Listen to: "Building a Strong SOC 2 Team"
When you are gearing up for your SOC 2 certification, your most important resource is the team you assemble. The team members you choose to lead this initiative will have a powerful effect on your efforts’ success. Many organizations assume that they can delegate SOC 2 responsibilities directly to their IT and information security departments. However, while those departments will be an integral part of the process, they are not the only ones required for success. A strong SOC 2 team will also include staff members from departments that include legal, human resources and others. Not sure who you need to win? Identify the right personnel early on for success.
Related article: Learn how to Overcome Cybersecurity Challenges and Continue SOC Activities With a Remote Workforce.
Essential Team Players
As we’ve mentioned before, SOC 2 certification is a marathon, not a sprint. The process can take several months. However, it will go more smoothly and efficiently if you identify the necessary role and the people who will fill them. Essential SOC 2 players include:
The Executive Sponsor
This is the person who should be able to tell those in the C-Suite why SOC 2 certification is right for your organization. They will be able to relate certification to ongoing security concerns, future revenue, risk management and more. In a complex organization, this sponsor will need to do extensive research to be sure they thoroughly understand the undertaking.
The Project Manager
The project manager will be the person who coordinates all SOC 2 activities and team members. They will gather information and documents, schedule resources, set deadlines and milestone and help ensure that everyone has what they need. A project manager doesn’t need to have compliance experience or even fully understand SOC 2’s requirements. What they do need is an understanding of team management and the skills to keep everything moving. Project management works best when the person in that role is left free to organize. Material participation in the process should be delegated to someone else to leave your project manager free to manage.
The Primary Author
The person in this role will need technical writing experience and extensive communication skills. They will need to have a firm understanding of business and operations, as well, so that they can effectively interview members of other teams and be able to clearly report what they are doing.
IT and Security Personnel
The people on this team will have a great deal of material that needs to be created and proven during the audit process. Much of the work will involve demonstrating that your organization can detect and effectively respond to security issues.
Make sure that this team has both personnel and financial resources needed for the job. It is likely that you will need to buy additional security tools after your first audit. You may also need to change how people physically access your properties and your data center. This, in turn, may result in the need to hire additional personnel. Make sure that there is enough staff available to handle the workload associated with SOC 2 certification.
Your legal team should be involved in the SOC 2 process early. Their input will be invaluable when you are working with third party vendors and business partners to ensure that all contracts are up to date. They will also be helpful as you continually update your documentation throughout the SOC 2 project.
If this is the first time your organization has undergone SOC certification, or if you have had significant changes since your last experience, external help can be a lifesaver. Organizations like I.S. Partners can advise you throughout the process to ensure your success. Consultants will have worked extensively with a range of organizations, and will have the understanding of what you’ll need to become SOC 2 compliant. We have deep understanding of the Trust Service Principles, and can help you understand how they apply to your organization. Additionally, if you are bound by other compliance requirements like HIPAA and PCI, we can ensure that they are properly incorporated into your organization’s SOC 2.
Related article: Find out how to Ensure Your Team Is Meeting Compliance Controls & Processes.
Other Vital Players
There will probably be many people in your organization who are not directly involved in SOC 2 certification who will still be effected by changes you make. Allot time for training in new policies and procedures that are created to make your organization safer and more secure. Make sure that there is a contact person available who can explain new policies and requirements to keep everyone in your organization on the right track.
A wide array of teammates from a broad array of disciplines is necessary for a successful SOC 2 certification. By helping people in your organization understand their role and the reasons for it, you can make the process go more smoothly and easily and keep your organization safe and compliant. Need help getting started? Get in touch. We can help you throughout the certification process.