Starting up with SOC 2
BlogsSOC 2
October 7, 2020

Starting up with SOC 2

You’ve been asked for your SOC 2, and you’re just diving into figuring out how to get it done. In this post we’ll share an overview of what organizations are looking for when they request your SOC 2, outline the SOC 2 controls that make up the report, explain how CPAs are involved in the process, and show how automation can help your company earn its SOC 2. 

Why did my company get asked for a SOC 2?

If you’ve been asked for your SOC 2, you might be a B2B, Software as a Service (SaaS), or Platform as a Service (PaaS) provider, and your company likely processes or stores personal or confidential customer information. Your company may work with organizations in the retail or financial sectors, in healthcare, or in other industries that collect and manage customer data. 

As organizations outsource various functions of their work — and come to you to utilize your company’s services — outsourcing means that customer data and information is shared among increasing numbers of service providers. With more companies accessing and storing an organization’s data to provide multifaceted services, the risk of data breaches increases. Organizations (known as user entities) may engage the work of service organizations to streamline their business, but they maintain overall responsibility for the safety and security of their customers’ data. As orgs partner with vendors to deliver key services, they need a way to ensure that vendors are keeping data safe and secure — and service organizations need to demonstrate that they can maintain appropriate security practices. That’s where the SOC 2 comes in.

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has developed three different SOC for Service Organization assessment frameworks: these are the SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3. A SOC 2 report is often the primary document that security departments reference to assess a vendor’s security risk. SOC 2 reports assure customers and other business partners that you have security guidelines in place and that you follow through on them. (A SOC 1 documents controls relevant to an audit of a customer's financial statements, and a SOC 3 summarizes a SOC 2 report for general consumption.) SOC audits and their resulting reports were created to provide a trustworthy third-party review of the security controls in place at a service organization — helping user entities choose vendors who employ verified security practices, and helping service organizations build credibility and trust with the organizations they serve.

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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

The ultimate guide to scaling your compliance program

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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.


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


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:


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


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

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

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


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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