The SOC 2 Compliance Checklist

A SOC 2 report is regarded as the primary document that proves your company is taking proper security measures and managing customer according to a set of standards created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Securing a SOC 2 report is the most trusted way to show your customers and prospects that your security practices can protect their data.  


How do we prepare for a SOC 2?

SOC 2 reporting has typically been a multi-stage, costly process involving many hours of preparation, time-intensive interviews, gap assessments, process changes, and the collection of detailed proof that you uphold your security controls. That’s all before the on-site audit itself, which includes more interviews and additional evidence collection, followed by your auditor’s time to write the report documenting this lengthy process and representing your achievement of a clean SOC 2 audit. But it doesn’t need to be this way anymore.

Consider using a comprehensive automated compliance platform that can alleviate the pain points listed above. Vanta's SOC 2 compliance platform automates your security monitoring and helps you get SOC 2 certified in weeks instead of months. Vanta integrates with your existing security tools, offers lightweight templates, provides a single source of truth for all users, and automates the tedious work involved in prepping for your SOC 2.

The SOC 2 compliance checklist with Vanta

1. Building your SOC 2 report: Start with the Trust Service Criteria.

Your SOC 2 report will be built from a selection of the five Trust Service Criteria, according to your customers’ needs and your unique business model. Vanta will help walk you through this process.

  • Every SOC 2 report includes the Security category.
  • The other categories that you could include in your SOC 2 report are Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy. Vanta will help you choose which areas are necessary to include. Our Trust Services Category guide provides more detail on these choices.


2. Let your technology do the talking.

When you work with Vanta, you get to use automated checks that are designed to the SOC 2 standard. First, we build a list of rules tailored to your company. Then, we connect to your company’s infrastructure, admin, and key services to continuously monitor your systems and services. We’ll then walk you step-by-step through the process of closing any gaps in your security implementation, so your holistic security hums before audit time.


3. Talk with Vanta and your auditor.

You could spend days (or weeks!) walking an auditor through your company’s systems and processes. Or, when you work with Vanta, your engineers and the Vanta team work with an auditor — and get on the same page about the details of your systems in just a couple of hours.


4. Vanta reviews your continuously monitored data with your auditor...

… and you emerge on the other side with a complete SOC 2 report with less time and effort and more security assurance.


5. You’re done!

With Vanta, what used to be a costly and time-consuming process — preparing for your SOC 2 audit, getting audited, and waiting for your audit report — is transformed into an automated part of your business that runs in the background.

Prepare for a successful audit with Vanta

Vanta provides continuous security monitoring so that you don’t lose unnecessary time preparing for and working through a lengthy manual audit process. Continuous monitoring ensures that you stay secure all year long and you are confident that you're security goes beyond just a point in time review process.

A smooth, automated audit and a clean SOC 2 report are the direct outcomes of working with Vanta. With Vanta, you’re able to maintain the highest levels of security compliance while staying focused on your company’s — and your clients’ — big-picture goals.

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PCI Compliance Selection Guide

Determine Your PCI Compliance Level

If your organization processes, stores, or transmits cardholder data, you must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), a global mandate created by major credit card companies. Compliance is mandatory for any business that accepts credit card payments.

When establishing strategies for implementing and maintaining PCI compliance, your organization needs to understand what constitutes a Merchant or Service Provider, and whether a Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) or Report on Compliance (ROC) is most applicable to your business.

Answer a few short questions and we’ll help identify your compliance level.

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Does your business offer services to customers who are interested in your level of PCI compliance?

Yes
No

Identify your PCI SAQ or ROC level

The PCI Security Standards Council has established the below criteria for Merchant and Service Provider validation. Use these descriptions to help determine the SAQ or ROC that best applies to your organization.

Good news! Vanta supports all of the following compliance levels:

SAQ A

A SAQ A is required for Merchants that do not require the physical presence of a credit card (like an eCommerce, mail, or telephone purchase). This means that the Merchant’s business has fully outsourced all cardholder data processing to PCI DSS compliant third party Service Providers, with no electronic storage, processing, or transmission of any cardholder data on the Merchant’s system or premises.

Get PCI DSS certified

SAQ A-EP

A SAQ A-EP is similar to a SAQ A, but is a requirement for Merchants that don't receive cardholder data, but control how cardholder data is redirected to a PCI DSS validated third-party payment processor.

Learn more about eCommerce PCI

SAQ D
for service providers

A SAQ D includes over 200 requirements and covers the entirety of PCI DSS compliance. If you are a Service Provider, a SAQ D is the only SAQ you’re eligible to complete.

Use our PCI checklist

ROC
Level 1 for service providers

A Report on Compliance (ROC) is an annual assessment that determines your organization’s ability to protect cardholder data. If you’re a Merchant that processes over six million transactions annually or a Service Provider that processes more than 300,000 transactions annually, your organization is responsible for both a ROC and an Attestation of Compliance (AOC).

