Compliance Demonstrates your Organization’s Commitment to Security

As we have noted in a previous blog post, leading SaaS and cloud-based organizations seeking to move upstream in customer acquisition or looking to improve their conversion rates need to make security a more prominent part of their sales process.

One of the chief ways to demonstrate your product’s security and your organization’s commitment to security is achieving certifications in compliance and security frameworks. Chief among that long list of security and compliance frameworks for SaaS providers is SOC 2.

We’ve tried to cover what is involved with getting your SOC 2 in this post, as well as our accompanying infographic.

Overview of SOC 2

SOC 2 is an audit that deals with a service organization’s – an organization that receives data from another organization – controls around protection and privacy of data. Most cloud and SaaS companies fit into this category.

The framework was created by AICPA to establish an audit standard that addresses the continued trend of cloud computing and SaaS. SOC 2 is different than SAS 70 and SSAE 16 (SOC 1) in that it focuses on data that is sent to service providers. Compliance requires an annual audit. Also, the AICPA updates its criteria periodically to reflect current trends in security and controls.

If you are newer to SOC 2 or want to dive deeper into its history and purposes, check out our blog post What is SOC 2?

Steps to SOC 2 Compliance

Like other compliance certification and security frameworks, steps to SOC 2 compliance can be broken down into policy and procedural documentation and enforcement, and evidence collection.

More specifically, SOC 2 compliance requires these 3 steps as it relates to securing information:

  1. the right Foundation of security policies outlining what you do
  2. the right Execution of security procedures outlining how you do it
  3. the right Evidence of supporting documentation to prove you are doing what you said you would

It’s worth noting that policies and procedures are perhaps the easiest facet of compliance. There is definitely time involved with documentation – and those starting from a blank slate could benefit from our compliance-proven templates – but a few nights and weekends could bring you from 0 to 1.

The most time intensive and difficult part is proving your organization is doing what is says it is doing. From an audit perspective, this would fall under collecting evidences. Why is evidence collection so difficult?

With the rise of DevOps and the Cloud, changes are constant and information is distributed across numerous disparate sources, making it difficult to collect to paint a clear picture of what is going on in your environment because of the time involved. That time investment is compounded when you consider how quickly changes occur, rendering your snapshot out of date.

Getting and maintaining this complete visibility – as we outlined in our ebook Gaining Complete Visibility Into Your Digital Environments – requires a shift toward Security- and Compliance-as-code. Check the ebook for more specifics on that front.

Cost of SOC 2 Compliance

The costs of becoming SOC 2 compliant can be broken into a number of different categories for your organization.

Tooling Costs

The tooling costs for managing your digital environment and infrastructure are the most obvious when considering compliance, but the totals are going to vary based on your companies size and complexity.

Overhead Costs

Whether it's adding specific security headcount or carving out time from individuals across your organization, their are upfront costs with implementing processes and procedures for SOC 2 compliance as well as associated audit costs.

Opportunity Costs

The least obvious of SOC 2 compliance related costs are those opportunity costs that result from diverting attention from your core business towards the needs of SOC 2. The impact of moving slowly through compliance shouldn't be underestimated.

In total, most cloud-based and SaaS providers should expect upwards of $250,000 for SOC 2 compliance the first time around. This cost is not including the overhead or opportunity costs that will also be realized during the process but are representative of the tooling and infrastructure needed for getting the data for an audit.

Shameless Plug: Organizations can save over $100,000 on SOC 2 Compliance tooling costs, as well as drastically decrease overhead requirements and opportunity costs associated with the time invested by leveraging JupiterOne. Learn more and sign up for a free trial today!

Our team put together an outline of 20+ processes and steps for getting the right technologies in place for achieving producing SOC 2 compliance evidences. We’ve included those in an infographic you can view below.

Download our SOC 2 Infographic

As we have noted, there is a significant time, resource and financial investment associated with adopting SOC 2 in your organization. To keep track of the specific tools and processes needed for SaaS & cloud-based services providers to meet those requirements, we put together an infographic.

View the Infographic

The Impact of SOC 2 (and Compliance) on Sales

The investments required for SOC 2 compliance shouldn’t be underestimated, but neither should the value of highlighting your organizations emphasis on security when it comes to acquiring new business.

Security teams can justifiably request budget to reduce the costs and complexity of SOC 2 compliance by pointing to the impact it will have on security reviews and reduced prospect security concerns. Both of these can speed up the sales cycle and increase your company’s revenue.

JupiterOne was built around making security operations and compliance as efficient as possible for small to midsize SaaS organizations. See how security- and compliance-as-code could make a difference for your path to SOC 2 with a free trial today.