SOC Trust Services Criteria

What are the SOC Trust Services Criteria? The Trust Services Criteria (formerly Trust Services Principles) are control criteria utilized to evaluate and report on the suitability of the design and operating effectiveness of controls relevant to the Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, or Privacy of an organization’s information and systems. The Trust Services Criteria are established by the Assurance Services Executive Committee (ASEC) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

The five Trust Services Criteria comprise the evaluation structure of a SOC 2 audit and report. All SOC 2 reports include the Security category; the other four categories are optional and a company may include them according to its customers’ needs and its unique business model.

Category
Description
Security
Systems and data stored by a company are protected against unauthorized access and unauthorized disclosure.
Availability
Information and systems are available for operation and use.
Confidentiality
Confidential information is protected.
Processing integrity
System processing is complete, valid, accurate, timely, and authorized. Customer data remains correct throughout the course of data processing.
Privacy
Personal information is collected, used, retained, disclosed, and disposed of in accordance with pre-stated policies.

Although the Confidentiality category applies to any sensitive information, the Privacy category applies only to personal information.

The Trust Services Criteria represent the framework by which organizations are evaluated for SOC 2 compliance. Of the five criteria, the Security category is required to obtain a SOC 2 audit, and many early-stage startups may choose to start the SOC 2 process with an evaluation of the Security category only.

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