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The Path to SOC 2 Compliance for Startups

The Path to SOC 2 Compliance for Startups

Blog Article Published: 05/30/2024

Written by Scott Williams, Director of Startup Acceleration, CSA.

I've worked for some notable early-stage startup companies that sought to do business with Fortune 500 companies. I clearly remember the challenges of demonstrating how you can protect their customer data. SOC 2 compliance for startups can be a massive undertaking.

When you have a compelling solution, as many of CSA’s Startup Members do, you often get a pass in year one for not having your SOC 2 audit complete. However, that's only if you can demonstrate that you have a path to it. Submitting to the CSA STAR (Security, Trust, Assurance, and Risk) Registry is the easiest way to demonstrate that you have a clear path to SOC 2 certification, ISO 27001, and more.

How Does STAR Work?

The STAR Registry is based on CSA’s Cloud Controls Matrix (CCM), a framework that encompasses 197 cloud security control objectives across 17 domains. The CCM covers all critical aspects of cloud technology and ensures you have a robust security posture.

The CCM also maps to standards including NIST 800-53r5, NIST CSF v1.1/v2.0, PCI DSS v3.2.1/v4.0, ISO/IEC 27001 (2013, 2022), ISO/IEC 27002 (2013, 2022), ISO/IEC 27017 (2015), ISO/IEC 27018 (2019), AICPA TSC (2017), CIS v8.0, and ISF SOGP 2022. A machine-readable format is available as well. Many CSA Solution Provider Members incorporate CCM into their offerings, enabling automation of CCM compliance for their customers.

The Consensus Assessment Initiative Questionnaire (CAIQ) allows a company to quickly perform a self-assessment against the CCM (STAR Level 1). Alternatively, a Certified STAR Auditor can validate your alignment with CCM (STAR Level 2).

You choose between obtaining STAR Attestation or STAR Certification when you get audited for STAR Level 2. STAR Attestation follows the requirements of both CCM and the AICPA Trust Services Criteria (SOC 2). STAR Certification follows the requirements of both CCM and ISO/IEC 27001. Both of these options set you up for success when obtaining other security certifications.

Next Steps

If you’re a startup or an established solution provider, you want to make sure you’re on the CSA STAR Registry.

If you’re an enterprise that utilizes cloud services, are your providers on the STAR Registry? You can check here to find out.

And everyone should join CSA and our members at our upcoming events to learn more about the latest developments with STAR, CSA, and the cybersecurity industry at large.

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