Ever since cloud computing became a thing, the biggest concerns organizations had about moving data and applications to the cloud were security and compliance. How secure is our data in a third-party cloud provider’s data center? How do we know the provider isn’t mishandling our data or exposing it to unauthorized users, intentionally or unintentionally? Does the provider understand and enforce our industry’s compliance rules?Standards and certifications offer a reliable benchmark for security and compliance that you can use when evaluating cloud providers and other third-party vendors that handle your data. Created by the AICPA, the Service Organization Control (SOC) is a compliance standard with three types of certification. SOC II is specifically designed for any service provider that stores data in the cloud.
SOC II certification requires cloud providers to meet minimum technical and procedural standards for responsibly managing customer data. These standards are assessed and verified by an independent, outside auditor. The criteria are based on five core principles:
- What tools and processes are the provider using to prevent theft, loss, misuse and unauthorized modification of data? An auditor will look for access control systems, firewalls, multifactor authentication, intrusion detection and other security mechanisms.
- Are data, applications and services accessible as stipulated by the service-level agreement? Performance and availability monitoring, failover capabilities, and security incident response are scrutinized to determine availability.
- Processing Integrity. Is complete, accurate and validated data processing making it possible for a system to achieve its intended purpose? Quality assurance and monitoring of data processing are evaluated to ensure the effective delivery of data and services.
- How is the provider restricting the access of data to specific parties? An auditor looks for protections such as encryption, application firewalls and access control systems.
A service provider that meets minimum standards in all five SOC II categories will have robust security systems in place. They’ll be able to detect suspicious activity, system configuration changes and user access. When a security incident occurs, the provider will be able to quickly alert you to the incident and take the appropriate action to mitigate impact. They’ll be able to provide you an audit trail with detailed context so you can make an informed decision about how to respond.
SOC II certification is critical to the evaluation of cloud providers because it verifies the claims they make in their marketing and sales pitches. It offers a level of transparency into the provider’s security and compliance capabilities. SOC II certification also helps to overcome much of the fear and uncertainty about migrating data, applications and systems to the cloud.
RMM went through the rigorous process of obtaining SOC II certification because it verifies not only our capabilities, but our commitment to protecting our clients’ data. It gives our clients more confidence in our services. We hold ourselves to the highest standards when it comes to data management, and SOC II show that our standards are aligned with strict technical and process requirements for security and compliance. If you’re considering moving data, applications and systems to the cloud, let us show you how we make sure your critical assets are safe.