soc for azure

If you’re seeking a SOC report for Microsoft Azure-hosted environments, you’re not the only one. Many companies working with sensitive data understand that there is shared responsibility for data confidentiality, integrity, and accountability. Because Azure’s architecture is quite complex, you’ll need an certified SOC auditing expert to assess your compliance in the form of a SOC 2 report.

Due to the intertwined nature of Office 365 and other Azure products, it’s critical to keep your audits up to date. In general, you should have a SOC report completed every year to ensure continuing compliance. A SOC report cannot be produced in-house. So you will need an impartial third-party to perform a true independent audit.

Before TrustNet can begin the SOC assessment, you’ll need to have documentation of your business practices, development practices, hiring practices, and more. If you don’t have such documentation, a professional auditor, like TrustNet, can assist you with producing them.

Important SOC Items to Know Regarding Microsoft Azure

Here are some Azure-specific items to keep in mind:

  • The Azure model distributes responsibility for keeping data safe between the company and Microsoft.
  • Azure is responsible only for the security of its physical servers. Whatever your company decides to provision and use is on your company.
  • For an audit to hold muster, your company’s specific responsibilities must be enumerated first. It is best to be done with the help of a professional.
  • A SOC 2 covers all facets of your environment . It spans from your company’s hiring process, how data is transmitted between your company and Azure, and the project lifecycle.
  • It’s important to note that deep-trail audit reports must be enabled on Azure for a proper audit. These logs will also help your company pinpoint areas of non-compliance.
  • Though you may pick any certified auditor to evaluate your SOC compliance, better-known companies with good reputations are the best way to go.

How Can I Distribute a Copy of the SOC Report to a Customer?

Customers are interested in your business’s SOC report because it confirms that you’re keeping their data safe. It’s common for companies to require a copy of your SOC audit before contracting with you. So, how do you send customers your audit and proof of authenticity?
A SOC 2 report should not be publicly posted, as it contains confidential and sensitive information. If you share the report with customers or prospective customers, you may want to first obtain a Non-Disclosure Agreement and use a watermark that identifies the customer.  

Critical Next Steps for SOC 2 Success in Microsoft Azure

There are a few proactive steps you can take to ensure your SOC report is a success.
First, ideally with the help of a professional, you’ll need to assess exactly what access controls are within your domain that need to be secured. Second, you should understand the AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria, also known as “TSC.” These are the control objectives that must be met to be compliant with the SOC 2 standard. The five Trust Service Criteria established by the AICPA are:

  1. Security
  2. Confidentiality of data during processing
  3. Ongoing availability of systems 
  4. Maintenance of the processing integrity of information
  5. Privacy of sensitive data

Keeping in mind that these should only be assessed after domains of responsibility are established. Here are the primary domains that the five TSC’s cover:

  • Data
  • Software (even if not part of the Microsoft Suite)
  • People (employees, contractors, users, managers)
  • Processes (everyday handling of business, automatic or manual)
  • Infrastructure (everything utilized by your company to function)

The complexity involved with getting your SOC may seem overwhelming. That’s why your company needs a seasoned professional team like TrustNet to perform the audit.