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Addressing Cloud Security in the Public Sector with SOC 2 Compliance

Cloud-based software was once an unknown solution that was only embraced by some while others remained wary. Now, after years of proven benefits in the private sector, many governments and other public entities are welcoming cloud technologies, with a few still on the fence.

Public agencies have shied away from adopting cloud-based software for a variety of reasons, but one that still weighs heavily is security—especially now in the age of phishing and ransomware attacks. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about whether cloud-based systems can keep your agency’s data safe from bad actors. The service provider you choose should take their security and reliability measures that much further. One way to do that is with cybersecurity frameworks like SOC 2.

In this post, we’ll explore those fears and learn about extra measures your service provider can take.

3 Common cloud security concerns—and how your service provider should address them

Data Storage and Ownership

Your agency handles a lot of sensitive and confidential information, so it makes sense one of the top fears public sector agencies have when considering cloud-based software is the perceived loss of control and ownership of data. Plus, not knowing where your data is stored geographically can generate a whole new batch of anxieties.

To address this concern, your service provider should have information on their data residency policies and procedures readily available. With this information, you can ensure your data is being stored within your jurisdiction (like the United States or Canada), so the same legislation and data governance standards apply.

Data Privacy and Compliance Standards

To expand on the above point, your agency may work with specific types of sensitive data like personal health information (PHI), personally identifiable information (PII), and government records. Looking for a service provider that can meet minimum standards for storing and protecting data under regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, or FISMA, is crucial.

Service Availability and Reliability

What happens if the system is down? Meeting today’s communities’ growing needs means public services need to be ready and available at all times. Additionally, it can be a security and data integrity concern.

Your cloud service provider must have robust service level agreements (SLAs) that outline what you should expect, metrics that measure service level (such as uptime and first response time), and outline continuity and redundancy measures that keep your information safe in case of an outage.

What is SOC 2 and why public sector cloud service providers should certify

SOC 2 stands for Service Organization Control 2, and it is a set of standards developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Essentially, it’s a cybersecurity compliance framework designed to make sure organizations handle sensitive data securely, reliably, and maintain the privacy of information.

SOC 2 measures five components:

  • Security
  • Availability
  • Processing Integrity
  • Confidentiality
  • Privacy

It has two levels, Type 1 and Type 2, with Type 2 being the most rigorous certification. This certification is completely voluntary and issued by outside auditors which makes it a green flag when looking for a service provider.

SOC 2 Type 1 ensures service provider uses compliant systems and processes at a specific point in time and reports on whether the provider’s controls are properly designed and enforced.

SOC 2 Type 2 monitors and measures compliance over a period of time (usually 6-12 months) and reports on that same control design and enforcement while ensuring those controls are operationally effective.

What does SOC 2 Type 2 compliance really mean for your agency

In short, you can put a higher degree of trust in your provider that they’re keeping your information safe. Working with a service provider that’s SOC 2 Type 2 compliant ensures they meet and exceed industry and regulatory standards.

Enhanced Security Measures: A service provider must implement and maintain stringent security measures that protect against unauthorized access to your system like access controls, data encryption, and regular security monitoring.

Consistent Adherence to Standards: To reach Type 2 compliance, service providers must demonstrate they can consistently uphold those security measures, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy standards.

Third-Party Validation: Service providers are audited by independent parties, which gives unbiased external validation of their commitment to data security and privacy.

Industry Recognition and Trust: SOC 2 compliance is widely recognized in various sectors and important for trust in the highly regulated public sector.

Have questions about Euna Solutions™ security measures? Ask us.


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Learn how to find the right solutions partner to enhance your ERP, save time and resources, and ultimately deliver a greater impact on the communities you serve.

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