TechBytes

SOC 2 Type 1 vs. Type 2: Here Is What You Need To Know?

SOC 2 Type 1 vs. Type 2: Here Is What You Need To Know?

Cybersecurity continues to occupy a prominent spot in companies’ priority lists. As such, companies commit substantial amounts of money to bolster cyber defenses. Norton’s 2019 data breach report revealed that bad actors breached 4.1 billion records in the first half of the year.

Breaches can lead to significant reputational damage and financial losses. Hence, information security is a critical concern for organizations irrespective of whether they outsource IT functions or handle them internally. Thankfully, organizations can mitigate the risks by hiring service providers with a SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2 report.

Organizations need to understand the differences between SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2.

SOC 2 Compliance

What is SOC 2?

Service organization control (SOC) 2 reports come in two types: Type 1 and 2. They form part of an auditing framework, which helps maximize data protection by ensuring that third-party service providers adhere to standard practices when handling clients’ sensitive information. Many organizations have a mandatory requirement for reports when hiring service providers. This approach safeguards data privacy and security.

What is SOC 2 Type 1?

A Type 1 report covers the relevance of design controls and a description of a service provider’s approach. On the other hand, the Type 2 report focuses on the effectiveness of a service organization’s controls.

One of the key aspects of Type 1 is that it considers the specifics of an approach or system based on a particular timeline. The auditor presents a detailed report ‘as of’ date after reviewing relevant documentation. Software as a service (SaaS) firms need to prove that they implement best practices.

In turn, the report confirms proof of compliance to the auditing process set out by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Service organizations derive a wide selection of benefits from obtaining the report. For instance, SaaS companies gain a competitive edge, and the report assures potential clients that the firm complies with AICPA procedures.

Small and large organizations need assurances that a service provider keeps their data safe. Working with a SOC 2-compliant vendor bolsters confidence, particularly for organizations handling sensitive customers’ financial or medical information. It is no surprise that there is an ever-increasing demand for SOC 2 Type 1 reports.

Service providers receive the report immediately after completing a readiness assessment. In contrast, the process of obtaining SOC 2 Type 1 reports takes up to 12 months.

What is SOC 2 Type 2?

Type 2 reports provide superior assurance regarding the compliance of service organizations.

Vendors undergo a comprehensive assessment than with SOC 2 Type 1. AICPA procedures for Type 2 cover a service provider’s internal control practices and policies.

Thus, vendors showcase the highest compliance level when it comes to data security and control systems. SOC 2 Type 2 compliance makes it easier for SaaS firms to work with larger corporations. Vendors adhere to the best practices regarding processing integrity, availability, data privacy, and security.

Although obtaining these reports can be time-consuming and relatively pricey, service providers can stand out from the competition.

Key differences between SOC 2 Type 1 vs. Type 2

The most obvious difference between the two reports is the duration of the assessment process. While Type 1 audits cover controls for a specific date, Type 2 audits encompass an extended period ranging between six and 12 months. The latter assesses operating effectiveness for the specified period.

Type 1 audits concentrate on the design effectiveness of a service provider’s controls. Additionally, auditors assess the applicability of the vendor’s internal controls. These measures should be sufficient to achieve specific objectives.

Vendors need to commit more time, effort, and resources to obtain the Type 2 report compared to Type 1. On the upside, the extra effort can prove worthwhile on the market. Companies are happy to work with vendors that take data security and privacy seriously. Likewise, insurance firms, partners, and other stakeholders can also find this approach appealing.

Closing Thoughts

In a nutshell, the two audits cover procedures and controls implemented by service providers to ensure data security and privacy. When it comes to differences, coverage timeline is the main factor that distinguishes one from the other. Although service organizations can skip Type 1 audits and start with Type 2, experts recommend going through Type 1 as the starting point.

