Top 5 tips for evaluating SOC 2 security monitoring platforms

Top 5 tips for evaluating SOC 2 security monitoring platforms

Technology has opened the door for people around the world to launch their own businesses and ventures, and in many cases, to do this at a lower start-up cost than they would need for a brick-and-mortar business. As wonderful as it is that there are so many new opportunities available, this also creates a problem: Some of these new businesses don’t realize that they’re missing vital security measures.

That’s why security protocols and certifications have become so critical. In many cases, your security protocol is a deciding factor that determines whether a new client, vendor, partner, or customer chooses to do business with you. Automated security monitoring platforms can be the key to proving your security proficiency and earning new business more efficiently.

Of course, not all security monitoring platforms are created equal. The platform you choose could make or break your compliance process for your SOC 2 report or other security standards. Our experts are here to explain why your platform matters and outline the best ways to evaluate a platform.

Why your choice of a security monitoring platform is important

A SOC 2 report is essential for any business that stores customer data in the cloud. Investing in an automated security monitoring platform can make the process smoother and more cost-effective...but only if you choose the right platform.

If your monitoring platform is accurate, it can help you get a detailed report in hand that shows your security protocols. This is what establishes your business as a trustworthy partner for any client or vendor that asks. If you don’t put together a thorough enough report, it could cost you business instead.

Your choice of security monitoring platform also helps your business avoid potential serious financial liabilities. The SOC 2 security guidelines are there for a reason: to keep your customers’ data safe. A strong monitoring platform can identify security gaps to help you maintain the trust of your customers and avoid potential lawsuits.

Finally, the right automated monitoring platform also streamlines your process for getting and maintaining your SOC 2 report. It’s far faster and more accurate than creating and combing through a manual checklist to see what you might be missing. With a strong security monitoring platform, you can invest your time in non-automatable tasks.

Tips for evaluating SOC 2 security monitoring platforms

If you’re looking for a platform to make your SOC 2 reporting easier and more thorough, you’ve come to the right place. Our team at Vanta talked to 1,000+ customers about their SOC 2 reporting and how they chose a monitoring platform. These were their top tips.

1. Evaluate the company’s experience level

Your SOC 2 report is vital to sustaining and growing your business, so to be frank, you can’t afford to take a chance with an inaccurate or poorly built monitoring platform. You need a platform that has been proven effective by real-world businesses.

To assess a particular platform’s expertise, ask these key questions:

  • How much experience does the company have in security overall?

  • How much experience does the company have with SOC 2 reports in particular?

  • How many businesses trust this platform with their SOC 2 reporting?

  • How many businesses has the company successfully guided through the process of obtaining a SOC 2 report?

2. Consider how well the platform will work with an auditor

In case you’re new to the world of SOC 2 reports, allow us to explain: A valid SOC 2 report must be prepared by an auditor. The auditor examines your paperwork, scans, and other evidence of your security measures, potentially visiting you on-site as well, to create a detailed report of your security protocols and their effectiveness.

For a smoother process, you want your monitoring platform to be able to prepare the evidence that the auditor needs. To make sure a monitoring platform can do this, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this platform have any specific features designed to make the auditing process easier?
  • Does the company have any connections with trusted auditors?
  • How many trusted audit partners does the company have?
  • Are these auditors knowledgeable and experienced? Approximately, how many audits have they each performed?
  • How exactly does the platform coordinate with auditors?

3. Make sure the platform is thorough and compatible

It’s great to be able to rely on an automated security monitoring platform as you prepare for your SOC 2 audit. But what if you assume you can trust the platform and you don’t realize until the audit that there are important pieces your security protocol is missing?

To avoid wasting time and effort, you need to choose a monitoring platform from the start that is thorough and compatible with your needs. Ask these questions about the platform you’re evaluating:

  • Does the platform evaluate all of the Trust Service Criteria, the five categories included in a SOC 2 report? Does it also evaluate all the details within those five categories?

  • What types of SOC 2 reports does the platform support? There are two types of reports: SOC 2 Type I and SOC 2 Type II. The Type I report is very minimal and only describes your security measures in place at one point in time. Think of it as a snapshot of your security system. The Type II report is the one most vendors, partners, and customers will require because it doesn’t only detail your full security system but it shows evidence of the system’s effectiveness.

  • What components and tools does the platform include? For instance, does it handle vulnerability scanning, policy templates, continuous scanning, ready-to-use reports, and so on?

  • Is the platform built on a master control set? If so, how was that master control set developed?

4. Choose a platform backed by support and guidance

The general idea of a security monitoring platform is to automate as much of the process as possible. However, you don’t want to simply be handed a tool and sent on your way. Chances are that you’ll have questions or need extra guidance at some points in the process. That’s why you want a monitoring platform that is backed by a knowledgeable support team who is available to help.

