Beyond Compliance: Startup Security Foundations with Vanta’s Ryan Ward


To learn more about startup security, click here to watch Matt Mason’s webinar.

For many startups, the ability to close deals hinges on security. According to a recent report by Vanta, more than half of startups are asked to prove their security measures by prospective customers. And securing funds from investors often depends on having security measures in place as well. 

However, despite its importance, Vanta’s survey found that 20 percent of startups have no security roadmap.  

Vanta is an automated security and compliance platform. Their recent survey included 500 startups in SaaS, healthcare, media, government, and education. According to the report, 75 percent of respondents think they should improve their security. And 43 percent said security and compliance were blockers in getting their startup up and running.

The results aren’t surprising to Vanta’s Ryan Ward. He understands the important role security has in building and growing a startup and says security measures should be baked into the foundation of any business.

On November 9, Ryan will lead a Founders Network webinar where he’ll detail the importance of security for startups. He’ll also share tips for ensuring your startup has a strong security foundation that enables you to grow. 

The webinar will cover:

  • Why baking in a foundation of security sooner rather than later is critical for attracting investors, moving upmarket, and protecting your brand
  • When startups should achieve SOC 2 compliance and how compliance automation can save you up to 400 hours of work and 85% of costs
  • What steps startups can take now to establish strong security practices and reduce the overall workload for achieving and maintaining compliance

SOC 2 for Startups

In the Vanta survey, 52 percent of respondents said compliance certification was one of their top motivations for maintaining security. Among the most important security audits is SOC 2 which assesses and verifies a startup’s adherence to rigorous security and privacy standards for protecting customer data.

For startups, SOC 2 compliance is essential for building trust with customers and partners. It demonstrates that the company takes data security and privacy seriously, which is especially crucial when handling sensitive customer information. Achieving SOC 2 compliance can be a competitive advantage. It reassures potential clients that the startup has implemented robust controls to protect their data. Additionally, SOC 2 compliance can be a requirement for doing business with larger enterprises and organizations. It can also open up new opportunities for startups in various industries.

Despite the necessity, achieving SOC 2 compliance can be challenging. For this reason, Matt sometimes recommends startups delay undergoing a SOC2 audit, but he says they should still be working to put security measures in place.

“If you want to unlock revenue and move into enterprise, SOC 2 is a requirement. But you should delay your SOC 2 as long as you can because it’s an audit and is a lot of work,” Matt says. “That doesn’t mean that you should delay putting the foundations and principles in place that lay the groundwork for you to be able to get there.”

The Startup Security Journey

While SOC 2 is vital for startups, Matt emphasizes that it’s not the only thing startups should be focused on. He says achieving SOC 2 compliance is a good starting point. However, it’s not always enough to ensure your startup is protected. He also recommends startups focus on vulnerability management, penetration testing, and more to prevent security catastrophes like data breaches. 

“Do you know what the top 10 data breaches in the last five years all have in common? Every single one of those companies has a SOC 2 or ISO 27001 certification in place,” Matt says. “Getting your compliance standard in place doesn’t actually necessarily mean that you are more or less secure. We’re trying to change the conversation from being about SOC 2 to the entire security journey.”

Vanta’s Security Solution

Vanta specializes in providing tools and services to help businesses with security and compliance. They offer a platform that helps organizations manage and monitor their security and compliance efforts, particularly in the context of software development and cloud infrastructure. Vanta’s platform includes features such as automated security assessments, compliance monitoring, and reporting.

“One of the biggest pieces of feedback that we get from founders once they sign up with Vanta, is that they wish they would have had Vanta in place beforehand. Because they have to go back and redo a bunch of work that they’ve already done,” Matt says. “The irony of that is that one of the biggest reasons why founders don’t move forward with Vanta is because it’s not a priority for them. The same founders who are saying, hey, it’s not a hard requirement, are then coming back once it’s a hard requirement. And they’re having this aha moment of like, ‘I wish I would have had the software in place to guide me as I was building out the product, because now I have to go back and redo it.’ And that is the biggest waste of time.”

To learn more about startup security, click here to watch Ryan Ward’s webinar.

Share With Your Network

Looking for startup advice, connections, and insights?

Tap into a global network that enables you to answer questions, build relationships, and gain the perspective you need to move faster.
Peer mentorship with fellow tech founders
Pitch practice with Tier 1 VCs
Accelerator grade discounts