Attempting to obtain the SOC 2 Type 2 without undergoing Type 1 can prove complicated. During the assessment process, your team will likely struggle to showcase controls and policies while demonstrating that the controls have been functioning effectively for a minimum of six months.

Undergoing the Type 1 audit undoubtedly prepares your team for the Type 2 audit. You get a feel of how the SOC assessment process works. It becomes easier to identify areas that require improvement. In addition, you can establish control objectives.

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Can You Automatically Record Microsoft Teams Meetings?

Can You Automatically Record Microsoft Teams Meetings?

If you’ve ever been annoyed by the fact that every time you start a new meeting with Microsoft Teams, you have to manually enable the program to record the meeting for later use, you’re not alone.

A quick Google search will show you that this question — and the frustration that goes along with it —is all over the Internet. Moreover, with Microsoft Teams being used more now than ever before because of COVID-19, the issue has become even more pressing.

The truth is most people who use Microsoft Teams want to be able to automatically record their meetings, and why wouldn’t they? Recorded meetings can be used for follow-up studying when teaching virtual classes, and they’re often needed for legal reasons in order to ensure industry compliance. Plus, some people just like to have their recorded meetings on file in case they need to go back and revisit a topic or concern that was already discussed.

So, let’s get to the question at hand: Can you automatically record Microsoft Teams meetings?

Well, you’re probably not going to like the answer we have for you.

If you’re looking for a way to automatically record Microsoft Teams meetings, you are unfortunately out of luck. Alternatively, you’re simply going to have to wait because this feature doesn’t currently exist.

Recording Microsoft Teams

Why Can’t You Automatically Record Microsoft Teams Meetings?

This is a question we can’t quite answer, but if you do ever find out the reason why Microsoft Teams has not allowed users to automatically record meetings, please let us know.

Otherwise, you’ll have to ask Microsoft and their engineers about it.

Manual Meeting Recording: The Struggle Is Real

Naturally, the fact that you can’t automatically record Microsoft Teams meetings is a problem for many people. Even though recording is still an option if you do it manually, it’s easy to forget to set this feature up before starting the meeting. When this happens, you’re completely out of luck. Indeed, there’s no way to go back in time and record a meeting that’s already happened.

The Internet at large is frustrated with this. Any company or individual user who uses Microsoft Teams on a regular basis has probably wondered about this feature. Many of these individuals and employees have voiced their concerns on Reddit and Microsoft Teams forums. You can find lengthy back-and-forths between everyone from tech experts and software engineers, to professionals and laypeople — all trying to figure out the best way to code in this feature or use a third-party program that will enable the automatic recording.

What Should You Do if You’re Frustrated by Teams’ Lack of Automatic Recording?

For many, the only alternative is to use a different video conferencing program like Zoom.

Zoom came on the scene relatively quickly after COVID-19 caused basically everyone to start working and video conferencing from home. Many people like its easy-to-use interface and modern features — one of which is the ability to automatically record meetings.

You can go into the settings on Zoom and predestine all video conferences, meetings, classes, and sessions to be recorded. Alternatively, you can choose only certain types of meetings, conferences, etc. to be recorded.

If you like Microsoft Teams, however, or if your company or organization uses Microsoft Teams and doesn’t want to change, there’s really nothing to be done right now. You simply have to wait for Microsoft to catch up and add this feature to the program. A few commenters have hinted that there’s talk of adding the auto-record feature at Microsoft. Unfortunately, nothing firm or official has been released as of now.

For most of us, therefore, we’ll probably just continue to leave sticky notes on our screens that read “don’t forget to record the meeting!” Until the next update … fingers crossed!

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Has Your Organization Been Breached By Solar Winds Malware?

Has Your Organization Been Breached By Solarwinds Malware?

Although mainstream media coverage of the massive Solarwinds hack seems to indicate the danger is over, the sophisticated hackers may still be hiding in plain sight.

