SOC 2 (System and Organization Controls) is a type of assurance report that organizations can obtain to demonstrate that they have the necessary controls in place to protect the security, privacy, and confidentiality of their clients' information. The SOC 2 report is typically performed by an independent third party, such as a certified public accountant (CPA), and focuses on the controls that are relevant to a specific service organization, such as a cloud service provider or a payment processing company. The report is based on the Trust Services Criteria, which includes five "trust service principles": security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.
SOC 2 reports can help organizations build trust with their clients and partners by providing assurance that their systems and controls are secure and compliant with industry standards. It is commonly used by organizations in the technology, financial, and healthcare sectors, but any organization that handles sensitive information can benefit from obtaining a SOC 2 report.
For certain types of organizations, such as cloud service providers or payment processors, a SOC 2 report may be considered a basic requirement for evaluating their suitability as a vendor. This is because these types of organizations typically handle sensitive information and are required to have strong controls in place to protect the security and privacy of that information.
For other types of organizations, a SOC 2 report may not be as important. For example, if a vendor primarily provides consulting services and does not have access to sensitive client information, then a SOC 2 report may not be necessary.
Ultimately, whether or not a SOC 2 report is considered "table stakes" for evaluating a vendor will depend on the specific needs and requirements of the organization doing the evaluation. It is important for organizations to carefully assess the risks and potential impacts of working with a vendor, and to determine the appropriate level of assurance that they need in order to feel confident in their choice of vendor.
A SOC 2 report provides some assurance that an organization has strong controls in place to protect the security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of its clients' information. This can help build trust with customers and improve their overall experience with the organization.
For example, if a customer is concerned about the security of their personal information, knowing that the organization has undergone a thorough review of its controls by an independent third party and has been found to be in compliance with the SOC 2 standards can provide peace of mind and help the customer feel more confident in their decision to do business with the organization.
Additionally, having strong controls in place can help prevent security breaches and other incidents that could disrupt service and negatively impact the customer experience. In this way, SOC 2 compliance can be indirectly related to customer service, as it helps ensure that the organization is able to provide a secure and reliable service to its customers.
In addition to SOC 2 compliance, there are a number of factors that a company should consider when evaluating a cloud vendor, including:
Customer service responsiveness is perhaps the most important factor to consider when evaluating a cloud vendor. You should consider the following questions:
It's important to choose vendors that are responsive to customer needs and provide timely support, as this can help minimize disruptions to your business and improve the overall customer experience.