If you’re a developer, you’ve most likely come across SOC 2. Perhaps you’re SOC-savvy, but just not sure how it affects your development. Whether you’re developing for a small startup or giant enterprise – SOC 2 not only needs to be on your radar but at the top of your priority list.
Now, although we could rave about the benefits and importance of SOC 2 compliance forever; this is not the SOC 2 under 2 blog; although that’s worth checking out if you’re about to get SOCCY with it (yes, we’re making that a thing).
In this piece, we’re looking at things from a more technical perspective and how SOC 2 applies to the developer. But first, let’s recap what SOC 2 compliance is and why it matters.
What is SOC 2, and why does it matter?
SOC 2 was developed by The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and is a way to regulate and ensure that all cloud-based products process and store data securely. This particularly pertains to customer data.
When it comes to SOC 2, the primary thing to take into account is that it’s not a regulatory compliance framework, meaning that compliance with the SOC 2 security standard is voluntary. To SOC 2 or not SOC 2; you may then think it’s up to you. However, as customers are becoming increasingly security conscious, SOC 2 compliance has quickly become less of a novelty and more of a necessity. But what does it mean in terms of development? Answering that question starts with understanding the five Trust Service Principles (TSP) of SOC 2.
The five SOC 2 Trust Service Principles
The SOC 2 framework is guided by five Trust Service Principles (TSPs); Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy. These TSPs work as a set of criteria for assessing the risk and requirements associated with the information security of an organization. By understanding and adhering to these principles, developers (and the entire organization) can guarantee that they’re meeting the highest data security standards.
What’s also neat about SOC 2 is its flexibility. This means that you can tweak your SOC 2 compliance to fit the TSPs that are most relevant to your organization. Granted, figuring out which TSPs apply could seem tricky when you’re new to the compliance world, but fortunately, we’ve got all the roadmaps you need for the new kid on the SOC 2 block. Like a Beginner’s Guide to the Five SOC 2 Trust Service Principles.
How does SOC 2 compliance affect a developer?
Although SOC 2 compliance is unique to each organization, many of the factors that influence SOC 2 audits concern the scope of a developer’s responsibility and the system architecture within an organization. This is especially true within the Security, Availability, and Processing Integrity pillars.
Whether you mean to or not, you’re most likely already implementing a vast majority of the controls and standards required for SOC 2 – that is, if you’re following engineering and development security best practices. That being said, it may be worth looking into SOC 2 earlier than you think.
Security and access controls
In terms of security, SOC 2 auditors will take a look at your dev infrastructure and architecture to see whether it’s secured and monitored. This means both your application and your underlying security infrastructure must include features like encryption, logging, APM, vulnerability scans, etc. Auditors are also looking to see whether you’ve implemented the required access controls for internal services and SaaS, like de-provisioning accounts, 2FA, malware detection, etc.
But data breaches and security threats aren’t 100% avoidable; fortunately, SOC 2 auditors are aware of this. That’s why they’re also looking at how your development has implemented security measures to detect intrusion and malware. In the event that any unauthorized access to customer data occurs, your development must have the ability to take the necessary corrective actions.
It’s a lot to chew on but ultimately aligns with security best practices to ensure you safeguard your clients and your organization. Do you need to get some control over the concept of security controls first? Take a pitstop at our SOC 2 Controls Explained for SaaS Startups.
The software development life cycle (SDLC)
A large portion of what SOC 2 auditors look for regarding developers pertains to Processing Integrity. When auditing for this specific principle, there is a keen focus on your overall software development life cycle (SDLC). Overall, you’ll need to demonstrate that your SDLC is transparent, trackable, and controlled (issue tracking, unit testing, version control, etc.)
Consider your security policies
One common thread ties together your SDLC, access controls, and security infrastructure; your security policies. Auditors want to see that you’re implementing due diligence regarding security and not just winging it on the go. Your security policies throughout the entire organization must be concrete with stated guidelines around how your organization obtains, stores, manages, and shares any information pertaining to customer data. Fortunately, you don’t have to start from scratch when it comes to creating a custom security policy. With Scytale, you can tune & align policies and procedures with our auditor-approved policy templates.
Conquer SOC 2 compliance with Scytale
Are you ready to conquer compliance and security goals in one fell swoop? Get started by ticking off the ultimate SOC 2 Compliance Checklist for 2023. Alternatively, get 100% audit-ready in a jiffy and streamline your journey to compliance with Scytale. Our experts will guide you step-by-step through the compliance process and fully prepare you for your audit. Then, we take over full management of your audit process with your chosen auditor – easy as that! Just take a look at what our customers are saying!