As a technology company that is collecting, storing, sharing, or leveraging sensitive information through networks, maintaining the highest standard of security to avoid breach or compromise of data is of tantamount importance. The company has to be committed both technologically and culturally to upholding the tenets of data protection—implementing the right kinds protocols, technologies, and industry best practices to ensure steadfast security.
This is a monumental task for any one organization to tackle alone, however. Fortunately, there are external resources available to businesses today to help report, validate, and confirm that they are in compliance with the latest security standards.
In tech, security should be everyone’s priority
The world of data security is ever-evolving, and that means that in order to maintain the integrity of sensitive information, industry regulations, standards, and best practices are in constant fluctuation. And for good reason, too—in 2018 alone, billions of people across the world were affected in some way or another by cyberattacks. That’s billions of lines of personal info, physical addresses, and even credit card information compromised to be used maliciously against countless innocent people.
Since the advent of computers, the possibility of cyber-attacks has been at the forefront of every developer’s mind. For decades, security experts have been continuously exploring how one can identify, predict, and prevent any and all digital malfeasance from affecting the normal operations and security of a system. Add to those concerns the overwhelming prevalence of cloud services as a means to store data in recent years, and a whole new frontier of data security concerns have come into the fold.
Unfortunately, as a business owner who is handling any type of sensitive customer information in the cloud, the burden of responsibility falls upon you to safeguard this data from any potential outside threats. However, developing a method to maintain an environment devoid of data breaches isn’t a shot in the dark—there have been numerous security standards defined over the years that help guide businesses to keep customer data as safe and secure as possible.
SOC 2: The gold standard of data storage
The System and Organization Control report, or SOC 2, was created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Held as one of the highest accolades of security design that a company can obtain, the SOC 2 is a set of best practices and principles that a company must adhere to if hosting or storing personal or financial information on the cloud.
While the SOC 2 is by definition a technical audit, the implications of obtaining and remaining SOC 2 compliant go beyond a simple technicality of operations. When an organization becomes SOC 2 compliant, it stands as a testimony of a company’s commitment to the preservation of sensitive data. More and more, businesses that handle private information are wearing their SOC 2 attestation like a “badge of honor”, and this certification of security can speak volumes to both potential and current clients and partners.
The AICPA has identified five key components that every business must abide by in order to maintain its SOC 2 compliance:
- Security — Retain protection of information and systems from unwanted access through the use of authorization to ensure that all other four principles (availability, processing, confidentiality, and privacy) are unencumbered.
- Availability — Information and systems that are integral to daily operations are accessible and ready to use by authorized individuals.
- Processing — System processing in transactions is complete, accurate, timely, and authorized
- Confidentiality — Information denoted as confidential is handled and protected correctly.
- Privacy — Personal information is collected, used, retained, disclosed, and destroyed appropriately.
The SOC 2 is a heralded mark for an organization that proves to its customers that it has built, implemented, and maintained a secure environment in which to store personal data. Meeting these rigorous requirements provides Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) with an important level of confidence and comfort in knowing that they are using the best software platform that is secure and safe.
PCI DSS: Protecting customer payment information
In response to the potential of hackers stealing consumer data, namely transactional items such as credit card information, several organizations including the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau laid out a set of standards designed to defend consumer data that goes in and out of an organization.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, or PCI DSS, is required by all organizations that handle, store, or transfer payment card information. Just like the SOC 2 compliance, the PCI DSS has a list of requirements that an organization must meet to garner PCI DSS compliance. Some of these requirements are:
- Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data.
- Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks
- Restrict physical access to cardholder data.
- Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data.
TazWorks and our dedication to security
With the frequency and severity of cyber attacks that plague digital business operations today, you don’t need to be told twice how imperative a bulletproof system of data protection is. When you really think about it, prioritizing data security is a business decision that is cyclical on its returns: when someone has a sense of security with your company, you foster trust and are able to build a better brand reputation, which in turn creates more business for you. There’s no denying it—partnering with the right businesses that take customer data protection to heart can alleviate future risks for you and clients, all while acting as a vehicle for continued growth.
Here at TazWorks, we deal with sensitive personal data on a regular basis. As a result, we take security seriously day in and day out. That’s why we are proud to be able to tell our clients that we are SOC 2 Type 2 and PCI DSS compliant in order to best protect their customer’s private information. But we don’t stop there.
Aside from complying with the standards discussed earlier, TazWorks goes leaps and bounds further in order to provide our clients with the highest level of data security. We follow our own list of requirements and standards to ensure our services go above and beyond the minimum. These include the use of deception technology, encryption protocol, and in-depth training and best practices adoption for our employees.
While there is no fool-proof solution to protecting ourselves from malicious data breaches, compliance standards such as SOC 2 and PCI DSS help us get as close as possible to complete data protection. And when you partner with a CRA platform provider like TazWorks, you are getting an added layer of security, care, and dedication to your customer’s sensitive information.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kary Burns is VP of Marketing for TazWorks, a technology company that provides software, tools, and a technology platform to the largest number of independent background screening companies in the nation. He has over 20 years of experience working in technology companies in technical and technology marketing roles.