Which SOC 2 Trust Service Criteria are applicable to my organization?

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Determining which SOC 2 Trust Service Criteria (TSC) are applicable to your organization depends on the specific services you provide and the data you handle. SOC 2 assessments are designed to evaluate an organization’s controls related to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of customer data. The applicable criteria vary based on the nature of your business and the trust services you offer. Here’s an overview of the five TSC categories:

  1. Security: This criteria focuses on the protection of system resources against unauthorized access, unauthorized disclosure, and potential damage. Applicable if your organization handles sensitive customer data and needs to ensure robust security measures are in place.
  2. Availability: This criteria assesses the availability of your systems and services to meet the needs of your customers. It involves minimizing downtime and ensuring prompt recovery from incidents. Relevant if your services must be consistently available to customers and downtime would impact their operations.
  3. Processing Integrity: This criteria evaluates the accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of processing customer data. Applicable if your organization processes customer transactions or data that needs to be accurate and reliable.
  4. Confidentiality: This criteria pertains to the protection of sensitive information from unauthorized access or disclosure. Relevant if your organization handles confidential customer information that must be kept secure.
  5. Privacy: This criteria assesses how personal information is collected, used, retained, and disclosed in line with the organization’s privacy notice and regulatory requirements. This is applicable if your organization collects and processes personal information.

Each of these five Trust Service Criteria consists of principles and associated criteria that provide specific guidance on what controls and practices need to be in place to meet the overall principle. Organizations undergoing a SOC 2 assessment select the relevant criteria based on their business operations and the services they provide to clients.

To determine which specific criteria are relevant to your organization, consider the following steps:

  1. Service Offering: Identify the types of services your organization provides to clients and the nature of the data you handle.
  2. Data Types:Determine what kind of customer data you collect and process (e.g., financial, personal, or sensitive).
  3. Regulatory Requirements: Identify any regulatory requirements that apply to your industry (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA) and consider whether SOC 2 can help address compliance needs.
  4. Client Requirements:Understand if your clients request SOC 2 reports and which criteria they are most concerned about.
  5. Risk Assessment: Conduct a risk assessment to identify areas where controls are needed to address risks associated with the services you provide.
  6. Legal and Contractual Obligations:Review contracts, agreements, and legal obligations to determine if certain criteria are explicitly required.
  7. Consult with Experts: If unsure, consult with experts, such as compliance consultants or auditors, who can provide guidance based on your organization’s specifics.


After assessing an organization’s controls against the selected Trust Service Criteria, independent auditors issue SOC 2 reports. These reports provide valuable insights to customers, stakeholders, and regulatory bodies about the effectiveness of an organization’s controls in safeguarding data and ensuring operational integrity.

It’s important to note that the specific Trust Service Criteria selected for assessment depend on the organization’s services, industry, and client requirements. Additionally, organizations can opt to assess one or more of these criteria based on their business needs.

SOC 2 (Service Organization Control 2) is an auditing standard. It assesses the controls and processes of service organizations related to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of customer data. The assessment is based on a set of Trust Service Criteria (TSC) that provide a framework for evaluating these aspects of an organization’s operations.

Once you’ve identified the relevant TSC categories, work with a qualified auditor to conduct a SOC 2 assessment to evaluate your controls against those criteria. Keep in mind that the assessment process should be tailored to your organization.

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