HackerOne Pentest Delivery Team

SOC 2 and Pentesting: What You Need to Know

SOC 2 Type II and Pentesting

SOC (System and Organization Controls) compliance certifies that an organization has completed a third-party audit of distinct security controls. The standard, developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) demonstrates that a service organization has adequate security controls and programs in place to manage and protect customer data.  SOC 1 was developed primarily for financial institutions while SOC2 covers a broad spectrum of organizations. SOC 1 and SOC 2 reports are usually only shared with customers and prospects. There is also a SOC 3 report designed for public consumption or sharing.

SOC 2 compliance is based on evaluating a set of Trust Services Criteria (TSC). These criteria are grouped into five categories and are evaluated against the organization’s objectives:

  • Security: Are systems protected against unauthorized access?
  • Availability: Do systems and data meet the organization’s use requirements?
  • Process Integrity: Do systems operate adequately in terms of accuracy, timeliness, and security?
  • Confidentiality: Do systems meet confidentiality requirements?
  • Privacy: Is personal information collected, managed, and protected properly?

To achieve SOC compliance the organization needs to determine the scope of the audit and then identify and fill any gaps in its cybersecurity program. While not specifically required for a SOC 2 audit, pentesting can be an invaluable tool in demonstrating security readiness and effectiveness.

Why Do Organizations Need SOC 2?

With the widespread proliferation of data breaches at almost every level of the cyber landscape, it is critical for any organization that stores or accesses customer data to put in place processes to protect that data. A successful SOC 2 report is the gold standard for demonstrating that your organization takes protection of customer data seriously and has the required processes in place. SOC 2 compliance can help retain existing customers and can be a significant tool for attracting new customers.

What Are the Differences Between SOC 2 Type I and SOC 2 Type II?

There are two types of SOC 2 compliance, Type I and Type II.  Both types evaluate the same criteria. Type I compliance confirms the state of the organization’s cybersecurity at a point in time, while Type II compliance confirms it over a period of time, usually between three months and a year. Type I is essentially a snapshot that indicates if the organization has adequate cybersecurity controls in place. Type II is more comprehensive, reporting on how those controls are working over a period of time to protect the security and privacy of customer data. Organizations needing to quickly demonstrate SOC 2 compliance can opt for Type I testing before proceeding to Type II.

Achieve SOC 2 Type II Compliance with HackerOne Pentesting

Although certification is not required, auditors often recommend penetration testing to demonstrate fulfillment of TSC conditions. Pentesting performed by a trusted third party is the best way to probe your organization’s cyber defenses comprehensively in a real-world environment. HackerOne’s network of highly-vetted pentesters can carry out simulated attacks on your systems so you can discover if any vulnerabilities need to be addressed for your SOC 2 Type II audit. 

“HackerOne’s reputation in the bug bounty market was top-notch. Their community lends itself to real-world simulation and removes the bias from working with a more traditional vendor. You get pentesters with different backgrounds and areas of expertise, and HackerOne provided the flexibility and assurance we needed to meet budgeting, SOC compliance, and internal security needs.”
— Matt Bricker, CTO, Rightline

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Our Pentest as a Service (PTaaS) model, empowered by the HackerOne platform, allows you to set up pentesting on a periodic schedule for annual checks which is especially important for Type II certification. The repeatability of PTaaS facilitates addressing more programmatic needs, transforming your pentests from a routine compliance obligation into a thoughtful and strategic security investment.

HackerOne’s methodology-driven pentesting approach for SOC 2 Type II encompasses:

  • Security Validation: Assessing security measures to protect against unauthorized access, information theft, and data breaches.
  • Availability Checks: Verifying the availability of systems, ensuring they are operational and accessible as per commitments.
  • Processing Integrity: Ensuring system processing is complete, valid, accurate, timely, and authorized to maintain integrity.
  • Confidentiality and Privacy: Evaluating mechanisms for protecting confidential and personal information in line with SOC 2 requirements.
  • Re-validation and Retesting: Our pentesters conduct thorough re-validations to verify the effectiveness of fixes, ensuring ongoing compliance and enhancing security measures through detailed documentation and evidence.
  • Customized Reporting: Providing detailed reports highlighting vulnerabilities and control weaknesses and mapping findings to SOC 2 TSC, aiding in the remediation process and compliance documentation.

“Ultimately, our goal has always been to be SOC 2 certified. That’s how we’re demonstrating our commitment to keeping customer data secure, and we needed a pentest that would support that objective. HackerOne Pentest enabled us to complete that testing quickly and efficiently. We were also able to tap the pentesters to retest issues, which gives us confidence that our assets are properly secured against cyber attacks.”
— Will Fraser, Chief Executive Officer at SaaSquatch

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To learn more about how to use pentesting to address SOC 2 Type II compliance, contact the experts at HackerOne today.

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