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Key differentiators: Automated employee offboarding and access management workflows

January 6, 2022

Investing in an automated compliance platform has helped businesses large and small to streamline their SOC 2 reporting, saving them valuable time and money. But not all of these automated platforms have the comprehensive tools you need to optimize every part of your SOC 2 audit.

There are several differentiating factors between automation platforms that make certain platforms stand out above the rest. In part two of our key differentiators series, we discuss features that enhance your security while also easing the SOC 2 audit process: automated employee offboarding and access management workflows.

About employee offboarding, access management, and SOC 2 compliance

SOC 2’s security controls require that you strategically manage which employees, contractors, and other individuals have access to which parts of your system and your data storage. The bottom line is that access should be locked down as tightly as possible so that only people who truly need to access your data can reach it and so that even these individuals only have access to the data or system components they need.

This applies to both existing and former employees and contractors. SOC 2 compliance requires that when someone leaves your organization, their access is revoked promptly and thoroughly. As part of your SOC 2 audit, you’ll need to have documentation to prove to the auditor that only active employees have access to your data, that this access is individually administered and is as minimal as possible, and that when an employee leaves or is terminated, their access is promptly removed.

How do most automated compliance platforms handle access monitoring and employee offboarding?

Most automated compliance platforms primarily focus on the technical aspects of your information security. They scan your security controls like firewalls, antiviruses, network configurations, and so on to compare the controls to the requirements and standards of SOC 2. But when it comes to employee offboarding and access monitoring, most of these tools fall short.

With most compliance platforms, there is little or no automation regarding access management and offboarding. You’re still required to manually remove employees’ access when they leave the organization, and you must provide screenshots and other manual evidence to prove that during your observation period for your SOC 2 audit, no inactive personnel has access to your data.

Understandably, this creates a problem. It adds time and work to your plate that you may not have accounted for. It also leaves room for human error because you or someone in your organization must remember to go through the offboarding process when an employee is terminated, and they must complete each step correctly.

The Vanta difference: automated employee offboarding and access management workflows

Unlike most compliance platforms, Vanta’s SOC 2 compliance automation platform includes systems to simplify and document your offboarding and your access management.

When an employee or contractor leaves the organization, Vanta has automated workflows that allow you to quickly and efficiently carry their account through the offboarding process. These workflows ensure that your team doesn’t miss important pieces of the offboarding operations so that each former employee’s access is promptly and thoroughly removed. Along the way, Vanta documents all of this so your auditor can see the steps you’ve completed for each termination.

Vanta also offers easy and transparent access management. You’re able to see at a glance which employees have access to which data stores. This allows you to quickly spot unnecessary permissions and correct them.

Benefits of automated employee offboarding and access management controls

In managing your SOC 2 compliance, it’s generally true that the less you need to do manually, the better. But automated employee offboarding and access management controls carry several benefits for your business.

1. Improved security

Manual tasks are best to avoid not only because they take time, but because they leave the door open for human error. No matter how reliable your team typically is, there’s always a risk that they will forget to change an employee’s access or, while offboarding an employee, will miss an important step in the protocol. If you can automate these processes instead, those simple yet critical mistakes are less likely.

2. Easy access monitoring

To strengthen your security, it’s helpful to do an access audit on a regular basis - reviewing who has access to what data and looking for unnecessary permissions you can remove. For a large organization, manually finding this information and analyzing it is highly time-consuming and therefore expensive. With Vanta’s access monitoring, though, all the information you need (and the ability to manage that information) is in one concise place.

3. Smoother SOC 2 audits

SOC 2 audits aren’t anyone’s favorite tasks, but they’re necessary if you want to keep opportunities open for your business. So, the smoother and faster you can make your audits, the better. Vanta’s automated employee offboarding workflows and access management show your auditor that a reliable system is in place for ensuring access limitations. Moreover, Vanta documents when these workflows and tasks have been completed so you can prove your compliance to your auditor without gathering additional evidence manually.

4. More appealing SOC 2 report

You’re acquiring and maintaining a SOC 2 report for a reason: because customers and partners use it to get a picture of your security. It’s not a pass/fail report. If your SOC 2 report details that you have automated systems in place for managing access and offboarding rather than hoping your employees are keeping up with the protocols, your report will be more appealing to stakeholders.

Choosing an automated compliance platform that offers the solutions you need

If you’re due for a new or updated SOC 2 report, do yourself a favor and choose an automated platform that simplifies and safeguards as many aspects of your information security as possible. Learn more about Vanta SOC 2 compliance software and how it can help.

Read the series on key differentiators in security automation platforms

Part one: “Documents tab” and recurring evidence tasks

Part three: Security policy templates