The recent data breaches of tech giants Cloudflare, Doordash, and more underscore the ongoing importance of compliance and data security.
This is especially pressing in SMS marketing, as more businesses integrate text messaging to directly connect with customers. The popularity and efficacy of one-to-one business texting - with 98% of customers reading incoming messages, and 58% saying texting is now the best way for companies to communicate with them – make it obvious to include texting as part of a marketing and customer retention strategy.
But companies using business texting still have to ensure they adhere to regulatory requirements and security standards to keep data safe and protect customer relationships. In addition to helping regulate best practices, compliance is a way to both offer exceptional service and build trust with customers.
Businesses should be aware of and strive to achieve the best security standards wherever they operate, and one of the most recognized and important security standards is SOC2 certification. Any business that collects, manages and leverages a customer’s personal data is encouraged and expected to comply with SOC2 requirements.
To help you understand SOC2 compliance and what it means to your SMS marketing strategy, we’ll look at the critical information you’ll need to protect your data, provide a trusted customer experience, and prop up confidence in your company.
What is SOC2?
Introduced in April 2010, SOC2 was developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and is a voluntary certification for all businesses who store customer data in the cloud.
To be certified SOC2 requires a thorough audit by a licensed CPA firm, specifically one that specializes in information security, which examines if service providers meet specific security and compliance requirements prescribed by the AICPA that pertain to data security.
Successful completion of a SOC2 technical audit means that well-designed policies and procedures are in place to ensure the long-term security of customer information.
Following the audit, organizations can provide any stakeholder (be it regulators, business partners, or suppliers) with important information about how it follows enterprise-grade security procedures to protect customer data to commonly accepted standards.
Unlike other regulatory frameworks such as HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA, there is no legal obligation to become SOC2 compliant. Rather, it is a best practice that helps companies prove that their internal cloud and data center security controls protect customer data, a benchmark from which they can deal with other stakeholders.
How to be SOC2 compliant?
To become SOC2 compliant, an independent CPA firm evaluates up to five “Trust Services Criteria”, covering main aspects of your business, including:
- Security: Protecting data from unauthorized access
- Availability: Ensuring employees, clients, and stakeholders can rely on your systems to do their work
- Processing integrity: Making sure your company’s systems operate as intended
- Confidentiality: Safeguarding confidential information by limiting its access, storage, and use
- Privacy: Protecting sensitive personal information against unauthorized users
While only the first criteria – Security – is needed to obtain a SOC2 report, ensuring you meet the others is strongly recommended.
Under SOC2, businesses can also opt to be evaluated for a Type I or Type II report. Type I, while quick to complete, only gives a one-time static picture of a company’s security measures currently in place, without assessing their overall effectiveness. Type II, on the other hand, evaluates security effectiveness vis-a-vis long-term performance, usually over a period of 3 to 12 months.
For best results and higher consumer confidence, Type II reports that cover the majority of the criteria - undertaken to provide the most detailed examination of your security practices over time - are preferable and strongly encouraged, especially as more companies rely on SOC2 to prove they take data security seriously.
Why is SOC2 important for texting?
Knowing a third-party vendor is SOC2 compliant facilitates the purchase and sale of goods and services between companies. Purchasing, say, cloud storage from a SaaS provider that holds SOC2 certification means that you can sleep a little better knowing that your data is secure to the best, widely accepted standards.
As more companies turn to SMS marketing to capitalize on the full benefits of business texting, it is imperative that your platform vendor proves SOC2 compliance so that you are assured it will stay protected and can implement a business texting strategy with confidence.
Potential SMS services that are not SOC2 compliant should be avoided, as you run the risk of data being breached, leaked or mishandled – all of which could lead to PR nightmares, regulatory fines, costly lawsuits, and a plummeting of consumer trust.
Choosing a vendor who is SOC2 compliant, especially one who is SOC2 Type II compliant, provides your business with the dual benefit of secure data in their platform, and an expert team to provide advice and insight into ensuring your texting strategy is compliant. Partnering with a SOC2 certified vendor when implementing your business text messaging strategy alleviates several of the risks associated with texting.
So while not directly impacting your ability to text customers, SOC2 remains a crucial part of your overall compliance strategy.
Enterprise-grade security with Statflo
From onboarding to customer support, upselling to FAQs, text messaging is now one of the most effective ways to engage customers on their preferred channel and execute an outreach strategy with a proven ROI – but only as long as your data stays safe.
Statflo’s leading business text messaging platform was specifically developed for data safety and compliance. In addition to advanced built-in features like smart filtering (to block inappropriate content) and DNC management tools (to automatically manage opt-outs), Statflo is one of the few companies in the sphere of customer outreach and business text messaging to be fully SOC2 Type II compliant.
Statflo proudly and rigorously adheres to the protocols and benchmarks surrounding data security and compliance, and our SOC2 Type II certification underwrites the effectiveness and integrity of our platform, processes, and systems. Our security expertise forms the backbone of our best-in-class business texting platform and means that we invest in, take seriously, and act on data security measures and issues, so you can stay focused on creating exceptional customer experiences.
Download our whitepaper to learn more about business text messaging compliance.