Boost Business Growth & AI Readiness with SOC 2 Reports

Boost Business Growth & AI Readiness with SOC 2 Reports

For third-party vendors, cybersecurity goes beyond simply developing robust protocols — they need to clearly communicate their effectiveness in protecting client data. This transparency reassures clients who are increasingly holding vendors accountable for their security measures, recognizing the impact on their own financial and reputational well-being.

One key indicator of trust and compliance is SOC 2* certification. This rigorous audit, which takes six months to a year to complete, goes beyond a basic check-up, offering a comprehensive assessment of a vendor's IT security environment. It covers data protection and privacy controls and extends to infrastructure, software, personnel and established procedures. Acting as a beacon of reassurance, this certification demonstrates to clients the effectiveness of a vendor's security measures and promotes confidence in the protection of their data and interests.

In this article, we’ll discuss how a SOC 2 report is not just a current necessity for meeting client expectations but also a strategic move for fostering future growth and building a robust reputation in an increasingly complex digital landscape, especially with the rise of AI.

What is a SOC 2 Report?

Issued by specialists from licensed CPA firms, a SOC 2 thoroughly assesses an organization's IT systems and processes across five key areas: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy. This in-depth review, typically taking six months to a year to complete, leaves no stone unturned, instilling reassurance in its ability to identify and address potential security risks.

Each principle targeted in a SOC 2 audit addresses a specific aspect of data management and protection:

  • Security ensures that the systems are protected against unauthorized access, both physical and electronic, through controls like encryption and access restrictions.
  • Availability focuses on the systems' accessibility as stipulated in client contracts, requiring redundancy systems and disaster recovery plans to prevent downtime.
  • Processing Integrity guarantees that the processing of data is accurate and complete, vital for organizations dependent on precise data for business operations.
  • Confidentiality involves the protection of data to ensure it remains confidential during storage and transmission, using tactics such as encryption and stringent access controls.
  • Privacy concerns the appropriate handling of personal information according to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) generally accepted privacy principles, including policies on data minimization and consent management.

SOC 2 reports are customized to each organization's business practices and support compliance with regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Public companies can leverage it to meet Sarbanes-Oxley Act requirements.

Grow Your Business with a SOC 2 Report

In today's highly competitive and security-conscious market, a SOC 2 report is essential for businesses looking to expand and secure new contracts, especially with enterprise clients. A recent study indicated that 29% of organizations have missed opportunities to win new business due to lacking necessary compliance certifications, such as a SOC 2 report. Plus, 72% of companies entering the SOC audit space did so with the explicit goal of enhancing their marketability and winning new work.

An increasing number of companies are requiring certification, such as a SOC 2 report, before initiating business relationships, making it an almost mandatory box to tick for vendors aiming to work with data-sensitive organizations. Not only does it build trust with clients and stakeholders, but when concerns arise, a SOC 2 report provides concrete evidence of your risk mitigation efforts.

Plus, organizations can offer a substantial competitive edge by having this report. For example, for companies in fields such as software provision, where data security is paramount, having a SOC 2 report can significantly accelerate sales cycles, improve customer trust and loyalty and lead to quicker deal closures.

Overall, a SOC 2 report is more than a compliance document, it is a strategic asset. Organizations without this certification risk being left behind as enterprise clients and large markets increasingly prefer or require vendors who can demonstrate such compliance.

Prepare for the Future of AI with SOC 2

As AI becomes a business staple, data security concerns skyrocket. A well-tailored SOC 2 report can be a powerful tool to address these challenges. Here's how:

  • Security Framework for AI: SOC 2 offers a framework for evaluating and implementing security controls specific to AI. These controls, such as data access restrictions, encryption and anomaly detection, are necessary for safeguarding sensitive data processed by AI systems.
  • Proactive Risk Management: SOC 2 audits assess risks associated with AI services, including data bias, algorithmic issues and data integrity. These audits identify potential vulnerabilities and recommend mitigation strategies, promoting a proactive approach to maintaining AI security and integrity.
  • Enhancing Data Governance: SOC 2 compliance necessitates strong data governance practices. This ensures proper data management throughout the lifecycle of AI, where data quality and accuracy are paramount. This includes data collection, storage, processing and deletion — all crucial for AI systems that learn and evolve based on the data they handle.
  • Continuous Improvement: Regular SOC 2 audits compel organizations to review and update security practices regularly and adapt to changing landscapes and emerging threats. This is especially beneficial for AI environments, where breaches and technologies constantly evolve.

Stand Out and Build Trust with SOC 2 Compliance

In today's competitive landscape, a strong SOC 2 report demonstrates your commitment to data security, giving you a clear edge. The report also provides clients with peace of mind, knowing their information is protected.

Whether you're considering SOC 2 compliance for the first time or need help navigating a renewal, CBIZ and MHM can help. Our team of experienced SOC professionals will guide you through the process to address your needs efficiently.

Ready to take the next step? Connect with one of our professionals to discuss your SOC 2 journey.

*MHM (Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C.) is an independent CPA firm that provides audit, review and other attest services, and works closely with CBIZ, a business consulting, tax and financial services provider.

Copyright © 2024, CBIZ, Inc. All rights reserved. Contents of this publication may not be reproduced without the express written consent of CBIZ. This publication is distributed with the understanding that CBIZ is not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice. The reader is advised to contact a tax professional prior to taking any action based upon this information. CBIZ assumes no liability whatsoever in connection with the use of this information and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in tax laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.

CBIZ MHM is the brand name for CBIZ MHM, LLC, a national professional services company providing tax, financial advisory and consulting services to individuals, tax-exempt organizations and a wide range of publicly traded and privately held companies. CBIZ MHM, LLC is a fully owned subsidiary of CBIZ, Inc. (NYSE: CBZ).

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