The cloud is a double-edged sword to businesses; it has both benefits and risks. Unlike conventional in-house data storage options, cloud storage is quite efficient. It is easy to maintain, and you can easily access it from anywhere. The bad news is that it can also be a huge target for hackers and other cybercriminals. With the wrong choices when it comes to how you implement your cloud strategy, you can easily lose data. Luckily, this downside can be easily mitigated through implementing the right security policies and procedures. While there are many ways to protect your data on the cloud, embracing SOC 2 compliance should be in your plans.
Here is what you should know about SOC 2 compliance and why it matters to your data security:
What Is SOC 2 Compliance?
SOC 2 was designed by the AICPA and is meant to strengthen the data security of service providers who store their data in the cloud.
This will apply to both SaaS companies and service providers as long as they use the cloud in storing customer data.
While vendors were only obligated to comply with SOC 1 before 2014, complying with both SOC 1 and 2 is now an obligation, which is meant to minimize the threat of data theft.
At its core, SOC 2 requires businesses to establish strict information security policies and follow them to the letter.
Your business should ensure high-quality standards in the processing, integrity, confidentiality, availability, security, and confidentiality of customer data.
At the very least, the regulation ensures that the cloud security measures put in place by service providers are in line with contemporary cloud security requirements.
As more businesses adopt the cloud, SOC 2 compliance has become a necessity for doing business.
It Helps Monitor the Known and Unknown
When you are SOC 2 compliant, you will have set up processes and practices that offer you a level of oversight throughout your organization.
It becomes easy to monitor any unusual activities that might happen within your IT assets, such as authorized and unauthorized changes to system configuration, as well as a breach of access control protocols.
While you need to keep tabs on such aspects of your cloud environment, you also need to be on the lookout for the unknown.
In most cases, these unknown activities could easily result in the detriment of your business.
SOC 2 compliance requirements make it easy to baseline the normal performance you should expect in your cloud environment, which further makes identifying abnormal activity easy.
Customers need to rest assured that their data is safe in your hands.
However, you will barely manage to do this if you are in the dark about your security posture.
With the continuous monitoring that compliance enables, you can protect your customers’ data from threats like WannaCry and CloudBleed.
Watch Out For Anomalies
Based on today’s threat landscape, security breaches are imminent.
You need to have enough alerting procedures in place to identify unauthorized data access as well as take right corrective actions within the shortest time possible.
However, false positives and negatives are a problem that comes with most alert systems, turning such alerts into noise.
Ideally, efficient alert systems are needed to sound the alarm whenever they notice activities that veer from the norm in your cloud environment.
Under SOC 2, companies have an obligation to set up alerts for unauthorized file transfer, access to privileged accounts and file systems, and exposure or modification of controls, data, or configurations.
In a nutshell, you ought to create a risk profile for the issues that can affect your business and set up ad hoc alerts.
In fact, some of the security controls used for SOC 2 compliance can help with complying with other regulations, like the PCI DSS.
Create a Detailed Audit Trail
Audit trails have a pivotal role to play when it comes to how you respond to incidents.
With them, you can have contextual insight that will be invaluable to remediating issues, especially active incidents.
They help you to identify the what, who, where, when, and how for any security incident.
You can use such information in making informed decisions.
They can offer insights into:
- Unauthorized data and configuration modification
- The depth and impact of an attack
Other than helping deal with such issues, they can also help prevent future issues from happening.
Under SOC 2, businesses need to store specific data about the health of the cloud systems for some time.
This data forms the audit trails, which can provide the insights above.
Providing Actionable Forensics
Customers trust that your business can not only easily detect issues, but it also has enough power to remediate these issues.
However, you will barely manage to remediate these issues without the right amount of insights. Luckily, SOC 2 compliance requires businesses to save data that might be critical to remediation.
Instead of businesses only being obsessive about embracing low MTTD (Mean Time to Detect), this allows them to slash MTTR (Mean Time to Remediate).
The data you are required to store can arm you with forensic information like:
- What the next move might be
- Where and when the attack started
- The impact of the attack
- The resources needed to mitigate an attack’s impact
You can, hence, implement the necessary corrective measures to salvage your business.
SOC 2 compliance will help your business set up the threshold security controls to protect your business from detriment due to a data breach.
However, it should never be taken as a silver bullet for cloud security.
Build your cloud security strategy around SOC 2 compliance to ensure the sustainability of your business.