How Can a SOC 2 Bring Value to Your SaaS?

by Sarah Harvey / March 12th, 2018

No one wants to work with an at-risk SaaS provider. If someone is looking to use your services, they want to know how secure your SaaS solution actually is. You may think you have a secure SaaS solution, but does an auditor? Does a hacker? Let’s look at how a SOC 2 audit could bring value to your organization’s reputation, marketing initiatives, and competitive advantage.

What is a SOC 2?

A SOC 2 audit is perfect for SaaS and other cloud service organizations that want to reassure their clients that their information is secure, available, and confidential. It’s becoming increasingly common for organizations to request that their vendors become SOC 2 compliant so they can ensure that the SaaS providers they work with are developing secure SaaS solutions.

A SOC 2 audit addresses third-party risk concerns by evaluating internal controls, policies, and procedures that directly relate to the AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria. This means that a SOC 2 audit report focuses on a service organization’s non-financial reporting controls as they relate to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of a system. When determining which Trust Services Criteria apply to your organization, consider the following questions:

  • Security – Is the system protected against unauthorized access?
  • Availability – Is the system available for operation and use as agreed?
  • Processing Integrity – Is the system processing complete, valid, accurate, timely, and authorized?
  • Confidentiality – Is the information that’s designated as confidential protected as agreed?
  • Privacy – Is personal information collected, used, retained, disclosed, and destroyed in accordance with the entity’s privacy notice?

Typically, a SaaS provider will choose to be evaluated against the security and availability criteria. If a client can’t be assured that you have a realiabe, secure SaaS solution, why would they choose to use you? If a SaaS solution holds sensitive or valuable information, then an organization may choose to be evaluated for confidentiality.

Understanding Secure SaaS Solutions with SOC 2 Compliance

Undergoing a SOC 2 audit demonstrates that your organization is invested in providing a secure SaaS solution. Your reputation, business continuity, competitive advantage, and branding all depend on the quality and security of your systems and can benefit from SOC 2 compliance.

A SaaS provider depends on trust. If a client can’t trust your SaaS solution, why would they choose to use it? If your SaaS solution suffers from a data breach, the negative impact to your reputation would be a ripple effect. Once your SaaS solution has been successfully attacked and customers’ data has been exposed, you’ve put your organization on a path full of obstacles and fragmented security. Your reputation will be permanently changed. Clients will stop trusting you, larger, educated prospects won’t want to work with you, and lawsuits and fines will begin to surface. The continuity of your business depends on securing your systems.

On the other hand, if you do pursue SOC 2 compliance and achieve attestation, your organization will have a new branding tool. You can market your product as a reliable, secure SaaS solution. There are so many possible ways to incorporate your compliance into branding methodology. We always recommend that our clients leverage their compliance as marketing material and strive to help find creative ways to do so.

When you partner with an auditing firm that educates you and performs a thorough, quality-driven audit, you gain a valuable competitive advantage. Does your competition have a SOC 2 audit report? If not, you’re ahead of the game. Even if they have gone through a SOC 2 audit, was it a quality audit? You want to be educated on what a quality audits looks like so you can explain to prospects why your SOC 2 audit report holds more value than a competitor’s. Having a SOC 2 audit report from a licensed, quality-driven firm also opens you up to a whole new marketplace of prospects who are knowledgeable about security and looking for a vendor with SOC 2 compliance.

Even with all these benefits, you may be wondering what the penalties are of not pursuing SOC 2 compliance. These questions may help you understand the scope of implications if you don’t invest in SOC 2 compliance:

  • How would your organization’s reputation be damaged if you suffered from a data breach?
  • Would your clients stay loyal to you if they know that your SaaS solution couldn’t secure their information?
  • What future sales would you lose if your SaaS solution suffered from a data breach?
  • How are you validating that your security and privacy practices are in place and effective?
  • How happy would your competition be if you suffered from a data breach?
  • What’s your potential exposure to lawsuits if you suffered from a data breach? What fines would you pay?
  • How much would it cost to investigate a data breach and notify clients who were impacted?

The potential loss of business from a breach far outweighs the cost of compliance. Our Information Security Specialists want to be your audit partner, your second set of eyes validating that your security and privacy practices are effective. Let’s start planning your SOC 2 audit today.