Microsoft recently uncovered at least three strands of malware deployed by the alleged Russian hackers. This new revelation raises alarms across industries that the Solarwinds attacks may not be over. The question business professionals need to be answered is whether their network has been breached and if cybercriminals are actively copying and selling digital assets on the dark web.

Has Your Organization Been Breached By Solar Winds Malware?

What Is The Solar Winds Hack?

Highly skilled cybercriminals reportedly penetrated a Solarwinds system known as “Orion.” These stealth hackers managed to insert malicious code into its software products that were inadvertently dispersed to the outfit’s 33,000 customers in the form of updates.

This code created secret backdoors that allow digital thieves and spies to infiltrate wide-reaching networks, including government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and Treasury Department, among others. The so-called Solarwinds attacks were not limited to government targets. Malicious code has been identified in private sector organizations, and the full breadth of the cyberattacks remains unknown.

So pervasive and potentially destructive is the Solarwinds attack that congress held hearings to get a handle on its business and national security implications. Under intense questioning by lawmakers, an official from the Solarwinds reportedly blamed the breach on an intern who ignored the corporation’s cybersecurity protocols. According to news reports, the intern used the weak password “solarwinds123” and posted it online. Cybersecurity experts attribute upwards of 95 percent of breaches to human error.

Who Has Been Impacted By The Solarwinds Attacks?

To say the attacks blindsided private businesses and government agencies would be something of an understatement. Government-vetted firms such as FireEye were compromised due to the sophisticated methods used to hide the malicious code in software updates. The widespread embarrassment from organizations previously considered among the most secure has led many to believe critical information continues to be withheld. Much of the information released about the devastating breaches fails to identify the organizations that have been breached.

On the one hand, working with Solarwinds as a vendor or customer does not necessarily mean that an organization suffered a breach. But by that same token, the supply chain nature of the cyber-attack suggests that outfits outside direct Orion software users could be infected right now. That’s largely because congressional hearings and investigative reports indicate the hackers possess heightened skills, appear well-funded, and demonstrate a determination to hide in networks as long as possible to pilfer off digital assets and valuable personal data. Solarwinds appears to be an ongoing cybersecurity nightmare that should worry industry leaders.

How To Know If You Suffer A Solarwinds Breach?

As Microsoft and others continue to ferret out malicious strands of code, cybersecurity responses are being developed. Industry leaders who are concerned their organization may have been compromised enjoy access to open-sourced CodeQL queries. These are being rolled out by Microsoft to investigate incidents of Solarwinds Orion Malware laying hidden in networks.

Microsoft offers concerned parties free access to its cybersecurity software that was crafted to hunt down this malware. Decision-makers would also be wise to take the following proactive measures to ensure the integrity of their digital assets.

  • Enforce Strong Password Policies
  • Use Multi-Factor Authentication For Employee Login
  • Backup Data To Cloud & Offline Resources
  • Monitor Third-Party Controls & Interactions
  • Develop A Company-Wide Cybersecurity Policy
  • Require Employees To Undergo Cybersecurity Awareness Training
  • Maintain Enterprise-Level Firewalls & Virtual Private Networks

The Solarwinds attack highlights how clever, well-financed hackers can infiltrate seemingly impenetrable defenses such as the Department of Homeland Security. That’s why it’s essential for organizations to harden their cybersecurity defenses and deter emerging threats. However, the average business with even sound cybersecurity protections in place was no match for these Russian hackers. If you are concerned your network has been compromised through the Solawinds supply chain or by other threat actors, contact a cybersecurity expert and have your system analyzed and penetration tested.

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Inclusive Work Environment Is Vital for Digital Transformation

Inclusive Work Environment Is Vital for Digital Transformation

As an ever-increasing number of companies implement a digital transformation, decision-makers need to adopt viable ways to transition successfully. Creating an inclusive work environment is undoubtedly one of the best ways to achieve this objective. Many organizations find it easier to create the workplace of the future by embracing diversity.

