Top 7 SOC 2 Myths Debunked

tyler_munro
tyler_munro Tugboat Employee Tugboat Team

Today, we’re setting the record straight by debunking the biggest SOC 2 myths we’ve heard. They come from years of experience helping businesses like yours get through SOC 2.

So, let’s get this thing started.

Myth #1: SOC 2 Is a Certification

Of all the SOC 2 myths out there, this one is probably the biggest. By the way, we mostly have the internet to thank for perpetuating this myth. (Thanks, internet.)

That said, SOC 2 is definitely not a certification.

When you complete a SOC 2 audit, you get a report—again, not a certification. In it, your auditor will offer their opinion on whether you’re SOC 2 compliant. They can only speak to your compliance over the audit’s observation period, which can vary. That’s why you’ll need to get audited annually to maintain SOC 2.

So, if you’re looking to impress your auditor, don’t call SOC 2 a certification.

Myth #2: Auditors Are Out to Get You

Auditors have an undeservedly bad rap.

Yes, they can be particular—even, dare I say it, pedantic. But they aren’t out to get you. We’ve spoken to hundreds of auditors. We also have a bunch of ex-auditors on our team. We can assure you that they do have your best interests at heart. After all, when your business is more secure, it benefits everyone.

That said, you shouldn’t hire the first auditor you interview. Remember, you’ll be spending plenty of time working with this person. You want them to be responsive to your needs. And you don’t want an auditor who has a one-size-fits-all approach. They should be willing and able to collaborate with you.

If you’re looking for help on how to choose the right auditor, we’ve got you covered right here.

Myth #3: SOC 2 Doesn’t Provide ROI

Repeat after me: security compliance will boost my bottom line.

It’s true.

If you’re a B2B SaaS company, most enterprises won’t even give you the time of day unless you have SOC 2. Frankly, it’s fast becoming table stakes in today’s world. And if you want to sell in regulated markets, think of SOC 2 as the key to unlocking those new opportunities.

But SOC 2 doesn’t just support your sales team—it also reflects on your trustworthiness as a vendor. It demonstrates that customers can trust you with their data. So, there are also reputational benefits. While they might be difficult to quantify, you shouldn’t discount them.

Myth #4: SOC 2 Is a List of Hard and Fast Rules

People think there’s a checklist of defined controls, policies, and requests that need to be implemented to pass a SOC 2 audit.

Not so.

SOC 2 criteria are based on a set of objectives. Every auditor maps controls to objectives differently, and no two auditors’ control lists are the same. Theoretically, one control, like implementing a firewall, could meet multiple objectives.

In other words, everybody’s journey is different.

Myth #5: SOC 2 Is a Technical Evaluation

 Many think of SOC 2 as a technical examination. After all, most of the controls you’ll implement relate to your technology stack. It’s important to remember that SOC 2 is more comprehensive than that.

Yes, an auditor will collect samples to verify that you have designed and operationalized the right controls. And, yes, most of these controls will cover your technology. But your auditor will also want to ensure that you have the necessary security policies in place. This includes the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders. All this documentation provides an auditor with proof that you have a solid governance structure.

Myth #6: If Your Vendors Have SOC 2, You Don’t Need It

Unfortunately, this just isn’t true.

Take Amazon Web Services (AWS). They have one of the most robust SOC 2 reports known to humankind. It demonstrates they’ve done everything possible to protect themselves and their customers. Unfortunately, this doesn’t extend to you and your customers.

There’s no such thing as security by osmosis.

Myth #7: SOC 2 Takes a Couple Weeks of Preparation

If only this were true.

SOC 2 isn’t just about implementing controls. That’s the easy part. It’s also about providing documentation and evidence. Like your high school math teacher, auditors want you to show your work, which means you need to have everything organized and easy to access. And that takes time.

Thankfully, there are plenty of free templates online that can get you sorted. We can also help. It so happens that our platform can simplify the process of documenting your policies, procedures and controls.

Final Thoughts

SOC 2 can be needlessly confusing.

It doesn’t help that there’s so much conflicting information floating around. By dispelling some of the most common SOC 2 myths, hopefully, we’ve put you in a better position to navigate the rest of your compliance journey.

As always, if you have any questions about SOC 2, or are looking for audit workflow software to help you get through the whole process in one piece, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re always happy to help.

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