ISO/IEC 27001 is a certification assessing an organisation’s adherence to a particular framework. The certifying body will evaluate whether the requirements are present within an organisation’s ISMS or not.
This certification is highly recognised and respected worldwide, but it entails a rigid controls framework that intends to apply to organisations of all sizes. However, it can be challenging, both in terms of time and resources, for younger or less mature organisations to conform to this one-size-fits-all model.
Implementing this certification can take from nine months to three years. There is an option for organisations to self-audit, which may be accepted by some customers. However, if you need guidance, LabourNet offers comprehensive POPI, PAIA, and CPA compliance solutions in South Africa.
To receive certification, an organisation must establish an ISMS, a programme that establishes, implements, maintains, and continuously improves information protection practices. The programme’s design will be evaluated, and a one-page certification letter will be provided upon successful completion of the audit.
Overall, this certification is highly respected but may be difficult for younger or less mature organisations to implement due to its strict framework and time requirements. Contact us for assistance with POPI, PAIA, and CPA compliance solutions in South Africa.
What is SOC?
SOC is a report that attests to meeting various security, confidentiality, availability, processing integrity, and/or privacy principles to safeguard all aspects of an organisation’s system, as independently audited by an external party.
One advantage is that an organisation can choose which controls to test, making the audit more manageable for those still developing their security functions. This feature also makes it slightly easier to obtain, particularly for newer companies.
Furthermore, the SOC 2 audit includes non-security controls that help establish trust with customers. In just 45 days, an organisation can obtain a SOC 2 Type 1 report covering only security and critical areas such as corporate governance and vendor management. Additionally, it can cover confidentiality, availability, processing integrity, and privacy.
The SOC 2 auditor evaluates both the design and effectiveness of controls in Type 2 audits. For smaller organisations with revenue on the line, this route can be faster and just as reputable. Ultimately, the outcome is a comprehensive SOC 2 report.
To gain an understanding of SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 reports, it is important to note the following distinctions:
SOC 1 pertains to internal controls over financial reporting systems at service organisations, while SOC 2 reports on controls relevant to Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, or
Privacy at a service organisation. SOC 3 is essentially a summarised version of the SOC 2 report, meant for organisations that do not wish to disclose the full list of security controls.
Type 1 and Type 2 designations are only applicable for SOC 1 and SOC 2 reports. The four possible combinations are SOC 1 Type 1, SOC 1 Type 2, SOC 2 Type 1, and SOC 2 Type 2. A Type 1 audit evaluates controls at a specific point in time and may or may not require evidence, whereas a Type 2 audit assesses controls over a period, typically six months, and collects evidence for each control.
If you need help simplifying this information, contact us for POPI, PAIA, and CPA compliance solutions in South Africa.
Choosing between SOC 2 and ISO 27001
The primary distinction between SOC 2 and ISO 27001 is that SOC 2 focuses on demonstrating the implementation of security controls that safeguard customer data, while ISO 27001 additionally requires the proof of an operational Information Security Management System (ISMS) to manage the information security program on an ongoing basis.
When choosing between a SOC 2 audit or an ISO 27001 certification, the most straightforward decision is to opt for the one your customer demands. However, if there is no clear preference, several factors could influence your choice, such as ease of attainment, and suitability.
Fortunately, both SOC 2 and ISO 27001 security frameworks are highly regarded and cater to the same audience seeking assurance that an organisation has the necessary controls or programs in place to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. Therefore, choosing between the two requires careful consideration of individual organisational needs and circumstances.
Similarities between SOC 2 and ISO 27001
· Both certifications are highly regarded and reputable in the industry.
· Both are aimed at building trust with clients by assuring them that your organisation is safeguarding their data.
· There is a 30% overlap in controls for confidentiality, integrity, and availability between the two frameworks.
· Up to 96% of the security controls for policies, processes, and technologies to protect sensitive information are shared between the frameworks.
· Both certification processes consist of three stages.
· Both certifications have similar operational expenditure costs.
· Both are independent third-party certifications that are respected in the industry.
Differences between SOC 2 and ISO 27001
· ISO 27001 has greater international recognition.
· While both certifications require proof of security controls to protect customer data, ISO 27001 additionally requires proof of an operational ISMS.
· ISO 27001 usually takes about 50 – 60% more time to complete compared to SOC 2.
· ISO 27001 typically costs 50 – 60% more than SOC 2.
· SOC 2 is attested by a licensed CPA firm, while ISO 27001 is certified by a recognised ISO 27001-accredited registrar.
|Area||SOC 2 Security||ISO 27001|
|Name||Trust Services Principles and Criteria for Security – The system is protected against unauthorized access (both physical and logical).||International Standard ISO/IEC 27001, Second Edition 2013-10-01, Information technology — Security techniques — Information security management systems — Requirements|
|Governance||AICPA||ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB)|
|Purpose||Help service organization management communicate to their customers that they have met established security criteria to protect their system against unauthorized physical and logical access.||Help management establish and certify an Information Security Management System (ISMS) that meets specific requirements and is capable of being certified as a best practice.|
|Structure||Principles and Criteria||Information Security Framework|
|Practices||Good Practice||Best Practice|
|Best Use||Assess the security posture of a Service Organization against predetermined security principles and criteria.||Establish, implement, maintain, and improve an ISMS.|
|“Certification”||CPA Firm Attest Examination Opinion||ISO Accredited Registrar Certification|
|Infrastructure||CPA/CA Firms Worldwide||Lots of consultants; few certifiers|
|Period Covered||Point in time or period of time||Point in time|
|Nature of Audit or Certification Testing||Design effectiveness and operating effectiveness (Type II)||Design effectiveness|
|Report||A comprehensive report that includes the auditor’s opinion, management’s assertion, a description of controls, user control considerations, tests of controls, and results||Single page Certification|
|Difficulty to Achieve||Moderate Difficulty||Higher Difficulty|
In summary, when deciding whether to pursue SOC 2 or ISO 27001 certification for your organisation, there are some factors to consider. SOC 2 is easier and less expensive to implement and maintain, but it may be less rigorous than ISO 27001. On the other hand, ISO 27001 requires more work, but it offers more protection against information security threats. Ultimately, the choice depends on your organisation’s priorities, resources, and customer demands.
For more information on POPI, PAIA, and CPA compliance solutions in South Africa, please contact the LabourNet Helpdesk at 0861 LABNET (0861 522638).
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