The first time a prospect brings up security, you might feel like a deer in the headlights. You may even get asked about SOC 2 certification by name. If it hasn’t happened yet, you should anticipate questions about security and compliance soon. In this post we’ll help you get a head start on next steps once you’ve been asked for your SOC 2. We’ll get into what the SOC 2 is all about, reasons to get SOC 2 certified, and how a security certification can help your company close more deals.
As your company grows, you’ll find that prospect and customer requests for security protocols and documentation are growing too. If you gather or store customer data at any scale, data security should be front-of-mind and on your to-do list. In today’s competitive business climate — in which data breaches are unfortunately common, even as they are increasingly unacceptable — cybersecurity is of peak importance. Companies of all sizes seek clear evidence that vendor and partner security systems meet commonly accepted standards, and you can differentiate your business by leading with strong security and compliance practices.
If you’re an early-stage startup you may think you’ve got some time before you need to align with industry security standards, or you might think you’re prepared to cobble together one-off security solutions as you go. If this sounds familiar, it’s worth considering an alternative approach: the sooner your company is able to build security and compliance into its operations, the easier it will be to implement practices company-wide that will grow with you. Working proactively to achieve a strong security posture will not only make your organization more secure — it will position you for smooth and successful sales conversations, and the growth you’re looking for.
The SOC (System and Organization Controls) standard is a well-known U.S. security standard, and SOC reports have become a common part of doing business. You may even find that some companies are building requirements such as mandatory SOC 2 reports into their own vendor management policies. When companies are deciding which vendors to work with — and with whom to entrust their sensitive data — they are seeking reliable proof of your company’s security.
A SOC 2 report is often the primary document that security departments rely upon to assess a vendor’s security risk. Created by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the SOC 2 audit and resulting report assure customers and partners that you have security guidelines in place, and that you follow through on them. The SOC 2 defines criteria for managing customer data based on five Trust Services Criteria: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. SOC 2 reports are unique to each organization, as different companies design their own controls to comply with one or more of the Trust Services Criteria, in line with specific business practices. The SOC 2 is an internal report that provides business partners and regulators with key information about how your company manages data; companies that have gotten SOC 2 certified are readily able to provide prospects with their audit report as evidence of their verified security practices.
To complete a SOC 2 audit, your company’s security measures must be reviewed and verified by a certified auditor, a CPA. Only licensed CPA firms can perform a SOC 2 examination — but you don’t need to work exclusively with a CPA. Compliance software can help streamline the SOC 2 audit and reporting process for both your company and your auditor.
Imagine that when a prospect asks about security, instead of stalling or compromising with a lengthy one-off security questionnaire, you are poised with documentation: an objective audit report attesting to your verified adherence to the SOC 2 standard. SOC 2 certification can help pave the way for a swift and smooth sales process and a business relationship rooted in an ethical approach to data management.
Note that while a SOC 2 certification isn’t an official requirement of doing business when your company states its SOC 2 compliance, you’re demonstrating that you take a proactive approach of building and maintaining a strong security posture. Getting SOC 2 certified conveys that your company is reviewing its security operations through a holistic, big-picture lens; it shows that you are getting out ahead of security risks by staying on top of your security systems and practices, and demonstrates that if an incident were to occur, you have processes in place for handling it. Being able to provide this level of assurance to your prospects positions you to close more deals smoothly, and with confidence.
When security and SOC 2 come up, don’t panic. Vanta provides a set of security and compliance tools that scan, verify, and secure a company’s IT systems and processes. We’ve developed a wide range of automated checks that conform to the SOC 2 standard, and we’ll work with you to build a list of rules tailored to your company’s needs. Our cloud-based technology identifies security flaws and privacy gaps in a company’s security posture, providing a comprehensive view across cloud infrastructure, endpoints, corporate procedures, enterprise risk, and employee accounts. Vanta also offers a suite of tools streamlining the non-technical components of a SOC 2, so that gathering and consolidating audit evidence is easier for both your company and your auditor. Instead of your team spending hours on manual evidence collection, your auditor can leverage the continuously monitored data collected within Vanta to complete your SOC 2 report. Vanta helps you cut costs and expedites the process of getting SOC 2 certified — so you can turn your strong security posture into swifter sales cycles, and close more deals.
Vanta is “security in a box” for technology companies, trusted by hundreds for their SOC 2 preparation. Ready to get started on your SOC 2?