Preparing Your Business for SOC 2 and CMMC Compliance

Prep for SOC 2 and CMMC compliance

Technology is an integral component to the way you run your business.  It has both tangible and intangible benefits that will help you make money and meet the demands of your customers, no matter the size of your enterprise. Your technological infrastructure affects the culture, efficiency and relationships of your business. It also affects the security of confidential information and various forms of data compliance.

In business, you don’t gain a competitive edge by keeping pace or reacting to the latest industry trends. You need to be proactive and have the infrastructure to quickly adjust to any change. The same is true for your cybersecurity. Keeping company data safe and maintaining compliance on all levels is a top priority for any business, but what does this look like specifically for your business, especially in relation to  SOC 2 and CMMC?

What Is SOC 2?

One compliance standard that has emerged in an effort to ensure organizational data is being protected is the service organization control 2 (SOC 2) report. These standards were developed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) to ensure the protection of organizational data. An individual SOC 2 report provides insight into internal controls that exist within an organization to address risks related to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy. Much like an ISO 9002 report for a manufacturer, the report is independently validated by an outside agency and uses a specific set of criteria to ensure consistency across organizations.

Before a SOC 2 report is issued, an independent CPA conducts an assessment of the scope, design and (for Type 2 reports) the effectiveness of internal control processes. The scope of a SOC 2 report is determined by your organization and your SOC 2 assessor. While SOC 2 standards aren’t part of a law or regulation, they are just as important to your business if you’re handling proprietary customer information and data.

What Are the Benefits of SOC 2 Compliance?

In essence, it is a differentiator.  A verifiable documentation that helps your clients and customers understand that their data is retained safely and that security resources are implemented to ensure it stays that way. SOC 2 is a must-have for any organization storing customer data or integrating with business partners.

If you’re selling software or services, your customers will want to see your SOC 2 report to have confidence that their data will be protected and that there is no risk of system breaches or vulnerabilities. If your customers or business partners are in highly regulated fields or are publicly traded companies, a SOC 2 report is imperative to attain status  as a viable vendor.

A SOC 2 report plays an important role in the following for your business:

  • Verification that security standards are implemented and working properly.
  • Gaps in the organization’s security framework
  • Variety of vendor management programs
  • Internal corporate governance and risk management processes.
  • Routine monitoring and prevention of unauthorized security access.
  • Audit risk reduction.

A SOC 2 report can significantly help reduce audits. Many companies annually audit not only their customers, but also their business partners as part of their risk management practices. This can result in being bombarded with a high volume of time-consuming audits coming from multiple sources. A SOC 2 report is a great resolution for this, as companies will often use it to help diminish areas of audit verification. Many third-party vendors or managed IT service providers are gearing up to be able to help their clients become SOC 2 compliant. Depending on the current state of your security and compliance regimen, getting your program in shape to pass a SOC 2 audit can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year. 

You don’t want to put in the necessary time and money to become compliant, only to fail to achieve compliance. Or worse, you don’t want to become SOC 2 compliant, only to find that it wasn’t necessary, or the wrong type of compliance for your business. Hiring an external team of IT professionals with experience in SOC 2 or CMMC compliance is definitely beneficial because it will help you uncover the right level of compliance necessary to obtain for your business and prepare your organization for the process.

What is CMMC?

Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a system of compliance levels that helps the federal government, specifically the Department of Defense (DoD), determine whether an organization has the security necessary to work with controlled or otherwise vulnerable data. While SOC 2 and CMMC are similar in ensuring compliance standards are met for the protection of your data, they also each differ in their requirements based on industry and necessity. At its core, CMMC is intended to determine how mature an organization’s current cybersecurity initiatives are. This includes whether an organization has the capacity to not only maintain its security, but also to make it more efficient and better optimized. It also includes whether an organization is proactively or reactively managing its security and how involved its security measures are.

What Are the Benefits of CMMC?

There are five total levels of CMMC, with Level 1 being the most basic and Level 5 being the highest. Level 1 certification is what most companies should already have achieved; this includes basic security systems, password hygiene and antivirus protection software. It’s the most foundational form of security.

More recently, the DoD launched CMMC 2.0, an enhanced comprehensive framework to protect the defense industrial base from increasingly frequent and complex cyberattacks. With its streamlined requirements, CMMC 2.0 accomplishes the following:

  • Safeguards sensitive national security information.
  • Cuts red tape for small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Sets priorities for protecting DoD information.
  • Reinforces cooperation between industry and the DoD in addressing  cyber threats.

The enhancements of CMMC 2.0 help ensure accountability for companies to implement cybersecurity standards while minimizing barriers to compliance with DoD requirements. Companies are able to instill a collaborative culture of cybersecurity and cyber resilience and enhance public trust in the CMMC ecosystem, while increasing overall ease of execution.

SkyTerra Can Help Your Business Prepare

With risks and tactics changing quickly, it’s hard to know how to defend your business. SkyTerra provides a full range of cybersecurity services that keep your business safe without weighing it down. Many SOC compliance companies provide assessment documents, or identify “gaps” in a company’s security framework that makes it “necessary” for them to assist in repairing those gaps for your organization. It’s like having a fox tell you that your sheep are safe. Don’t trust just any company to protect your data.

 SkyTerra delivers a far more conclusive and responsible solution.  Having earned the SOC certification ourselves, we know the practice is not theoretical, it is practical. Let us help you improve your business in preparation to becoming SOC 2 and CMMC compliant. Contact us today so your team can focus on growing your business securely and safely.

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Darren Schriever

Darren oversees the Modern Data Center efforts at SkyTerra Technologies, as well as the company’s technology infrastructure.