It can feel daunting to migrate from your on-premise data centre to cloud hosting options, whether they are public, private, or hybrid. SOC 2 reports provide security and process control assurance for the most critical concerns.
Businesses operating in the cloud are increasingly requesting annual SOC 2 audits. SOC 2 audits are used to verify the internal controls of cloud service providers as well as service organizations. A trusted registered public accountant oversees the audit and certifies that existing controls are adequate to protect customer data.
An organization must use a third-party CPA firm in order to assess the availability and security of data to be certified as SOC 2. They review the IT infrastructure, security protocols, recovery procedures, and internal controls during the audit process. The SOC 2 framework, the Trust Services Criteria, was created to be flexible and easily applicable to all types of businesses in many industries.
Cloud Security: Is SOC 2 required?
SOC 2 is an auditing engagement and reporting engagement. It’s not a requirement for all cloud providers. It is an honorable achievement that shows commitment to data security. It demonstrates that the cloud service provider has implemented industry best practices.
Users organizations (their clients), may require a cloud provider to comply with SOC 2. Even if it is not required, certification can be used to prove that data protection measures have been taken. This certification can be crucial in deciding whether a potential client chooses a cloud service provider to do business with.
SOC 2 can serve as a foundation for other compliance standards. SOC 2 compliance allows cloud providers to adopt more data protection and security standards. The report may include a section that addresses the HIPAA Security rule. Potential clients need to ensure that the cloud service provider they choose is compliant with all applicable regulations, such as HIPAA, PCI and GDPR, in order to achieve their compliance goals.
What is a SOC2 Audit?
An audit can be difficult. Cloud providers will have to gather evidence, conduct interviews and provide information to auditors, just like businesses that are undergoing SOC 2 audits. The internal personnel will be required to assume the leadership role in the certification process and ensure that each member of the team fulfills their specific responsibilities.
These are the steps to follow:
- Preparation and Scoping
- Readiness Assessment
- Gap Analysis
- Documentation Remediation
- SOC 2 Audit
Preparation, scoping, and readiness can be the most difficult aspects of the auditing process. It is here that accuracy can pay off later in terms of efficiency. Scoping is the basis for engagement. It identifies the business processes that will be evaluated, the staff involve, as well as the TSCs. It is important to take the time to define the scope in order for the audit to be completed on time and within budget.
What SOC 2 Criteria are Relevant for Cloud Computing Computing?
A SOC 2 assessment for cloud providers will almost certainly include the operational, technical, and security requirements related the ‘security’ and ‘availability’ criteria. Based on the service it offers and its goals, other TSCs might be include in the scope. Although assessments for ‘processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy controls are not mandatory, they provide valuable information to security personnel.
Cloud computing is transforming the requirements for compliance and data security. However, it is certain that cloud-based businesses will be require to comply with regulatory requirements. This is because cloud service providers such as AWS and Azure are the leaders in data security compliance.
When you’re entrusting your data to a third-party, there are several things to consider when it comes to cloud security. These risks can range from phone network outages to power failures, and they can even damage data centers. In fact, a recent power outage at an Amazon data center led to the loss of hardware. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate these risks. Here are some tips to keep your data safe while in the cloud.
Encryption at Rest
First and foremost, you should use encryption at rest, in use, and in motion. Data should be protected with strong passwords. If your cloud provider doesn’t use encryption, ensure that it does. It’s also a good idea to use multifactor authentication (MFA), which requires a second factor to verify the identity of the user. In addition, your cloud provider should have policies and break-glass strategies in place to guard against ransomware. Finally, you can control the visibility of data in the cloud and implement security awareness training for all users.
A holistic cloud security program must account for ownership and accountability of the security risks. Then, it must determine gaps in protection and compliance. It should also determine the controls needed to evolve your security program and achieve the desired end state. Lastly, in multi-tenant environments, it’s important to assess segmentation between resources. A zone approach isolates applications, instances, containers, and full systems. As with any security program, the right combination of cloud security measures is the key to securing your organization’s data.