What does it actually mean to be a SOC 2 compliant vendor?

April 24, 2023
4 minutes

The last two decades have been defined by ongoing change and transformation. In that time, we’ve experienced the emergence of tens or hundreds of thousands of technology companies that exist exclusively to support other businesses in a B2B model. 

At the same time, the rapid adoption of technology has also raised concerns around security and privacy. For technology vendors — especially those serving large, customer-facing enterprises — there’s a growing need to adopt security best practices and prove compliance if they want to stand out from their competitors. 

One key way to tick many of the boxes that enterprise customers are looking for is to achieve SOC 2 compliance. But, what does that look like in practice? In this piece, we’re exploring the value and benefits of SOC 2 compliance, with insights on how it can better position your company as a technology vendor. 

Why is SOC 2 compliance important?

More and more, trust and compliance have become entrenched in the B2B technology sales process. Enterprises want to know that they’re not putting themselves (or their data) at risk by partnering with a new vendor. While a SOC 2 compliance certification doesn’t prove that your company is 100% secure, it does send a strong signal that you’re prioritizing the right things. 

Because of the sheer amount of customer data they handle, enterprises have a mandate to be SOC 2 compliant. Part of ensuring that compliance comes with working with vendors that also prioritize security and privacy. In other words, achieving SOC 2 compliance as a tech vendor is an important differentiator that could better position them in the sales process. 

Regardless of your company size, there’s value in creating elevated levels of trust with customers, prospects, and partners. If you store, process, or manage any data for your customers, you should have reliable systems in place to keep that data protected. The cost of not doing this properly and exposing your company to a breach could be devastating. Not only is it expensive to recover from a breach, the reputational damage can also lead to customers terminating their contracts and prospects shying away from building a relationship. 

The value of SOC 2 compliance for vendors

SOC 2 compliance offers a number of benefits for B2B technology vendors. 

It simplifies the sales process. In order to ascertain how robust a vendor’s security processes are, enterprise procurement teams have long, complex questionnaires that cover all the bases. To answer them, sales reps typically pull in security team members and other specialists, taking them away from their core tasks. A SOC 2 report typically removes the need for a questionnaire as the documentation and established policies have all the information the prospect needs to know.

It improves security. The SOC 2 certification process encourages companies to set up robust and comprehensive security policies. Companies can also take this further by building a culture of security within their organization, fostering alignment across teams and employees.

It provides documentation. Even if your company is a start-up, it’s never too early to have documentation. Recording your security policies and processes is a great way to prepare yourself for enterprise procurement processes, but it also better positions you for future financial projects like a merger, acquisition, or new round of VC funding. 

It facilitates risk management. With the SOC 2 framework, companies are better able to anticipate and mitigate risks as they appear. This not only fosters security, it builds resilience into the business, setting it up for success. 

While the overarching benefits are clear, undergoing a SOC 2 compliance exercise can feel daunting for growing businesses that are still mapping their trajectory. That said, if you’ve identified that you’re selling technology to large enterprises, and that you’ll be storing or processing sensitive customer data, earlier really is better. The time, effort, and money spent to get your certification will be well worth it to build trust with enterprise customers. 

How does SOC 2 compliance impact the sales process? 

We’ve talked about how SOC 2 compliance makes the sales process faster and more agile, but there are other ways that it can influence a vendor’s standing. For instance: 

  • It shows customers that you’ve done the work of building security best practices and gives you a competitive advantage. 
  • SOC 2 compliance also helps build trust faster. The audit report is a strong signal that you’re as committed to security and privacy as your customers are.
  • Sales reps are more empowered to share accurate information, without having to drag security professionals into the sales process. 

Given that, sales teams can take a proactive approach in leveraging their company’s SOC 2 compliance. They can do this by being vocal in sharing that they are a SOC 2 compliant vendor, promote the news with help of the marketing team, and ensure there is a dedicated trust page on the company website that highlights compliance. Lastly, they should ensure there is an easy — and private — way to share the SOC 2 report to vendors. A tool like Pima can help with just that. 

Differentiate your business 

Today, a strong security posture is a competitive advantage for B2B technology vendors. Teams that want to stand out against their peers during an enterprise procurement process need to take security seriously, and leverage their compliance efforts throughout the sales process. 

Ready to do more to do more with your SOC 2 compliance? See how Pima can help.

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