Compliance frameworks
Differentiator for automated compliance platforms: Visibility into vulnerabilities

Differentiator for automated compliance platforms: Visibility into vulnerabilities

Every job is more efficient and successful if you’re using the right tools and SOC 2 compliance is no exception. A compliance automation platform can turn a grueling process into a manageable project. Most of these platforms, though, will only get you halfway there.

As you’re selecting an automated SOC 2 compliance platform, you should notice that there are certain features that set some platforms above the rest. Those differentiators can save you hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars as you prepare for and complete your SOC 2 audit. One of these particularly impactful differentiators is the way your platform handles vulnerability controls.

What role do vulnerability scans play in SOC 2 compliance?

Vulnerability scans are among the most critical pieces of SOC 2 compliance. You’re required to use a third-party vulnerability scanner like AWS Inspector or Snyk to scan your cloud environment. This looks for any potential data security gaps or opportunities for hackers to access or exploit your system.

From there, you’ll need to take the scan report and address the high-risk vulnerabilities it has identified. By the time your official SOC 2 audit rolls around, you’ll want to make sure you have a favorable vulnerability scan.

How most automated compliance platforms handle vulnerability scanning

While the aim of an automated compliance platform is to automate and streamline as many aspects of your SOC 2 compliance as possible, most of these platforms don’t offer a way to simplify your vulnerability scanning and vulnerability repair.

With those tools, you would need to run the third-party vulnerability scan to identify any potential vulnerabilities first. Then, you’ll need to go into your cloud environment and your SLAs separately to address and account for these issues. This can be a cumbersome and error-prone endeavor because you’re pulling your attention back and forth between the scan and the areas of your system or SLAs you need to address, hoping that you’re making the correct changes. Finally, you’ll need to go back and run another vulnerability scan to make sure you’ve fixed all the necessary issues.

The Vanta difference: Visibility and integration for vulnerabilities

Unlike most automation compliance platforms, Vanta does have a way to make your vulnerability scanning and assessment process smoother and simpler. Vanta offers the unique ability to integrate with a wide range of third-party vulnerability scanners.

This gives you unique visibility into your system’s vulnerabilities and allows you to view those details within the same automation platform where you’re managing all of your other security controls and your SLAs. As a result, you can more efficiently and thoroughly fill in your security gaps to prepare for a smooth SOC 2 audit.

Benefits of vulnerability scan integrations

Integrating your vulnerability scanning with your SOC 2 compliance automation platform is a feature you won’t find in most other compliance platforms. But why does it make such a difference for your business? There are several benefits this feature offers.

1. Maintaining good security protocols

SOC 2 reporting may feel like a process of formalities and paperwork, but at the end of the day, its purpose is to better protect your system and your critical data. While the security controls outlined in SOC 2 guidelines will do this, you can protect your system even more when you reduce the opportunities for human error.

Integrating your vulnerability scan with your compliance automation platform does precisely this. It allows you to maintain more secure protocols and reduces the capacity for humar error.

2. Saving time in your SOC 2 compliance preparation

Your security engineering team’s time is valuable and limited, so the more time you can cut out of your compliance preparation process, the better. This is yet another advantage that comes from using Vanta’s vulnerability visibility as opposed to other compliance platforms. The feature reduces the manual cross-referencing needed from your security team so they can invest more of their time into other security measures.

3. Simplifying your SOC 2 audit

As important as it is to save time while preparing for your SOC 2 audit, you also want to make the audit process itself as quick and efficient as possible. If your auditor needs to come back to you to request documentation that isn’t already  compiled, it will slow the audit and it may even add to your audit costs.

However, because Vanta is able to integrate your vulnerability scanning tool with the same unified compliance platform where the rest of your documentation is stored. Your auditor will have access to everything they need, packaged as concisely as possible, with a visible digital trail.

Get everything you need from an automated SOC 2 compliance platform

As you prepare for your SOC 2 audit, there are many ways to make the process smoother and more cost-effective. The top way is to choose a truly comprehensive and featureful automated compliance platform. When it comes to vulnerability visibility and numerous other features, Vanta is the clear winner. Learn more about Vanta SOC 2 compliance automation software to find out how this tool can benefit your business.

Read the series on key differentiators in security automation platforms

Part one: “Documents tab” and recurring evidence tasks

Part two: Automated employee offboarding and access management workflows

Part three: Security policy templates

Part four: Risk assessment register

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Access Review Stage Content / Functionality
Across all stages
  • Easily create and save a new access review at a point in time
  • View detailed audit evidence of historical access reviews
Setup access review procedures
  • Define a global access review procedure that stakeholders can follow, ensuring consistency and mitigation of human error in reviews
  • Set your access review frequency (monthly, quarterly, etc.) and working period/deadlines
Consolidate account access data from systems
  • Integrate systems using dozens of pre-built integrations, or “connectors”. System account and HRIS data is pulled into Vanta.
  • Upcoming integrations include Zoom and Intercom (account access), and Personio (HRIS)
  • Upload access files from non-integrated systems
  • View and select systems in-scope for the review
Review, approve, and deny user access
  • Select the appropriate systems reviewer and due date
  • Get automatic notifications and reminders to systems reviewer of deadlines
  • Automatic flagging of “risky” employee accounts that have been terminated or switched departments
  • Intuitive interface to see all accounts with access, account accept/deny buttons, and notes section
  • Track progress of individual systems access reviews and see accounts that need to be removed or have access modified
  • Bulk sort, filter, and alter accounts based on account roles and employee title
Assign remediation tasks to system owners
  • Built-in remediation workflow for reviewers to request access changes and for admin to view and manage requests
  • Optional task tracker integration to create tickets for any access changes and provide visibility to the status of tickets and remediation
Verify changes to access
  • Focused view of accounts flagged for access changes for easy tracking and management
  • Automated evidence of remediation completion displayed for integrated systems
  • Manual evidence of remediation can be uploaded for non-integrated systems
Report and re-evaluate results
  • Auditor can log into Vanta to see history of all completed access reviews
  • Internals can see status of reviews in progress and also historical review detail

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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