Global IT spending will increase by 9% (to $4.2 trillion) by the end of 2021. Spending on information security and risk management technology and services will rise by 12.4% (to $150.4 billion) in 2021 as well. Companies are keen on maximizing their return on investment with IT providers and MSSPs as they pursue increased productivity and reduced business risks. An essential criteria for your decision to hire an MSP is to select a SOC 2 certified firm. Let’s discuss the details of SOC 2 Type II certification, SOC 2 Type II audits, and how this cybersecurity requirement safeguards your business and reputation.
Components of a SOC 2 Type II Certification
The Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 Type II certification requires a detailed examination of an MSP performed by a third-party firm. This evaluation focuses on your IT provider’s internal control policies and practices over a set timeframe, varying between six months to a year. This independent and thorough review ensures that the organization meets the five stringent conditions established by AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria.
The AICPA's Trust Services Criteria includes:
- Security - This criterion ensures that information and systems are protected against:
— a. Unauthorized access
— b. Unauthorized information disclosure
— c. Any damage to systems that may compromise the: (1) availability, (2) processing integrity, (3) confidentiality, and (4) privacy of information and systems
— d. Systemic damage that could affect the organization’s ability to meet its objectives
- Availability - This requirement ensures that information and systems are available for operation and use to fulfill the organization’s objectives.
- Process Integrity - This criterion focuses on optimized system processing. All processes must be: complete, valid, accurate, timely, and authorized to meet the organization’s objectives.
- Confidentiality - This condition ensures that all information and customer data designated as confidential is fully protected in keeping with the organization’s objectives.
- Privacy of a System - Finally, this privacy requirement focuses on how personal information is collected, used, retained, disclosed, and disposed of to fulfill the organization’s objectives.
What is a SOC 2 Type II Audit?
According to Kirkpatrick Price, a leading CPA firm, a SOC 2 Type II audit validates the security of your IT provider’s services. This audit assesses the non-financial controls within your MSP that correlate with the AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria.
When a Managed Services Provider (MSP) attains their SOC 2 Type II certification, it signals their commitment to providing exceptional and secure IT services to their valued clients.
A SOC 2 Type II audit carefully examines and reports on your IT provider’s internal controls as related to the security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of a system.
They have taken added measures of transparency to show that they care about protecting your business. Furthermore, they have proven to be suitable by a third-party assessor to handle that responsibility by achieving certification.
Why Hire a SOC 2 Certified IT Partner?
The average Managed Services Provider (MSP) delivers standard IT services to keep your team productive. A security-forward MSP will apply risk-informed expertise to their services to help you protect and advance your business operations.
Verify that your IT provider has passed their SOC 2 Type II audit and is SOC 2 certified. Their due diligence enables you to enjoy the following benefits and more:
1. Highest Quality of Services
A SOC 2 certified MSP has a clearly defined organizational structure with well-trained personnel to develop and implement effective IT policies and procedures.
When an entity has proven to be operationally mature with a passing SOC 2 attestation, the quality of their services will be directly supported by well-established and fine-tuned internal controls.
From thorough background checks to the enforcement of workforce standards and stringent vendor vetting, your network is in secure hands when you hire a SOC 2 certified IT provider.
2. Trustworthy Data Security
An MSP with a SOC 2 Type II certification is committed to the AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria of security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of your system. Your certified IT provider will ensure that the highest levels of data security procedures are in place to safeguard your company’s network and assets.
3. Risk Awareness & Mitigation
Cybersecurity is a challenge for organizations of all sizes, even small businesses. You want an IT partner that understands the sophistications of today's cybersecurity threats and is fully equipped to mitigate them and prevent data theft.
A SOC 2 certified IT provider has a high level of security awareness and will effectively assess your business risks and implement relevant mitigation strategies. They are prepared to act as your vCIO, delivering risk-informed, expert guidance.
4. Incident Response & Disaster Recovery Protocols
Your certified MSP will operate with a comprehensive incident response framework and clear disaster recovery plans. Their managed systems are tested frequently for compliance and to maintain their SOC 2 Type II certification. Your company’s technology investments will also benefit from your IT partner's compliance efforts as governed by these detailed security frameworks.
5. Continuous Improvements
Maintaining SOC 2 Type II certification also means keeping abreast with technological innovations. A SOC 2 certified MSP will leverage the latest hardware and software advancements in providing quality services to your company.
Net Friends is Your SOC 2 Certified IT Partner
Net Friends is your full-service Managed Services Provider (MSP) and Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP). We also maintain our SOC 2 Type II certification year over year, which enables us to deliver exceptional IT services to our valued clients with our proprietary IT security tools.
Our SOC 2 Certified Suite of Services:
- Managed IT Services
- Managed Infrastructure Services
- On-Demand IT Staffing
- Managed Detection & Response (MDR) Services
We stand ready to provide the IT services and support you need to secure your company and increase your market dominance. Contact Net Friends today!