In doing so, they create a people-centric, inclusive work environment that leverages digital solutions to supercharge efficiency and productivity. The best part is that such an environment is more likely to attract the best talent in various fields.

IT experts recommend keeping things simple and implementing changes incrementally. Critical aspects like employee well-being and mental health also play an integral role in bolstering inclusivity. This aspect is vital for remote work because many workers often feel stressed and grapple with concentration and motivation challenges.

Thus, managers and executives need to foster a workplace rooted in flexibility and empathy. Successful transitions require executives to adopt bold measures capable of driving meaningful change.

Digital Transformation

Inclusion as a Top Business Priority

Although many companies stepped up diversity and inclusion efforts, there is still considerable room for improvement. According to a recent diversity report, approximately three percent of Fortune 500 companies release diversity information. This figure shows that many organizations express interest in boosting inclusion and diversity, but progress is sluggish.

To implement meaningful changes, organizations should put in considerable effort. A diverse workforce enables companies to solve problems more effectively and enhance innovation.

Your organization should reinvent its talent pool by examining future staffing requirements from a digital transformation perspective. The future requires a more diverse workforce capable of handling challenges more dynamically. Pick a team that is ready to handle the current and future digital trends. Team members should bring considerable digital competencies.

Long-term success depends on strategies that enable your company to attract the right talent steeped in digital transformation. The new talent can help existing staff embrace digital transformation while transferring critical skills. Agile talent plays an essential role in preparing your organization for the future.

The Role of CIOs and HR Managers

Chief information officers and human resources managers play a pivotal role in implementing diversity and digital transformation plans. This dynamic duo needs to work closely to ensure that employee engagement, culture, and the work environment leverage technology.

Diversity and inclusion strategies share similarities with gamification, which empowers businesses to attract and retain highly skilled professionals. Human resources departments play a vital role in implementing gamification by embracing technology. This approach is also critical when it comes to digital transformation and diversity.

Hiring digitally inclined, diverse team members is more important than just following a trend. It represents a cultural shift capable of propelling your business to long-term success. Many business leaders, including CIOs and HR managers, boost their reputation by implementing successful diversity and digital transformation policies. The cultural revolution leads to improved operating efficiency, increased productivity, and higher profits.

To achieve overall success, you need to formulate viable plans. Furthermore, it is vital to outline timelines and milestones to help your team gauge the plan’s effectiveness.

Business Cases vs. Cultural Revolution

Many organizations grapple with the idea of justifying digital transformation and diversity initiatives based on specific business cases. In the end, some businesses struggle to make progress while trying to identify business cases. Thus, the process becomes a waste of time. Experts recommend skipping the business case and focus on the cultural evolution.

Understanding the role of diversity and inclusion in overall business success helps decision-makers concentrate on the ultimate prize. Digital transformation and an inclusive work environment represent the future of work. Your team does not need to make a business case since complex organizational structures and communication systems drive today’s corporate ecosystem.

Companies gain useful insights by tapping into analytics powered by augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Companies should focus on embracing this reality without making a business case. Digital transformation encompasses various aspects of customers’ and the workforce’s activities. On the other hand, transformation requires the support of a diverse workforce capable of making meaningful contributions.

Once you consider these two aspects, your team has proven a business case. Thus, eliminating the need to spend time deliberating the topic. Experts recommend getting on board or risk missing out on a significant opportunity for your company. Additionally, assess the downsides of diversity parity and the benefits of a digitally connected work environment.

Also, consider how the entire workforce and customers benefit from the initiative. The right decision does not depend on information in spreadsheets and presentations. Focus on the human aspects.

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How To Have a Successful Zoom Call

How To Have a Successful Zoom Call

When the world went into lockdown, it effectively shut down business for a little while. In the legal world, however, you can’t just stop. This led to law firms and courts using Zoom to conduct hearings and trials. Naturally, this caused some issues. If you are not comfortable with Zoom, you run the risk of making a fool of yourself unintentionally. Follow this guide to ensure your Zoom meeting goes off without a hitch.

