Global IT spending is predicted to increase by 5.1% to $4.5 trillion in 2022. This is a key indicator that companies are seeking to maximize return on IT investments, especially with information security, risk management, and IT partnerships. One essential criteria for consideration when hiring a managed service provider is selecting a SOC 2 certified firm. Let’s unpack the basics of SOC 2 certification, SOC 2 Type II audits, and how this measure of confirmation safeguards your business and reputation.
Components of SOC 2 Compliance
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) developed SOC 2 as an auditing measure to ensure service providers demonstrate their capability to securely manage user information.
The Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 Type II certification requires a careful examination of an organization's internal systems conducted by a third-party firm. This evaluation focuses on the suitability of an IT provider's internal control policies and practices over a set timeframe that varies between six months to a year.
This independent and thorough review ensures that the organization meets the stringent conditions established by the AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria. These guiding criteria include:
- Security: This criterion ensures that information and systems are protected against:
— Unauthorized access
— Unauthorized information disclosure
— Any damage to systems that may compromise the availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of information and systems
— 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.
- Processing 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: The confidentiality condition ensures that all information designated as confidential is fully protected in keeping with the organization’s objectives.
- Privacy of a System: Finally, the privacy criterion 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, the SOC 2 Type II audit validates the security of your IT provider’s services. This audit assesses the non-financial controls of your managed service provider as they correlate with the AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria. It helps assess and provide information about the risks associated with third-party technology service providers.
When a Managed Service Provider (MSP) achieves SOC 2 Type II certification, it signals their commitment to providing exceptional and secured IT services to their valued clients.
A SOC 2 Type II audit carefully examines and reports on your IT provider’s controls related to the security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of a system.
Why Choose a SOC 2 Certified MSP?
The average Managed Services Provider (MSP) delivers standard IT services to support your distributed workforce. A security-forward IT partner will apply risk-informed expertise to their services to help you protect and advance your business operations.
You should verify if your IT provider has passed their SOC Type II audit and is SOC 2 certified. This due diligence will assure you of the following benefits and more:
1. High-Quality Services
When an organization 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.
A SOC 2 certified MSP has a clearly defined organizational structure with well-trained experts to develop and implement effective IT policies and procedures. With thorough background checks, enforcement of workforce standards, and stringent vendor vetting in place, your IT environment will be in good hands with a SOC 2 certified IT provider.
2. Secure Data Handling
An MSP with 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. All business critical systems operate from the principle of least privilege and are protect by a strong security program so you organization remains secure. A SOC 2 certified IT company will ensure that the highest levels of data security procedures are in place to safeguard your network and resources.
3. Risk Awareness & Mitigation
Cybersecurity is a challenge for organizations of all sizes, including small businesses. When you hire an MSP, you want an IT partner that understands emerging security threats and is fully equipped with playbooks to mitigate them. A SOC 2 certified IT provider has a high level of risk awareness and will effectively assess your business risks and implement relevant remediation strategies.
4. Incident Response & Disaster Recovery Protocols
Your certified Managed Services Provider will operate with a comprehensive incident response framework and clear disaster recovery plans. Also, these systems are tested frequently for compliance and to maintain the SOC 2 Type II certification. Your company’s internal processes will benefit from these detailed frameworks with the guidance of your SOC 2 certified MSP.
5. Continuous Improvements
Maintaining SOC 2 Type II certification also involves keeping abreast with the latest technological innovations. A SOC 2 certified MSP typically has a defined and rigorous Research and Development (R&D) process to assess the security and quality of new hardware and software options in order to improve and provide quality services to your company.
Your Security-First IT Partner
Net Friends is both a full-service Managed Services Provider (MSP) and Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP). We also maintain our SOC 2 Type II certification year after year, which assists us in delivering exceptional IT services to our valued clients.
We offer a suite of services:
Each of these services are all available for a fixed and predictable monthly rate. Our leadership team is also individually ITIL certified, and we stand ready to provide the IT services and support you need to secure your company and increase your market presence. Contact Net Friends today!
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