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SOC 2 Type 2: A Critical Report for Every Service Organization

For firms whose business it is to provide services to clients and customers, nothing is more important than being trustworthy. Especially with regard to their processes and handling of their customers’ information.

In the case of document scanning companies, firms must be able to securely handle and process documents and customer data. Doing so is every bit as important as having deep expertise. How a document scanning facility provides its services is as important as what services they provide. The safest, most effective way to demonstrate this ability is by having a Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2) audit, and receiving a SOC 2 Type 2 report.

What Is a SOC 2 Type 2 Report?

A SOC 2 Type 2 Report offers third-party verification that a service provider has internal processes documented, in place, and followed over a period of time. It proves they are meeting predetermined “trust principles.” Working with a service company who has received a SOC 2 Type 2 Report ensures you have conducted due diligence in regards to meeting both internal and external compliance guidelines.

Five separate “trust principles” can be examined in an SOC 2 Type 2 report:

  1. Security
  2. Confidentiality
  3. Availability
  4. Processing Integrity
  5. Privacy

Now, a firm does not need to test for every single one of these, as the services they provide do not necessarily relate to all five principles. Instead, management will determine which principles will be tested, based on which are most relevant to their business processes.

Organizations audited must meet specific criteria that are clearly defined and followed over a period of time to receive a SOC 2 Type 2 Report. These criteria then play an important role in everything from organizational oversight to vendor management and customer interaction. In other words, it is a guideline to how a service organization operates in relation to production and delivery of its services.

The Five Trust Principles on an SOC 2 Audit

Each of the five separate trust principles has its own set of guidelines to meet. Though some are more applicable across-the-board than others, each is important in demonstrating that documented controls are in place and followed.

  1. Security – This test verifies that proprietary systems (both physical and logical) are protected against unauthorized access. Of all the trust principles, this one is the most universal. Many organizations receiving this audit will be tested for security, simply because it’s so important to how business is run in general.
  2. Confidentiality – This trust principle is particularly important for firms that deal with highly sensitive data, such as personal information and health records. This principle guarantees that agreements are in place regarding use, access, and protection of customer and client information.
  3. Availability – Some service organizations guarantee a level of system access and availability to their clients and customers, which is most applicable to data centers and hosting services. Other organizations guarantee availability to their customers’ data or documents while in their facility throughout the production process. This trust principle ensures that services provided are operating with the expected, agreed upon availability.
  4. Processing Integrity – Businesses providing financial services and e-commerce need to concern themselves with transactional integrity. This trust principle ensures that any services provided by these firms are done so in a complete, authorized, accurate, and timely manner, as stated in the user agreement.
  5. Privacy – The last trust principle addresses how firms collect and use client and customer personal information. In particular, it’s concerned with how that data is collected, used, retained, disclosed, and disposed of.

SOC 2 Type 2 Audits Mean a Company Is Paying Attention

If a company has received an SOC 2 Type 2 report, it can verify that controls and processes are in place to handle their customers’ sensitive documents and information. Firms that pass this audit year after year not only prove their legitimacy, but they’re organizational integrity as well.

Though companies won’t necessarily need to address all five trust principles, the relevant principles involved with an SOC 2 Type 2 report will reveal a great deal about a business’ approach, goals, and capabilities. In a crowded marketplace, that knowledge can make the difference between success and failure for you.

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