Successful Zoom Calls

Familiarize Yourself

The more you know about a product, the easier it is to use. This is true with Zoom. If you know you will have to do Zoom calls, you need to understand how to use the program. You DO NOT want to wait until the last minute and try to figure everything out. Zoom offers free, unlimited 45-minute sessions, so it is easy to go in to explore the options.

Audio and Video

When you are participating in a Zoom call, it is essential that you know how to turn your microphone on and off. When you turn on Zoom, it will prompt you to turn your volume on. You can turn it off by clicking on mute in the lower left-hand corner.

You will want to be muted whenever you are not talking, so any background noises you have are not disturbing the meeting. You will also want to make sure that you remember to unmute yourself every time you go to talk. A trick is to hold the spacebar down if you will only be speaking for a brief period.

You also want to be aware of how to turn the video on and off. When you enter the meeting, you will want your video to be on, and generally, it will stay on the entire time. However, if something comes up, and you don’t want your background showing for whatever reason, you can turn off your video by clicking stop video.

Background

Zoom has a background feature, and you can set virtually any image as your background. You can choose something as simple as a colored background, select an image on your device, or download premade zoom backgrounds and upload them.

You can set your background ahead of time by going into your zoom settings and selecting virtual background. You can also do it when you are in the meeting. If you click on the video arrow, you can choose the background and select an image there.

Sharing Screen

Depending on the settings of the person hosting the Zoom, you may have the ability to share your screen. You will want to try this out because you have to have the window you are trying to share actively open in order to share it. Otherwise, when you click on Screen Share, you won’t have access to that tab.

Screen share also has a whiteboard function. So you can essentially share a whiteboard and either write or type information on it. It will then display on everyone else’s screens who are in the Zoom.

Finally, you can also share multiple screens at the same time via the screen share option.

Waiting Room

If you are hosting a zoom, you will want to enable a waiting room. This means that anyone who enters your zoom link will be placed in a virtual waiting room and cannot enter until you allow them to. This is helpful because it allows you to control who does and does not enter the Zoom. It is common for people to try to “Zoom Bomb” meetings and do inappropriate things. With the waiting room, you can only let in people you know are supposed to be there.

Personal Meeting Room

If you will be hosting a lot of Zoom calls, you should set up a Personal Meeting Room. This is your own private zoom, and you can call it whatever you want. It starts with https://zoom.us/my/, and then you fill in how you want it to end. You will want to keep it simple, so people can easily remember it. Whenever you need to host a meeting, you open up your Zoom application and click start, and it will begin the Zoom. You can then let in anyone trying to access the Zoom.

Touch-Up

If you look exhausted or have poor lighting, you can use the touch-up feature to provide a soft-focus on your screen. This helps you look professional and polished in very little time. To access this feature, go to Zoom settings and then click video, and finally select touch-up my appearance.

Filters

Zoom does have a variety of filters you can use during your video call. To access them while in Zoom, click on the arrow next to the video icon and select filters. You can select any filter that is listed there. To turn the filter off, go back into the same area and click on none under filters.

Practice

Once you have played around with Zoom’s different features, set up a practice Zoom call with someone. It really does not matter who. Go through the different Zoom features while you are on the call, and make sure you know how to turn everything on AND off.

Zoom Master

It’s also a good idea to have someone in the company be a Zoom Master. This means they know Zoom inside and out, and if you are having any issues, you can call them to save the day. Make sure this person is always available during any Zoom calls, so you aren’t frantically trying to find someone to fix your issue.

If someone in your company isn’t willing to do this, reach out to your IT department and have them explain everything to you to make sure you have a thorough understanding of how everything works. If your IT department doesn’t do this for you, reach out to us, and we will be happy to help.

We want to help you with your technology needs. Contact us today to see how we can help.

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