Service organizations looking to assure stakeholders about the effectiveness of their security controls can do so by reporting on SOC 2 compliance. When optimizing identity and access management (IAM) controls, the SOC 2 compliance password requirements will help you meet and surpass the standards necessary for maintaining data security. Read on to learn how.
Overview of the SOC 2 Compliance Password Requirements
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) established the SOC 2 requirements to help service organizations report on their security infrastructure and controls.
An overview of the SOC 2 compliance password requirements entails a breakdown of:
- The AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria (TSC)
- SOC 2’s logical access control requirements
Compliance with the SOC 2 password requirements will help build long-term assurance of your data security, especially when optimized in partnership with a SOC 2 compliance advisor.
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What Are the AICPA Trust Services Criteria (TSC)?
The AICPA established the Trust Services Criteria to help organizations evaluate the controls they implement when meeting the requirements of SOC 2 and other related SOC reports.
When preparing to meet the SOC 2 compliance password requirements and eventually conduct a SOC 2 Type 1 or Type 2 audit, it is critical to understand the scope of the AICPA’s TSC framework and how it may apply to the controls your organization implements.
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Breakdown of the AICPA TSC Categories
The AICPA’s TSC are grouped into five categories, formerly known as Principles:
- Security – The processes and controls involved in ensuring that data is kept secure from the point of collection until it is destroyed or removed from an organization’s infrastructure.
- Availability – The level to which data or systems are accessible to meet the needs of users to whom the organization provides services.
- Processing integrity – The state of an organization’s system performance based on whether the system efficiently meets the objectives for which it was created.
- Confidentiality – The ability of a system to safeguard various types of sensitive data considered confidential.
- Privacy – The processes involved in securing users’ sensitive personal data from the point of collection and beyond.
The TSC criteria also align with the 17 principles in the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission’s (COSO) framework for enterprise risk management. There are 17 Common Criteria (CC) in the TSC, along with Supplemental Criteria. One of these pertains to logical and physical access controls, where SOC 2 compliance password requirements fall.
CC6 – Logical Access Control Requirements
The SOC 2 compliance password requirements are listed under CC6 of the COSO Principle 12 Supplemental Criteria for implementing logical and physical access controls. CC6 contains eight total sub-categories to help organizations effectively manage access control risks.
Three of these subcategories directly address the SOC 2 password requirements.
Security Infrastructure Controls
Subcategory CC6.1 outlines the SOC 2 compliance password requirements for managing security infrastructure controls. Specifically, organizations must implement processes for:
- User identification and authentication – All users attempting to access information systems locally or remotely must be identified and authenticated using controls such as:
- Multifactor authentication (MFA) for remote and local access to assets
- Strong password requirements for sensitive accounts
- Password management software
- Infrastructure management – The requirements governing the implementation of access control infrastructure (e.g., MFA, password managers) must be:
- Documented and disseminated across the organization
- Professionally managed to identify security vulnerabilities
- Asset encryption – Robust, industry-standard encryption tools must be used to supplement any existing access control infrastructure.
The security infrastructure controls you implement to meet the SOC 2 compliance password requirements will safeguard sensitive data both at rest and in preparation for transmission.
Access Credential Management
Compliance with the SOC 2 password requirements also involves securely managing the controls that provide or restrict access to sensitive data environments. Specifically, you must ensure password access to assets is managed by a designated administrator who oversees:
- Processes for creating passwords and related access controls
- Addition and removal of account privileges based on business need
- Cleanups of dormant accounts with access privileges
The SOC 2 password requirements in TSC sub-category CC6.6 require organizations to:
- Authenticate all external attempts to access the sensitive data environments
- Safeguard any transmission of access credentials outside of the secured IT environment
As a secondary measure to password safeguards, organizations can mitigate unauthorized access to their systems by implementing firewalls, demilitarized zones, or intrusion detection.
The SOC 2 compliance password requirements are best implemented and optimized when governed by a SOC 2 password policy. Furthermore, working with a SOC 2 compliance partner will prepare you for SOC 2 audits (Type 1 or Type 2) and long-term security assurance.
Enhance Your SOC 2 Access Controls
By implementing the SOC 2 compliance password requirements, you will optimize the access controls across your organization, especially when guided by a SOC 2 compliance specialist. You will also evaluate your security posture and ensure it meets your desired identity and access management standards. Contact RSI Security today to learn more and get started!