SOC 2 Certification & Why It’s Important

multichannel call center

SOC 2 Certification is important for call centers that often deal with the privileged financial information of their clients in addition to meeting PCI & HIPAA regulations that protect the integrity and privacy of medical information. Choosing an experienced, professional organization to manage customer service, communications and customer contacts is critical. Ansafone brings more than 47 years of experience and security expertise to the process and delivers the latest advanced technology tools to protect your company from fines and the damaging consequences of security breaches. Today’s creative and tech-savvy criminals can often get past the security protocols of companies that just comply with HIPAA regulations. That’s why it’s so important to choose a call center like Ansafone that’s certified for HIPAA and SOC 2.

Many companies face problems with business process outsourcing, or BPO efforts. Many call centers today deliver customer service, telemarketing and other functions because they can handle these efforts more professionally and securely than companies that need to concentrate on other issues.

BPO call centers are becoming increasingly common and are known as healthcare call centers, contact centers, hospital call centers and other names. About two-thirds of all U.S. hospitals–about 3,800–use BPO call centers. [1] Other healthcare companies also use these centers to manage appointments, prescriptions, customer payments, complaints, service requests and other outsourced services. Although HIPAA is the most critical regulatory authority for medical-related services, it doesn’t protect against all security threats as well as SOC 2.

The SOC 2 report addresses a service organization’s controls that relate to operations and compliance, as outlined by the AICPA’s Trust Services criteria in relation to availabilSOC 2 ity, security, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy. A service organization may choose a SOC 2 report that focuses on any one or all five Trust Service principles and may choose either a Type I or a Type II audit. A SOC 2 report includes a detailed description of the service auditor’s test of controls and results. The use of this report is generally restricted.

 

SOC Standards

The standards for SOC certification fall into three categories: SOC 1, SOC 2 and SOC 3. [2] Companies are tested in the following areas before receiving certification:

Infrastructure
  • Infrastructure Exhaustive tests include detailed monitoring and testing of the physical elements of communications systems to detect vulnerabilities, weaknesses, physical exposure and functionality.
Software
  • Software The software systems, programs, proprietary apps, firewalls and integrated connections are tested.
Procedures
  • Procedures Each automatic and manual operating system is tested for security vulnerabilities.
People
  • People Staff members often create security risks inadvertently or deliberately. Staff members are thoroughly vetted, and staff practices are analyzed for security threats during the SOC certification process.
Data
  • Data Data collection and storage practices also create security hazards, and each company’s data-management practices are thoroughly monitored during the certification process to ensure the highest level of data security.

Unfortunately, healthcare organizations and financial companies often don’t identify security breaches until after they’ve occurred. That’s why it’s so important to take a proactive stance, choose compliant providers and maintain the best possible security practices across all marketing and operating channels. SOC is a part of the larger SSAE, which is defined as Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization. These procedures were put into place by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Auditing Standards Board. [2]

 

SOC 1 is commonly used by companies that have strong internal controls for financial reporting. SOC 2 is designed for companies that share information using cloud-computing services, which makes it ideal for companies that integrate cloud systems for information-sharing purposes. SOC 3 was designed to delve deeper into the five Trust Service Principles, and it is used more for publicly traded companies that post information for their stockholders.

 

Delivering Strong Results on Trust Issues

HIPAA compliance alone isn’t enough in today’s digital ecosphere where criminals spend as much energy and money trying to access information illegally as companies spend trying to protect their data. Healthcare companies might believe that they’re complying fully, but the burden of proof rests with these companies that must demonstrate their compliance and security efforts. Cyber attacks on healthcare and financial companies increase regularly, and at least 342 providers suffered breaches in a recent attack. [3] Clever criminals can get at protected information in other ways by following the money. HIPAA compliance doesn’t cover all the risks such as:

  • Physical assaults and intrusions
  • Communications and operations breaches
  • Inadequate privacy practices
  • Incident management that exposes windows of vulnerability
  • Acquisitions that can expose information and the company’s breach development and management strategies
  • Access controls in areas not directly related to HIPAA
  • Risks of employees using personal devices

Every Saas Hosting Facility is required to be certified in multiple areas, but EHR vendors are often overlooked. The Sarbanes Oxley Act requires that all publicly traded companies protect their financial information, and your outside consultants should deliver the same safe practices to protect your company’s reputation, prevent non-compliance fines and safeguard your clients’ personal and financial information. Service Organization Control reports can identify any risks before there are security breaches. These monitoring efforts are always performed by independent third parties, so companies can trust the results.

 

Business Owners and Type 2 SOC 2 Compliance

When your providers of outsourced services–such as call centers–are certified SOC 2, you get peace of mind knowing that you’re employing the most popular approach to risk management being used in the United States today. [4] SOC 2 compliance ensures that your provider receives regular SOC 2 reports with descriptions of the company’s efforts to deliver on the following five Trust Service Principles:

 

  1. Security: All systems are protected and monitored, and access is carefully controlled. Information is held in strict confidence.
  2. Availability: Systems are always available for customer information and operations while providing protection against breaches and unauthorized disclosures 24/7/365.
  3. Integrity of Systems: All systems work efficiently to deliver complete, valid, timely and accurate results.
  4. Privacy: Personal information is used to meet a company’s objectives without being disclosed, shared or synchronized with unauthorized or unprotected systems or people.
  5. Confidentiality: All information, operations and appointment confirmations are protected as agreed and required by government regulations.

 

Ansafone Delivers Trust and Personalized Services

It’s not enough to comply with HIPAA when enterprising criminals are always looking for ways to get information from oblique angles, outside consultants and advanced technological methods of hacking. That’s why it’s important for companies–especially those handling financial or health information–to hire outside providers that are certified in HIPAA and SOC 2.

Ansafone not only meets these standards but also offers its clients many years of successful service history. When customers contact one of its call centers, single-call resolution is usually the result. The company’s customer-centric approach makes it possible to solve all kinds of problems without creating security risks or inadvertently sharing data. Each staff member is trained, vetted and monitored in security best practices.

Call center agents can easily integrate their systems into your operating platform securely using a robust API layer that actually creates an extra level of protection. The company always delivers a world-class customer experience, which is the hallmark of service in today’s online eCommerce and customer service applications. Contact Ansafone.com today for a consultation on security, inbound customer service, outbound services, and other requirements you may need for your business.

 

References:

[1] Sequencehealth.com: What Medical Call Center Statistics Tell Us…and Inspire Us to Ask

https://sequencehealth.com/blog/new-outsourced-medical-call-center-white-paper

 

[2] Miramedgs.com: SOC 2 Type II Certification: A Security Imperative for Healthcare BPO Organizations

http://www.miramedgs.com/blog/soc-2-type-ii-certification-a-security-imperative-for-healthcare-bpo-organizations

 

[3] Mossadams.com: Think You’re HIPAA Compliant? You May Not Be—and Even If You Are, It’s Probably Not Enough to Protect Patient Data

https://www.mossadams.com/articles/2018/may/why-hipaa-compliance-may-not-be-enough

 

[4] Medicat.com: Why is SOC 2 Important to you? Medicat’s Type 2 SOC 2 + HITRUST CSF

https://medicat.com/why-is-soc-2-important-to-you/

 

[5] SOC 1 and SOC 2 Reports – Do You Know The Difference?

https://www.ispartnersllc.com/blog/soc-1-soc-2-reports-difference/

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