What Are The 5 SOC 2 Trust Principles?

by | Apr 22, 2024

Cyberattacks against small and medium-sized companies are on the rise. Today, 46% of all breaches impact companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. You may need enterprise-grade protection faster than you think.

One way to achieve this protection is to adopt a respected cybersecurity framework, like System and Organization Controls 2, or SOC 2. 

The SOC 2 framework focuses on protecting businesses through five key frameworks:

  • Security
  • Availability
  • Processing integrity
  • Confidentiality
  • Privacy

You’ll find an explanation for each below, along with tips for adopting the framework without breaking your budget.

What are the SOC 2 Principles?

The SOC 2 framework helps certified accounting firms assess how effectively companies protect sensitive customer data. It focuses on five fundamental trust principles that are the bedrock of establishing good faith.


The first SOC 2 trust principle is security. It looks at the steps organizations take to protect sensitive customer data.

To fulfill this first trust principle, your company will need controls for accessing, encrypting, monitoring, and testing sensitive databases. Some of the tools you may use for this include:

  • Firewall and networking services
  • Backup and disaster recovery support (DR)
  • Audit logging
  • Intrusion detection systems (IDS)
  • Vulnerability scanning

The key is to take proactive steps to prevent the sensitive data you store from falling into the wrong hands. To achieve this, you may need a few tools or an external security support service.


The availability trust principle examines whether your systems adhere to key operational uptime and performance standards. Network performance monitoring and disaster recovery procedures, as well as your data backup and recovery policies, are crucial here.

To meet this trust principle, you may need to undergo incident response planning (IRP). You’ll also need systems to prevent Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attacks.

Ultimately, your goal should be to have systems that protect sensitive data, even if you experience an unexpected cyberattack or equipment malfunction.

Simplify SOC 2 certification with actionable insights to help you navigate security standards and streamline compliance. Read the guide

Processing Integrity

Processing integrity determines how consistently your organization’s cloud data gets processed accurately and on time. 

Reliable data processing is critical when serving customers in most industries, especially finance. For example, if you ran an online brokerage and didn’t maintain processing integrity, you could routinely mess up customers’ orders and account balances. That would be bad for your business and the customer.

The solution is to put some form of quality control in place. It should run in the background, monitor your operations, and catch instances of data processing failure before they can impact customers. People in the security industry sometimes refer to this as process monitoring.


Next is confidentiality. This trust principle analyzes how effectively an organization protects sensitive data throughout its lifecycle. That may mean looking at how your organization protects:

  • Financial data
  • Intellectual property
  • Customer information, like Social Security Numbers
  • Any other sensitive information you store

Establish firm access controls to sensitive information to guarantee confidentiality. Instead of giving everyone access to the material by default, put it behind a password wall that only people who need to use it can access. This is sometimes called the principle of least privilege.

Depending on the type of data you store, you may also need encryption and robust network or application firewalls. If you aren’t sure which tools you need to meet this trust principle, you should schedule a consultation with a managed service provider (MSP). These businesses offer security as a service, often at more affordable prices than what it would cost to achieve the same security internally.


Finally, privacy focuses on how effectively your company keeps sensitive information out of the wrong hands. Some of the measures companies follow to meet this criteria include:

  • Implementing strict access controls
  • Requiring two-factor authentication
  • Encrypting sensitive databases
  • Publishing privacy practices for customers and updating them when necessary

Privacy differs from confidentiality because it focuses exclusively on personal information. Confidentiality also covers sensitive information that pertains only to your business.

Benefits of Understanding SOC 2 Principles

There are two reasons to ensure you understand SOC 2 trust principles. First, they show clients your business cares about their security. This can help you retain customers while attracting new ones.

Research shows that 66% of small businesses today are either concerned or extremely concerned about cybersecurity risk. That means achieving SOC 2 compliance could impact your relationship with many potential clients you meet.

Second, SOC 2 trust principles protect your business from bad press. Embracing these standards should decrease your risk of experiencing a breach. That means no awkward news stories and a better reputation for your brand.

The Next Step

Following the five trust principles of SOC 2 can help your organization achieve the level of security that modern clients expect. To do that, you’ll need dedicated tools and policies for security, availability, processing integrity, and confidentiality. You can evaluate your current status by completing an SOC 2 audit. 

Alternatively, consider getting SOC 2 certified. You can share this with clients and potential clients to show them their security matters to you personally. Take a look at our guide on achieving SOC 2 certification. Or reach out to one of our security experts to learn more about how we can help your organization achieve affordable security excellence as a managed service provider.

Achieve SOC 2 certification with confidence using our guide.


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