Access Onboarding and Termination Policy | A Practical Guide to SOC 2 Compliance

It’s easy to focus on cybersecurity threats like social engineering and phishing. However, internal threats, such as human error and disgruntled employees, can be just as dangerous – and are often overlooked. A mature onboarding and termination policy is essential to preventing a data breach. Employees and other internal users were the cause of 60% of data breaches – both intentional and accidental – in 2016. In the world of SOC 2, these types of threats are addressed in the Access Onboarding and Termination policy. The policy’s purpose is to minimize the risk of data exposure by enforcing the principle of least privilege. The scope of the policy is only technical infrastructure. Areas like payroll and benefits are not included in this policy. Are customers concerned about your support staff accessing their data? strongDM provides you with an audit trail of who did what when and where. Schedule a demo to

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Business Continuity Policy Best Practices | A Practical Guide to SOC 2 Compliance

A business continuity policy is a critical part of your SOC 2 preparation. An estimated 25% of businesses never fully recover from a major disaster. For small businesses, in particular, it can be difficult to return to normalcy after a significant disruption. Most companies have insurance and emergency funds, but those won’t protect you from failure to provide business functions at an acceptable level to your customers. A business continuity policy is critical to your information security program and defines the critical steps your employees need to keep the business processes running after a disruptive event. The plan addresses the critical infrastructure, backup plans, emergency contacts and detailed recovery procedures you need to address potential threats. Here are some best practices you should consider when writing your business continuity plan: 1. Don’t just rely on SaaS Yes, it is possible to migrate all your infrastructure and other critical assets to

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How SOC 2 Saves Time On Security RFI | A Practical Guide To Answer Any RFI

You’ve gone through the rigorous process of completing your SOC 2 certification.  Your policies are thorough, you have airtight procedures, your staff is sufficiently trained, and if anybody so much as sneezes around your datacenter you’ll know about it before someone says, “Gesundheit!”  It’s time to kick back in your chair, throw your feet up on the desk and relax, right? But what if a customer sent over an RFI (Request For Information) this afternoon? Would you and your team panic, or be able to respond calmly, wholly and confidently?   First of all, try not to panic.  While it’s perfectly natural to feel your first RFI is an attempt to air your dirty laundry, it doesn’t do you any good to get your mind spinning full speed on unproductive thoughts and assumptions.  One of the reasons you achieved SOC 2 in the first place was so your organization could

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Data Center Security Policy Best Practices | A Practical Guide for SOC 2 Compliance

There are many things to consider and questions to ask yourself when setting up your data center. Should you host your data on-premise or in the cloud? If the data is cloud-hosted, who is responsible for security? Is it the company who owns the data, the cloud provider, or both? The data center security policy outlines procedures and information security measures to prevent unauthorized physical access to your company’s data center(s) and the equipment within. Here are four things to consider when writing this policy: Where are you going to host your data center? There are three types of data centers: On-premise Cloud-hosted Co-located A self-hosted model increases your costs and security requirements, while a cloud-hosted model shifts some of those responsibilities – but makes you dependent on someone else’s infrastructure. It is up to you to understand the consequences of each decision before deciding what is best for your

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What’s Included in a SOC 2 Report: A Breakdown

A SOC 2 report (Service Organization Control report 2) focuses on the controls a company uses to protect customer data, as well as the operational effectiveness of those controls. A SOC 2 report should not be confused with a SOC 1 report, which focuses on a company’s financial reporting, nor should it be confused with a SOC 3 report, which has similar output to a SOC 2 report but in more natural language. This blog post will focus on the SOC 2 report and an overview of its seven main components. The SOC 2 report itself is based in five Trust Service Principles as defined by the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs): Security - provides customer assurance that their data is secured against unauthorized access Availability - assures that the systems needed to store and process data will be available for use Processing integrity - requires the processing of data

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How Long Does It Take To Complete a SOC Audit | A Timeline To Plan for SOC 2

Book describing how long does it take to get soc 2

You scheduled your on-site SOC 2 testing. While the initial step is complete, there is still a lot of process and time before you’re past the finish line. This post will help plan and manage time expectations and establish a timeline of deliverables - working backward from your SOC audit start date. The Purpose of SOC 2 Audits SOC is a system of service organization controls. SOC stands for “system and organization controls,” and controls are a series of standards designed to help measure how well a given service organization regulates its information, user entities, and sensitive data - particularly customer data. The purpose of SOC standards is to create a level of confidence and trust for organizations when they engage third-party vendors. A SOC-certified organization (hey, that will be you soon!) has been audited by an independent certified public accountant who worked with your organization on a readiness assessment

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SOC 2 Confidentiality Policy Best Practices | SOC 2 School

Your SOC 2 confidentiality policy defines procedures to handle confidential information about clients, partners, and the company. Clients and partners expect you to keep their data secure and a confidentiality policy will demand this same expectation of your employees. Here are best practices Here are best practices to consider when writing your confidentiality policy: Answer this question: “What is confidential in your business?” Confidential data is any information that would cause reputational and/or financial harm if it was exposed outside of your organization.  Examples of confidential data are financial reports, customer databases, passwords, CRMs, lists of prospective customers, business strategies and other intellectual property. Confidentiality can sometimes be confused with privacy, but they mean very different things from a legal standpoint. In the context of a SOC 2 confidentiality policy, confidentiality focuses on personal information shared with a trusted advisor, such as a lawyer or therapist. This information generally cannot be

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How To Stay SOC 2 Compliant | Advice For This Year’s Audit

Title page of guide to stay SOC 2 compliant

It’s safe to say that not many service providers look forward to soc 2 compliance. I'd guess not many of you have the AICPA on speed dial. Whether you're preparing for a Type 1 or Type 2, audits may be perceived as events that you prepare for and complete, but then eventually they go away - at least for a while. To stay SOC 2 compliant we suggest a paradigm shift. Treat compliance as a continuous process rather than a point-in-time event.  Unlike taxes, there is no 'audit-season.' Here are some tips for always being prepared for your next audit. Embrace the idea that policies and procedures evolve After spending considerable time getting your policies and procedures just right to address the trust services principles, it’s tempting to step back and say, “Good, we finally have all this great documentation, now let's not touch it again until we absolutely have

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What Is SOC 2 Type 2 | A Guide To Complete Your First Type 2 Audit

Cover Image For Guide To Complete SOC 2 Type 2

There are several different levels of SOC (Service Organization Control) reports and types, so it is easy to get them confused. A SOC 2 Type 1 report looks at an organization’s controls at a point in time concerning its clients’ financial reporting. The SOC 2 Type 2 report measures those same controls over a more extended period. SOC 2 Type 1 builds on the reporting basis of SOC 1 but focuses on security controls rather than financial controls. The SOC 2 type 2 examines the effectiveness of those controls over a six-month period. There is also a SOC 3 report, which is essentially the same data found in a SOC 2 but written for public consumption. This blog will focus on outlining the path to SOC 2 Type 2. Starting your SOC 2 planning? Learn how strongDM makes SOC 2 compliance easy.  What Is A SOC 2 Report Although SOC

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How To Speed Up A SOC 2 Report | A Guide To Narrow SOC 2 Scope

Woman seated at laptop sharing advice on how to speed up a SOC 2 report

One of the most critical steps is selecting members to lead the initiative. Many organizations start planning for SOC 2 thinking they can delegate responsibilities solely to members of the IT and information security staff. And although members of those teams will play a big part in the process, your core SOC 2 team will also include HR, legal and other business units as well. This blog will help you understand your core SOC 2 team and how to build it.

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