Whenever you serve the public, trust is everything. Your customers must have faith that you’ll protect their personal information. How can you assure potential new clients that your business is worthy of their trust? One approach is to undergo a System and Organization Controls 2 (SOC 2) audit. SOC 2 certification can go a long way toward establishing a high level of consumer confidence.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) supervises all of these audits. Let’s take a look at what a SOC 2 audit entails and what it could do for your brand.
Type I Vs. Type II SOC 2 Auditing
To start with, be aware that you could select a SOC 2 Type I audit or a SOC 2 Type II audit. The Type I option is less extensive and can be completed faster, perhaps in two months.
Since its Type II counterpart is much more involved, it might be a year from the start of the audit before you receive your official report. Naturally, how large and how complex your organization is will affect the timeline.
The main difference is that Type I evaluates your security controls at a single point in time. In contrast, Type II analyzes the effectiveness of these controls by observing & analyzing them for about six months. Even so, both types will tell you how secure your organization is and how it could be made even more secure.
As of now, there’s no law anywhere that says a business must undergo a SOC 2 audit. However, some vendor contracts do require this certificate. That’s especially true in the software as a service (SaaS) industry.
Whether or not you’re contractually obligated to get SOC 2 certification, this process has some significant benefits. Here are just three of the profound advantages that such an audit could provide.
1. It Boosts Your Business Reputation
When you advertise that you have a SOC 2 certificate, you should find yourself attracting many new customers. When some people search the internet for certain businesses, they only look for those with SOC 2 certification. Larger companies, in particular, tend to favor businesses with a SOC 2 report.
Professionals who understand what’s involved in SOC 2 audits should immediately feel safe entrusting you with their information. And, if you’re a vendor, you might find yourself signing quite a few new contracts as soon as that audit is finished.
At the same time, many competitors may still require this certification. Therefore, your SOC 2 audit could give you an upper hand over them.
Even if some of your clients haven’t yet asked to see your SOC 2 certificate, they might do so someday. And, when they do, you might find that they leave you if you cannot produce one.
2. It Enhances Your Customer Service
As the SOC 2 audit process unfolds, you’ll be alerted to potential weaknesses in your security systems and your operations. Of course, once you become aware of those deficiencies, you can start fixing them immediately.
Also, if your company is SOC 2 certified, it’s in the best possible shape to withstand cyberattacks. That’s because it’s adhering to your industry’s highest standards and best practices.
Furthermore, all your employees will know exactly what they need to do daily to prevent data breaches. Everyone can play their part and report suspicious activity. In short, hackers should never be able to access your extremely valuable data.
As a result, you’ll provide your customers with the safest and most efficient services possible. And you’ll also enjoy peace of mind at work or wherever else you may be.
3. It Could Help You Obtain Other Security Certificates
Consider acquiring ISO 27001 certification for your business, which is like an international version of SOC 2 certification. If so, you could still benefit from a SOC 2 audit. That’s because, after preparing for and passing your SOC 2 audit, you’re also very likely to pass the ISO 27001 version. The two processes contain a lot of overlapping controls, policies, and procedures.
Moreover, if you’re seeking new foreign and domestic clients, having the SOC 2 and ISO 27001 certificates could be extremely helpful.
Plus, if you’re in the healthcare industry, holding a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) attestation is very beneficial. The HIPAA audit is likewise similar to a SOC 2 audit. Once again, the latter could help prepare you for the former, and having both certificates could provide you with an extra-strong competitive advantage.
To be sure, SOC 2 audits demand significant time and resources. But they also pay for themselves many times over. After all, the cost of a single data breach can be enormous.
Indeed, more than half of small businesses must close for good within six months of a major hack. By contrast, with a SOC 2 audit report, your business will be poised to reach its full potential — and to escape the dire consequences of data loss and theft.
A SOC 2 audit can dramatically enhance your business by providing access to a more significant set or level of customers, higher chances to get investments and boost your reputation. In addition, if your company doesn’t have other security certificates, such as ISO 27001 or HIPAA certification, that audit could help prepare you for them. With so much potential to gain from this process, many businesses find it easily worth pursuing a SOC 2 audit.
Looking for more information about how to prepare for your SOC 2 audit and what to expect during the process? Check out our “Comprehensive Guide to Embracing SOC 2” or schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our Subject Matter Experts.