Confirmed compliance with the SOC 2 cybersecurity framework is a badge of honor for era organizations.

Evolved via the Affiliation of World Qualified Skilled Accountants to measure adherence to sure agree with products and services standards, Device and Group Controls 2 is a gold same old for outfits like Kinsta, whose trade is website hosting different corporations’ knowledge within the cloud.

Kinsta launched into an effort to display SOC 2 compliance within the fall of 2022 and won a a success audit underneath the usual’s core safety carrier standards in August of 2023. Alongside the way in which, the Kinsta workforce realized a little bit about making ready for a SOC 2 audit.

We additionally discovered that lets make our techniques much more protected than they already had been.

If your company is considering an strive at a SOC 2 designation, we’re glad to proportion what we all know with you.

What Is SOC 2, and What Does Compliance Entail?

SOC 2 is a collection of information-security requirements with which corporations can voluntarily make a selection to conform. That’s carried out via aligning the way in which an organization operates with SOC 2 requirements.

“We had rather a couple of buyer leads merely decline to imagine Kinsta after they realized that lets now not display compliance with the SOC 2 requirements.”

— Jon Penland, Kinsta Leader Running Officer

Leader Running Officer Jon Penland, who spearheaded the SOC 2 effort at Kinsta, says the AICPA’s standards are basic sufficient to be appropriate to maximum organizations. It’s as much as each and every group — assisted via an impartial CPA company accepted via AICPA — to design and enforce controls explicit to their operations.

The SOC 2 framework comprises 5 carrier standards: safety, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privateness. Says Penland: “Since we had been getting a SOC 2 program up and operating for the primary time, we targeted at the core safety standards for our first SOC 2 audit.”

The overall result’s a SOC 2 audit document. Corporations can obtain two several types of reviews:

  • Kind I: This document supplies proof that an organization has designed and applied controls enough to agree to the SOC 2 same old. Bring to mind it as a “snapshot” document, which confirms most effective that an organization has designed and applied suitable controls however does now not ascertain that the corporate has remained compliant with the ones controls for any time frame.
  • Kind II: This document takes issues a step additional via verifying that an organization has complied with the controls right through an outlined statement length. The place a Kind I document is a “snapshot” of compliance at a time limit, a Kind II document verifies compliance over an outlined time frame.

Penland says Kinsta opted for a Kind II document, beginning with the corporate’s efficiency for the 3 months starting April 1, 2023.

The effects are to be had to shoppers on Kinsta’s Agree with File web page.

Screenshot of Kinsta's Trust Report page.
Key parts of Kinsta’s Agree with File web page.

Making the Choice to Get started the SOC 2 Procedure

Penland says compliance was once on Kinsta’s radar lengthy prior to the SOC 2 mission kicked off in September of 2022.

“We had rather a couple of buyer leads merely decline to imagine Kinsta after they realized that lets now not display compliance with the SOC 2 requirements,” he says. “For lots of undertaking shoppers — and increasingly SMBs — SOC 2 compliance is a demand they position on their distributors.”

“Additionally, within the absence of SOC 2, we had many leads ask us to finish intensive safety questionnaires, which will take a large number of time and assets to finish. The SOC 2 Kind II document will dramatically cut back the choice of safety questionnaires our workforce has to spend time on.”

What’s extra, Penland says, “We believed {that a} framework like SOC 2 may just lend a hand us strengthen our safety in tangible and significant techniques.”

Opting for a GRC Platform and an Auditor for SOC 2 Trying out

“We identified that we had to establish two key distributors early on,” Penland says. “That’s the GRC (governance, possibility, and compliance) device we’d be the usage of to automate compliance tracking to the best extent imaginable and the CPA company we’d use to accomplish our first SOC 2 audit.”

“We made up our minds to begin via figuring out the GRC device we felt highest met our wishes. We ended up researching greater than a dozen competing GRC answers, keeping discovery calls with 8 distributors, and demoing 4 or 5 other platforms. After weeks of labor, against the top of 2022, we settled on Vanta as our GRC platform.”

By means of January of 2023, Kinsta was once within the procedure of having inside techniques operating with Vanta’s computerized equipment for compliance tracking.

“On the identical time, we began having a look at imaginable auditors,” Penland says. “Vanta has a lot of auditor companions, and we made up our minds to center of attention our seek on those companions — the reason is that we would have liked to ensure our auditor was once acquainted with Vanta and would settle for proof gathered via them. After keeping discussions with a couple of other auditors, we made up our minds BARR Advisory was once the appropriate selection for Kinsta.”

How Kinsta Introduced SOC 2 Trying out

With all of the avid gamers in position, March was once a hectic month for the Kinsta workforce.

“There was once a lot to do for our Safety, IT, Engineering, Construction, Felony, and HR groups,” Penland says. “We held numerous conferences, up to date many insurance policies and workflows, labored on SOC 2 asynchronously in Slack each day, and checked in often with each Vanta and BARR.”

“When our statement length started April 1, there was once little to notice and no fanfare. The fascinating factor about SOC 2 is that should you’ve operationalized your compliance actions, compliance doesn’t take all that a lot paintings. Making ready to conform takes paintings, and amassing proof in improve of the audit takes paintings, however the act of complying with the controls successfully way trade as standard, equipped you’ve assimilated the ones SOC 2 controls into operations.”

