Any service organization that wants to establish an element of trust between its services and the end user and its customers needs transparency. This means providing ample information regarding policies and procedures for how the company operates. Service Organization Controls (SOC) Reports® are one form of ensuring service organizations are taking steps to safeguard their customers’ information. Service, and especially technology-as-a-service organizations, benefit from a SOC 2 report and audit performed by a Certified Public Accountant. How can you ensure a successful outcome when you’re new to SOC 2? We have a few pointers for you.
Be it for proprietary information or personal information of customers, a security program and recovery plan are essential components of doing business in a digital age. Below is a simplified roadmap to help your business implement a successful information security program.
While every business faces some measure of risk, one of the ultimate factors in any successful enterprise is an effective risk management program. One of the most difficult things for any business owner to consider is the threats and vulnerabilities to the business. However, facing these risks head on through careful planning and evaluation can help ensure your company is fortified against the many risks and vulnerabilities that exist today.
Every business needs a way to achieve its objectives and address risks to the business. Businesses big and small, brick-and-mortar or in the cloud, require strong leadership, a plan to mitigate risks, and oversight of compliance with regulations and laws. This is a lot to handle, which is why some enterprises establish entire departments to manage these areas. What a lot of businesses misunderstand is that governance, risk and compliance is not something to split up and address individually by department but rather by bringing these departments together to work for the greater effectiveness of the business as a whole.
Theft of information is a risk that will devastate any business without the proper security protocols in place. Companies that handle sensitive information, such as storing names and numbers for customers’ credit cards, are required to adhere to strict standards over the transmission and storage of that information. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard was most recently upgraded to version 3.2 in April 2016. Assessments performed after October 31, 2016 will need to use the updated PCI DSS 3.2. The new requirements under PCI DSS will be considered best practices until January 31, 2018; at which time it will become the required standard. This upgrade brought about a few important revisions for payment data storage service providers, including multi-factor authentication, designate entities supplemental validation and additional service provider requirements.
The official act of implementing safeguards to protect personal health information, also known as PHI, has been in place for over 20 years with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Since then, the HIPAA Privacy Rule and the HIPAA Security Rule have been used to not only protect physical patient information, but also information stored electronically. With more health organizations turning to electronic methods of storing patient data, ordering treatments and reviewing lab results, the ability to prove HIPAA compliance has become more important than ever. While it is vital to understand all of the details written in the act itself, here are five basic areas you need to know and understand in order to get a strong start toward HIPAA compliance.
Networks were once the fences protecting businesses from external threats. A company would set up a network that only its employees could access, and it could control everything that traveled into or out of the system. The rise of telecommuting, virtual private networks, and bring your own device initiatives has changed it all.Businesses are increasingly reliant on third-party applications. From cloud storage providers to payroll systems, third parties have access to our most sensitive information. Many third parties use other third parties themselves, leaving companies with little control over who accesses their data.Here are five steps to combating insecure protocols in third-party applications.
Not long ago, hackers focused on stealing financial data. The digitization of financial transactions brought heavy regulation and security to protect those transactions, but thieves still found ways to steal things like credit card numbers to sell on the dark web. Now, online criminals have turned their attention to more valuable digital data: your electronic healthcare records.Compared to $1 for a credit card number, anonymous online buyers will pay $50 per partial electronic healthcare record. This information is valuable. Criminals can use your healthcare records to make fraudulent insurance claims for fake procedures at fake hospitals.With danger seemingly around every corner, how can you prevent your business from falling prey to a healthcare hack?
Compliance is a relative term, as every industry has its own rules and regulations. Healthcare has the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, banking has the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and retail has the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.These rules are meant to protect the interests of consumers, but staying compliant is often expensive for businesses, and regulators struggle to strike the right balance between costs and benefits.The complexity of these regulations presents a challenge to cloud service providers. As more and more businesses and industries move data to the cloud, CSPs must be well-versed in their customers’ particular compliance requirements.
