No industry has been hit harder by data breaches than the healthcare industry. IBM’s 2023 Cost of a Data Breach Report tells us that the average cost of a data breach across industries was $4.45 million, but the average cost of a healthcare data breach was the highest at $10.93 million. Not only is sensitive data at risk when bad actors gain access to patient records, but the lives of patients themselves can be in danger, as the Internet of Things (IoT) often relies on vulnerable networks to connect lifesaving devices. It’s more important than ever to have a system that protects patient data and safety.

What is SOC 2 Compliance?

There are several systems that set compliance and security frameworks to safeguard security through specific controls and monitoring. One of the most trusted of these is Systems and Organization Controls 2, known commonly as SOC 2. Companies that have implemented SOC 2 compliance achieve a higher level of security, as well as a greater amount of trust by all stakeholders since they have met these stringent regulations. 

Related: 10 Commercial Printing Terms You Need to Know.

What is SOC 2 Used For?

Designed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and overseen by their Service Organization Control reporting platform, SOC 2 is a cybersecurity compliance framework.

  • It details the most secure ways for service organizations to manage customer data and mitigate risk both internally and externally.
  • It dovetails well with HIPAA compliance for healthcare organizations, especially for networking and commercial printing.
  • SOC 2 is directed at SaaS and technology service providers who manage or store customer data.
  • It’s also important for third-party vendors, partners, and supporting companies to safeguard customer data at every point along the supply chain, from digital data transfer to commercial printing and distribution.
  • While it is not mandated, it’s highly recommended that any companies handling customer data adhere to this framework as closely as they can.

The Five Pillars of SOC 2

While not an exhaustive list of processes, SOC 2 outlines criteria that ensure strong information security, letting companies tailor their use based on their own unique needs. It focuses on five pillars, or Trust Services Criteria (TSC)—and companies can choose to implement all or a combination of them:

  1. Security: Preventing unauthorized access of information and systems can be done through IT security infrastructure including 2FA (two factor authentication), firewalls, and other critical deterrents that protect sensitive information. 
  2. Availability: Ensuring the software, information, or infrastructure is well managed and includes controls for monitoring, operation, and maintenance. Availability also assesses if the company reaches minimal acceptable network performance levels and identifies and thwarts outside threats.
  3. Processing Integrity: Assures system performance is optimal and does not have omissions, delays, errors, or unauthorized or inadvertent manipulation. All data processing must be aligned with correct procedures and be complete, authorized, and accurate.
  4. Confidentiality: Measures how well companies protect sensitive information that should only be accessible to a predetermined group of authorized users or organizations, including accounting access, patient data, and other information that must be protected by agreements, contract, or the law. This is essential for HIPAA compliance.
  5. Privacy: This pillar describes the extent to which an organization can protect personal information from unauthorized users, including name, address, race, ethnicity, social security, or health information.

How SOC 2 Benefits You and Your Customers

With SOC 2 compliance, your organization is prioritizing customer safety and building their trust. However, taking steps to strengthen these pillars also benefits your company in many other critical ways:

Creates Better Security Throughout Your Organization

As you work through the framework outlined in SOC 2 compliance, you’ll improve overall security measures and HIPAA compliance across your entire organization through risk management and risk mitigation strategies. Just by undergoing the process, you’ll have a fuller understanding of how to manage sensitive data. You can identify holes in your security, assess future risks, and implement the tools to help catch and thwart threats from networking breaches to commercial printing corrections. You’ll also alert those that can help evaluate threats and block them.

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Proves Security Viability

With SOC 2 compliance, showing your security credentials to other parties is easy. Simply generate a report. Whether it’s a prospect, another company, or an auditor seeking assurance of your security standards, you’ll be prepared and confident in the results. SOC 2 reports can significantly expedite sales cycles and instill trust.

Catches Outliers

With this framework in place, you’ll have a baseline for normal operations so you can more readily identify threats or potentially dangerous activity. You’ll have a way to document system configuration changes and a way to track user access levels. Therefore, if there is a breach in security, you’ll see it right away and have the tools to assess and mitigate it quickly.

Bolsters Brand

This standardized platform is the gold standard report for any U.S. companies partnering with third parties that use the cloud to store data. As such, companies that maintain certification have an added layer of trust and perceived competence. SOC 2 compliance gives companies an edge over the competition.

Related: The Future of Print.

Use SOC 2 Compliance to Help Your Organization

There’s no doubt that SOC 2 certification benefits any businesses handling sensitive information, both in the protection of the information itself, and in the trust network built out from that protection. A partner who has SOC certification is a valuable one, especially in the threat-prone healthcare sector. Ironmark offers a rigorous approach to SOC 2 Type II protocols and HIPAA compliance to help ensure your information is protected during printing. Security threats don’t just stop on the screens, so make sure your data is protected every step of the way.


Written by Jill Peden

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