision-making authority to work as a liaison to manage communication between the SOC 2 auditor and your company’s technical teams.
Hold your project team accountable for making progress on the audit – on time and on budget.
Choose a reputable CPA firm that has familiarity with SOC 2 audits and understands the unique culture of tech startups.
By taking a big picture approach to what information security means for your organization, your team can achieve a successful outcome on your SOC 2 audit. Ultimately, this is not just about checking a box on a list. Getting a SOC 2 audit shows that your company has arrived at a higher level of responsibility – and that you’re ready for bigger growth and success.