Says Penland: “In the second one part of June we held a chain of conferences with our auditor, right through which they went over the proof gathered to make sure that they had an entire working out of the way the proof associated with our agreed-upon controls. Whilst the usage of Vanta no doubt stored us a large number of time, we nonetheless put rather just a little of effort into accumulating, organizing, and clarifying the proof we equipped to BARR.”

Kinsta’s first SOC 2 Kind II document was once revealed on August 15.

A Nearer Have a look at Kinsta’s SOC 2 Controls

Kinsta’s first SOC 2 Kind II document comprises 38 other controls, which fall into a couple of other classes:

  1. Computerized platform checks: Since Kinsta makes use of Google’s Cloud Platform as its infrastructure supplier, a large number of the checks across the safety of GCP had been computerized via Vanta. “As soon as those checks had been arrange, they stunning a lot simply hum alongside within the background, however getting them arrange was once no simple feat,” Penland says. “We’ve got actually hundreds of GCP VMs, and our Engineering workforce moved mountains getting all of the ones VMs correctly categorised and arranged in order that Vanta may just observe them successfully.”
  2. Insurance policies: Previous to SOC 2, Kinsta already had a somewhat powerful coverage framework. “The problem we bumped into is that our insurance policies weren’t arrange the way in which Vanta anticipated,” Penland says. “That supposed that we needed to evaluate our present insurance policies to Vanta’s anticipated configuration and come to a decision easy methods to align the 2. This took an incredible quantity of coordination and paintings — excess of I anticipated — and was once some of the time-consuming step within the procedure.”
  3. Workflows and procedures: “It’s nice to have a coverage that claims one thing like ‘all workforce contributors will whole safety consciousness coaching right through onboarding,’” says Penland, “however should you don’t combine that coverage right into a workflow, you’re liable to failing to abide via your coverage. We needed to spend a large number of time considering thru more than a few workflows and updating them with checkpoints or further steps to make sure we had been following thru at the commitments we had made as a part of SOC 2.”
  4. Habitual duties: There are a number of habitual duties Kinsta wishes to stick on best of to agree to the SOC 2 controls. Those duties come with such things as crisis restoration and safety incident tabletop conferences, penetration trying out, annual coverage opinions, and extra.

“SOC 2 in the end is going some distance against describing and controlling the way you function throughout IT, HR, Engineering, Construction, and Safety,” Penland says. “So it’s vital to design controls that align with the way you in reality function or regulate your operations as had to align together with your SOC 2 controls. SOC 2 can’t simply be one thing you do yearly — it must be the way you function each day.”

Having a look Again on Key Classes Realized

Penland says a key to the SOC 2 mission’s luck was once constant buy-in throughout all of the Govt workforce and, in flip, the remainder of the group.

“To finish SOC 2, we needed to faucet into important assets, specifically on our technical groups — Construction, Engineering, Safety,” he says. “If our CTO and Era workforce management had now not purchased into the need of going thru this procedure, we’d had been sunk. So, one piece of recommendation I’d have for any group enthusiastic about going after SOC 2 is to make sure to’ve carried out the paintings of promoting the significance of SOC 2 internally and getting buy-in from the highest management of the corporate.”

“I do assume discovering a GRC device that has the appropriate integrations and lines that have compatibility your online business is a good way to begin,” Penland provides. “I additionally assume shifting briefly to spot your auditor and start operating with them, prior to you assume you’re in reality in a position, could also be a good suggestion. We discovered the pre-assessment readiness paintings finished via our auditor to be beneficial in serving to us establish the precise steps we had to take to be in a position to start out our statement length.”

Additionally vital was once opting for an auditor acquainted with operations like Kinsta’s.

“Kinsta is a contemporary era corporate,” Penland explains. “Our complete trade runs within the cloud, we haven’t any workplaces, and our workforce is unfold far and wide the arena. “If we had opted for an auditor who was once used to operating most effective with conventional brick-and-mortar companies and on-premises infrastructure, it will had been an overly unhealthy revel in for each us and the auditor.”


With a rising choice of possible shoppers challenging SOC 2 compliance from their cloud website hosting suppliers, Kinsta dedicated to assembly the framework’s safety standards within the fall of 2022 and completed its first a success audit in August of 2023. Alongside the way in which, the corporate fine-tuned a lot of insurance policies and procedures and followed a third-party platform to automate some tracking of governance, possibility, and compliance.

Kinsta Leader Running Officer Jon Penland says the method of operating against SOC 2 reporting additionally gave the corporate a possibility to fortify its safety posture in “tangible and significant techniques.”

The corporate targets to extend the choice of SOC 2 standards to be audited and make compliance tracking a continual procedure.

Bear in mind to test in on Kinsta’s SOC 2 standing the usage of the Agree with File web page.

If you happen to’re now not already a buyer, uncover the WordPress Web hosting, Software Web hosting, and Database Web hosting products and services safeguarded via Kinsta’s SOC 2 compliance.

The publish Classes Realized Alongside Kinsta’s Trail to SOC 2 Compliance seemed first on Kinsta®.

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