Cybersecurity is a complex field, and with laws varying across states and countries, keeping cloud usage compliant can become a real headache for enterprise security decision-makers. As regulations continue to lag behind the rapid pace of technological advancements, many IT security professionals turn to the expertise of cybersecurity lawyers, who not only understand the ambiguities of the law, but are also able to secure and protect their employers’ interests in the case of a breach.Cybersecurity attorneys are not necessary, however, for everyday operations. While they play an important role in dealing with specific crises, it is possible for a company's security officials to cope with most situations on their own.
The future of a startup can be unpredictable, so many entrepreneurs don’t invest heavily in IT infrastructure security upfront. It may be an afterthought during “get this darn thing to work” mode, but a lack of security becomes a problem as the business accelerates.Trying to enhance security after core business processes have already been established is nearly impossible. Security requirements should be viewed just like any other feature requirement during system development.
Understand the risks before you switch to the cloud, and remember there is no "one size fits all" solution when it comes to data management.
In big and small companies alike, security issues are often seen as bureaucratic red tape. In reality, security is a never-ending journey.For example, when Ford’s Model T hit the market in the early 1900s, it didn’t come with seat belts. These now-ubiquitous safety features didn’t become commonplace in all cars until the 1950s. And it wasn’t until the 1970s that laws were enacted to make seat belts standard in all new cars.Yet it took a cultural shift in society to convince people to actually use seat belts and make all of those previous efforts worthwhile. Concerning safety and security, the more minds that are focused on solving or preventing problems, the better.
With nearly half of all businesses experiencing data breaches in 2014 alone, it’s almost like they’ve become a regular part of doing business.But when serious legal and reputation ramifications accompany a business’s failure to protect sensitive information, preventing them becomes a lot more important. Still, this doesn’t rectify the fact that companies continuously struggle to handle regulatory compliance in-house — nearly 80 per cent of businesses fail their interim Payment Card Industry compliance assessments.And when cloud service providers started to pick up on this need, a new trend was born: “compliance as a service.”
Every organization requires some form of management; otherwise, it would be called a disorganization and business success would be elusive at best. It's management's job to establish roles and responsibilities for employees—especially when it comes to information security.
In late 2014, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants updated the criteria for the Trust Services Principles related to security, availability, processing integrity, and confidentiality (most commonly reported out using SOC 2 and SOC 3).Soon, there will be even more updates as proposed in the recent exposure draft. Are you ready?
It can take decades for a company to build a trusted and respectable reputation, but it only takes one security breach to bring it all crashing down.After several highly publicized security breaches, companies are taking a closer look at their risk management and compliance procedures and taking preemptive action against ever-changing security threats. With reputations and sensitive data on the line, cloud service providers are being held to a higher standard.In this article, Brad Thies provides tips for CSPs to ensure their risk management and compliance measures are up-to-date and on the cutting edge to prevent future disasters.
For most cloud service providers, a compliance audit is, at best, a necessary evil — the root canal of the business world.Like a root canal, it can be a painful process that you regret about halfway through, even if you know it’s good for you. But just as you can avoid root canals with proper dental hygiene and regular checkups, the pain of compliance audits can be avoided with proper preparation.You need to see compliance audits as an integral part of your company culture, rather than as an annual nuisance that everyone wants to complete as quickly as possible. By asking the right questions before an audit and making sure your company’s priorities are in order, compliance audits can not only be relatively painless, but also actively beneficial to both your company and clients.
Cloud computing providers and other outsourced services save organizations time and money, but these savings can also lead to compromised information security.Service Organization Control reports help companies take advantage of these services while still protecting internal information and client privacy. However, filing these detailed reports can be daunting. Each of the three SOC reports serves a specific purpose, and many organizations file the wrong form. So how do you make sure your company is using the right SOC report?In this article, Brad Thies breaks down the differences between SOC reports and explains how to navigate the filing process without pulling out your hair.
It seems like major corporate data breaches have become all too common. In fact, they've become so common that you might have become immune to such news.If you own or run a small business, you might think protecting sensitive data is not something you have to worry about. But you’d be surprised by the amount of information you collect and need to protect.That’s why you need to establish processes for handling sensitive information.