To make sure you’ll get the guidance you need from your security monitoring, ask these questions about the platform:

  • How much guidance does the company provide for you throughout the compliance process?

  • How many support representatives does the company have available? What hours are they available to assist you?

  • What is the company’s typical response SLA? How well do they adhere to that expectation?

5. Select a platform you can grow with

Selecting an automated security monitoring platform is a long process, so why go through it more times than necessary? Your ideal monitoring platform has multiple compliance capabilities so you can grow with them instead of starting over and searching for a new platform if your needs grow.

To determine if a monitoring platform is likely to be around for the long haul, consider these questions:

  • Does the platform offer other compliance-related services? For example, does it perform similar security monitoring for other types of compliance like PCI compliance or HIPAA?

  • Is the platform able to serve the needs of businesses of various sizes and businesses across multiple industries?

  • Does the company expect to continue expanding its services?

How Vanta’s SOC 2 compliance monitoring platform answers your needs

As you’re looking for SOC 2 compliance monitoring platforms to evaluate and compare, you need to start somewhere, so why not start with Vanta? We’ve done the legwork for you. Take a look at our answers to the top evaluation questions you need to know.

Our experience level

Vanta is an established and trusted name in security compliance, and we have a track record of success to prove it. We have been working in SOC 2 automation since 2016 and have guided more than 1,000 customers through the full SOC 2 reporting process. Today, more than 2,000 businesses trust Vanta with their security reporting.

Our auditor alignment

Vanta’s specialized security monitoring experts are well aware that, ultimately, you’ll need an auditor to prepare your SOC 2 report. We aim to make that part of the process as simple as possible, much like we’ve done with the other aspects of your compliance reporting.

That’s why we have a network of trusted auditor partners. Not only are these partners all certified auditors, but they have all been specially trained in using Vanta’s software. They know exactly how to access the data they need from Vanta to develop your SOC 2 report, and they can even prepare their report within Vanta to make it simple and seamless. So not only does this network make it easier for you to find a trusted auditor, but the smoother process means that you’ll get your finished report more quickly.

Vanta’s network of skilled auditors includes over 30 professionals who have helped businesses across a range of industries to get the exact depth and complexity they need in their SOC 2 reports.

Our thoroughness and compatibility

With Vanta, you can rest assured that the security monitoring data you receive will be comprehensive, accurate, and tailored to your specific needs. Our SOC 2 platform is specifically designed for SOC 2 Type II reports, so it has the in-depth details your auditor will need.

As a specialized service, our SOC 2 monitoring is also packed with features to make your job easier, including:

  • Policy templates to help you design your security protocol

  • Continuous monitoring so any changes or new gaps in your security are detected

  • Assessments for your cloud configuration infrastructure

  • Laptop management to control who can access which data

  • Immediate and informative alerts so you’ll know when a problem arises and how to fix it

  • Vendor management to ensure that your vendors aren’t compromising your customers’ data safety

  • Security reports you can customize to fit your specific needs

  • A network of trusted auditors who can access and integrate their process with Vanta’s software

Our Ongoing Guidance and Support

As bona fide experts in SOC 2 compliance, our team at Vanta knows the process of assessing your security and obtaining a SOC 2 report inside and out. We know that it can be challenging and complex, especially if it’s a new task for you, so we’re here to help.

We have a team of knowledgeable experts who specialize in SOC 2 and in Vanta’s advanced software who can answer your questions and guide you through the process. In fact, we have several teams! Our Customer Success team and Audits team are available to help you through your SOC 2 reporting and answer your questions along the way. Meanwhile, our support team offers knowledgeable and responsive technical support, typically responding to any customer needs within four business hours.

Our future growth

Vanta is a well-established fixture in the digital security community. In fact, our expertise expands beyond SOC 2 reports. We offer other specialized monitoring services that review your compliance with HIPAA, PCI DSS, GDPR, and ISO 27001. If your business needs to adhere to any of these other security standards in addition to your SOC 2 reporting, you can take care of it all with one platform.

Vanta is also uniquely versatile in our ability to work with a wide range of companies. our reach extends to an extensive list of industries and specialties, with varying degrees in company sizes. From healthcare to cutting-edge technology, we can take care of it all.

Choose the best security monitoring platform for your SOC 2 reporting

If you recently discovered that you need a SOC 2 report or that you need a more advanced platform than you’ve used in the past, the road ahead may be easier than you think. Vanta is here to guide you step-by-step and provide continuous and automated security monitoring so you’ll have all the data you need without putting such an added burden on your team.

To learn more about Vanta and how we can help with your SOC 2 report, explore Vanta security software and what we have to offer.

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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
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  • 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
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Report and re-evaluate results
  • Auditor can log into Vanta to see history of all completed access reviews
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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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