Data is everywhere, from personal data to company data and everything in between. Almost every interaction offers extractable data. So, it is not old news that vendor certifications are not only costly but also a difficult feat to achieve. However, they are necessary.
Fortunately, recent technological advancements have drastically improved data capture and addressed the challenges of vendor certifications.
Data capture involves the collection and conversion of structured and unstructured information into a computer-readable set of data. From data presented on paper, current technology now allows for an automated data entry that can collect any type of data and convert it into a readable format requiring minimum human intervention.
Today, an estimate of 2.5 quintillion bytes of data get created through data entry services each day.
How Does Data Capture Work?
You can think of data capture as a patient who gives their data after filling out a questionnaire for the first time. It is now up to authorized personnel to use the data gathered. Ideally, digitizing the information makes it more valuable and practical as it eases cross-referencing with other data.
Simply put, Data Capture refers to the process of collecting data through electronic format and its accessible use.
Data Capture in Vendor Certifications
Existing technologies such as the IT GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) can help organize data. This includes data from surveys and responses from partners and vendors. It also helps manage vendor risk against security and other IT-related requirements. However, IT GRC cannot live up to its fullest potential as Vendor Risk Management usually gets undertaken using emails and spreadsheets, making the process tedious, cumbersome, and decentralized.
With more recent developments, more vendors now offer customizable questionnaire services to simplify vendor risk management programs. With a centralized, secure, and easy-to-deploy solution, these questionnaires streamline vendor classification assessment, risk assessment, and vendor approval respective of its criticality. More specifically, these customizable questionnaires layout an efficient way to:
- Classify vendors based on the type of information they share such as Personal Identifiable Information (PII), Protected Health Information (PHI), or Credit Card Information.
- Conduct tailored vendor risk assessments based on vendor criticality.
- Monitor progress as a basis to approve or reject vendors.
Moreover, customizable questionnaires also allow customers to manage their vendor security programs better as they promote transparency, consistency, accountability, and repeatability. It also helps maintain compliance with various regulations or standards, such as SOC 2.
SOC 2 is an audit procedure and criteria that apply to service providers that store customer data in a cloud. SOC 2 compliance is relevant to SaaS businesses and other businesses in the same service line, especially if they sell to enterprises. Since enterprises are bound to various security and compliance controls, a SOC 2-compliant vendor increases the chances of customers doing business with them.
Outside auditors conduct SOC 2 compliance assessments. Venders receive certification from vendors who adhere to the five trust principles based on existing systems and processes.
Advantages of SOC 2 Compliance
Customers deem SOC 2 compliance as a minimum requirement when considering a SaaS provider. Thus, SOC 2 compliance is vital in establishing that a service provider can securely handle its customers’ sensitive data. Moreover, the following are the advantages of keeping compliant with SOC 2:
Provides Risk Mitigation for Clients
The Security Principle maintains the importance of the protection of system resources against unauthorized access. SOC 2 compliance means employing access controls with IT security tools such as:
- Network and web application firewalls (WAFs)
- Two-factor authentication
- Intrusion detection that prevents system security breaches
- Theft or unauthorized deletion of data
- Software misuse
- Alteration and illegal disclosure of sensitive information
Quality Assurance through Processing Integrity Principle
The processing integrity principle ensures whether or not a system achieves its purported purpose, such as delivering accurate, complete, valid, and authorized data at the right place, at the right time.
However, it is important to note that processing integrity does not automatically imply data integrity. To ensure processing integrity, integrating the monitoring of data processing and quality assurance procedures is key.
Security and Protection of Client Data (GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA)
SOC 2 compliance ensures that the use, collection, retention, disclosure, and disposal of personal information is secured and protected.
In upholding and protecting confidentiality during data transmission, encryption is an important control. Network and application firewalls (WAFs), coupled with well-built access controls, are essential in successfully safeguarding information, whether stored or processed, on computer systems.
The Importance of SOC 2 Compliance
Although SOC 2 compliance is not a technical requirement for SaaS and other cloud computing vendors, its power in ensuring you cannot question its data security capabilities.
With that in mind, vendors should undergo regular audits to ensure their adherence, and with the five trust principles, they remain in compliance with SOC 2 in general. With various cloud businesses in circulation, SOC 2 compliance is one factor to watch out for before committing to a service provider.