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SOC-2 Compliance: What it Means for New Business Owners

As new CEOs start the process of launching a service-based business, they begin to fully recognize the weight of their financial and non-financial responsibilities—specifically those responsibilities related to data protection and customer security.

Starting a company can be exciting, for sure, and the future looks bright! But a new company will grow faster, stay stable, and meet its goals earlier if company leaders keep compliance issues on the table at every step along the way. This includes close attention to SOC-2, a set of rules that apply to service providers who store data in the cloud. Here are a few key SOC-2 questions many start-ups face during the earliest stages of the development process.

What is SOC-2?

SOC-2 reporting rules have been developed by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA), and they’re designed to ensure trust between service providers and their clients by monitoring data security, availability, confidentiality and privacy. They also ensure processing integrity on the company’s part. A SOC-2 compliant company is one that has complete reports on file proving its maintenance of proper oversight and internal corporate governance.

But Security Threats Aren’t Always Predictable; Does SOC-2 Account for Unknowns?

Things change quickly in the cloud and malicious activity doesn’t always approach from a predictable direction. But part of SOC-2 compliance involves recognizing what baseline normal activity looks like, so when anomalies occur, alerting systems can be put in place. Appropriate alert systems are those that filter false positives and recognize things like unusual file transfers, access to privileged accounts, or areas of data exposure.

What about Audit Trails?

Strong security protocols are flexible. This means that not every single exposure or assault can be prevented, but these exposures can be recognized and dealt with expediently when they happen. And just as important, each anomalous incident can be tracked, recorded, analyzed, and used to alter the existing system and strengthen weaknesses. SOC-2 compliance means establishing clear audits of all security related activity.

If My Company isn’t SOC-2 Compliant Yet, What Should I Do?

SOC-2 compliance should be considered a requirement for all companies that handle secure data and expect to conduct business in a competitive 21st century landscape. And CEOs should embrace the compliance process fearlessly—and quickly. Almost all of the required protocols are fully manageable, even for companies that haven’t yet taken the first step.

If you’ve been putting off this task, recognize that the path to full compliance is easier and shorter than you might think.