Trust Services Criteria for SOC 2 Type II Certification

Understanding the relevance of the AICPA's Trust Services Criteria in SOC 2 Type II certification

soc 2 type ii compliance

Reliable, secure, and trustworthy are the principles that companies strive to uphold for their clients and stakeholders. However, if your organization or a partner company oversees maintaining and storing your clients' data, it is not always easy to ensure that it is kept safe. Consequently, technology service or SaaS firms use the System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 standard to ensure that organizational controls and policies secure customer and corporate data properly.

SOC 2 Type II Certification

SOC 2 is a voluntary compliance standard established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) for service organizations that describes how firms should maintain client data. The SOC 2 Type II audit reports give crucial information about how an organization maintains its data to its regulators, business partners, and suppliers. Security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy Trust Services Criteria (TSC) are used to create the standard. A SOC 2 Type II compliance report is tailored to each organization's specific needs where organizations can develop controls that follow one or more trust principles, depending on its business practices.

Trust Services Criteria

The common TSCs used by businesses for their SOC 2 Type II audit are:

  • Security – To ensure that unauthorized access to the system is prevented (both physical and logical). Logical access to infrastructure and essential systems, such as source code repositories, are examples of SOC 2 security procedures that are frequently audited. Password parameters, firewalls, network device setups, and physical security controls that safeguard critical infrastructure are also included.

  • Availability – This ensures that the system is available for operation and usage as promised or agreed upon. A corporation must have a documented business continuity and disaster recovery strategy and processes to meet the availability standards. It also necessitates backups and recovery testing regularly.

  • Confidentiality – This ensures that information labeled as "confidential" is safeguarded by policy or agreement. However, the terms "confidentiality" and "privacy" are frequently interchanged. Most businesses are required to secure sensitive information supplied with them by other companies with whom they do business. Not all businesses work directly with data subjects or collect personal information. A SOC 2 Certification that incorporates confidentiality may be significant if a corporation agrees to regulate access to specific private information as part of a contract with another company. Data privacy may be more critical to your SOC 2 if your organization engages directly with data subjects and collects personal information.

  • The integrity of processing – This is to ensure that all system processing is complete, correct, and authorized. Processing integrity is not as typically covered in SOC 2s as availability and confidentiality. However, companies that handle transactions such as payments may be interested in processing integrity. The auditor will look for proof that the processing is thorough and accurate and that any processing problems are identified and addressed.

  • Privacy – This is to ensure that when "personal information is gathered, used, maintained, released, and disposed of to accomplish the entity's objectives," according to the AICPA, privacy compliance standards are addressed. It is worth noting that the privacy standards only apply to personal data. This contrasts with the confidentiality requirements that apply to other forms of sensitive data. SOC 2 Type 2 compliance reports do not always incorporate the AICPA's privacy standards. One reason is that privacy in the United States is based on a sectoral approach, with varying privacy standards for different industries. This contrasts with GDPR in the European Union, a blanket privacy rule that all businesses must follow. If your firm works directly with data subjects and collects personal information from them, the AICPA's privacy standards may be applicable. Data subjects must opt in and out of the service and request that all their data be supplied and erased when they opt-out.

Regardless of the industry or the level of privacy required, SOC 2 Type II certification is the gold standard for evaluating a cloud data management vendor's capabilities. Consequently, this certification is regarded as a reliable, secure and trustworthy criterion for cloud preparedness by organizations who operate in highly regulated sectors or store sensitive data. If you want to learn more about SOC 2 Type II certification for data security and compliance, contact a ZL Tech expert.

Bivek Minj graduated from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication with a degree in English Journalism. He serves as a Content Writer at ZL Tech India's Marketing department. He comes to the industry with a desire to learn and grow.