Automate your ROC and AOC

Download this checklist for easy reference

Questions?

Learn more about how Vanta can help. You can also find information on PCI compliance levels at the PCI Security Standards Council website or by contacting your payment processing partner.

The SOC 2 Compliance Checklist

Most businesses look at security compliance as a mountain that is impossible to conquer without an equally mountainous budget and ample time with endless frustrations. The truth is that every organization’s experience will vary, but in most cases, you can achieve compliance and certification easier than you think if you only prepare properly.

That begins with educating yourself about the road ahead and having the right tools in your toolbox, like automated compliance software. If you’re preparing to guide your organization through SOC 2 compliance, our SOC 2 compliance checklist will break down the process and give you a digestible view of the road ahead.

1

Pre-Work for Your SOC 2 Compliance

Choose the right type of SOC 2 report:

A SOC 2 Type 1 report assesses how your organization aligns with the security controls and policies outlined in SOC 2
A SOC 2 Type 2 report has all the components of a Type 1 report with the addition of testing your controls over a period of time
The correct report will depend on the requirements or requests of the client or partner that is requested a SOC 2 report from you

Determine the framework for your SOC 2 report. Of the five Trust Service Criteria in SOC 2, every organization needs to comply with the first criteria (security), but you only need to assess and document the other criteria that apply. Determining your framework involves deciding which Trust Service Criteria and controls are applicable to your business using our Trust Service Criteria Guide.

Estimate the resources you expect to need. This will vary depending on how closely you already align with SOC 2 security controls but it can include several costs such as:

Compliance software
Engineers and potentially consultants
Security tools such as access control systems
Administrative resources to draft security policies
Auditing for your compliance certification

Obtain buy-in from your organization leadership to provide the resources your SOC 2 compliance will need.

2

Work Toward SOC 2 Compliance

Begin with an initial assessment of your system using automated compliance software to determine which necessary controls and practices you have already implemented and which you still need to put in place.

Review your Vanta report to determine any controls and protocols within the “Security” Trust Service Criteria that you do not yet meet and implement these one by one. These are multi-tiered controls across several categories of security, including:

CC1: Control Environment
CC2: Communication and Information
CC3: Risk Assessment
CC4: Monitoring Activities
CC5: Control Activities
CC6: Logical and Physical Access Controls
CC7: System Operations
CC8: Change Management
CC9: Risk Mitigation

Using Vanta’s initial assessment report as a to-do list, address each of the applicable controls in the other Trust Services Criteria that you identified in your initial framework but that you have not yet implemented.

Using Vanta’s initial assessment report, draft security policies and protocols that adhere to the standards outlined in SOC 2. Vanta’s tool includes thorough and user-friendly templates to make this simpler and save time for your team.

Run Vanta’s automated compliance software again to determine if you have met all the necessary criteria and controls for your SOC 2 report and to document your compliance with these controls.

3

Complete a SOC 2 Report Audit

Select and hire an auditor affiliated with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the organization that developed and supports SOC 2.

Complete a readiness assessment with this auditor to determine if you have met the minimum standards to undergo a full audit.

If your readiness assessment indicates that there are SOC 2 controls you need to address before your audit, complete these requirements. However, if you have use automated compliance software to guide your preparations and your SOC 2 compliance, this is unlikely.

Undergo a full audit with your SOC 2 report auditor. This may involve weeks or longer of working with your auditor to provide the documentation they need. Vanta simplifies your audit, however, by compiling your compliance evidence and documentation into one platform your auditor can access directly.

When you pass your audit, the auditor will present you with your SOC 2 report to document and verify your compliance.

4

Maintain Your SOC 2 Compliance Annually

Establish a system or protocol to regularly monitor your SOC 2 compliance and identify any breaches of your compliance, as this can happen with system updates and changes.

Promptly address any gaps in your compliance that arise, rather than waiting until your next audit.

Undergo a SOC 2 re-certification audit each year with your chosen SOC 2 auditor to renew your certification.

Prioritizing Your Security and Opening Doors with SOC 2 Compliance

Information security is a vital priority for any business today from an ethical standpoint and from a business standpoint. Not only could a data breach jeopardize your revenue but many of your future clients and partners may require a SOC 2 report before they consider your organization. Achieving and maintaining your SOC 2 compliance can open countless doors, and you can simplify the process with the help of the checklist above and Vanta’s compliance automation software. Request a demo today to learn more about how we can help you protect and grow your organization.

Download this checklist for easy reference

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“Getting our SOC 2 and HIPAA was an absolute game-changer for the way that Nayya is able to sell into larger companies.”

Akash Magoon
Co-Founder + Chief Technology Officer  |  Nayya

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Vanta automates security compliance.
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