Every SOC 2 (System and Organization Controls for Service Organizations) audit is unique, which means that one can’t give a single, universal estimate on the cost of such an audit. The answer truly is, “it depends.” In this Guide to SOC 2, we’ll explain why.

What is a SOC 2 Audit?

A SOC 2 audit assesses the strength of a service vendor’s cybersecurity controls. The audit is done by an independent audit firm, resulting in an attestation report about the vendor’s cybersecurity. The vendor can then provide that report to would-be customers, who want to know whether they can entrust their confidential data with that vendor.

SOC 2 is specifically designed for service providers, including just about every Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider that stores customer data in the cloud. Most B2B companies are asked to complete SOC 2 or ISO 27001 audits by their customers.

The main difference between SOC 2 and ISO 27001 is that SOC 2 focuses on whether a company has implemented internal controls to protect its customer data. ISO 27001 is broader in scope; it is a standard to assure that the organization has implemented an operational information security management system (ISMS) to manage its information security.

SOC 2 audits can be one of two types:

  1. A SOC 2 Type 1 audit only assesses whether a company’s security controls are designed properly for the risks at hand. That is, a SOC 2 Type 1 audit only provides assurance on your controls at one point in time.
  2. A SOC 2 Type 2 audit also assesses whether those controls work effectively over a period of time (say, six months or one year).

SOC 2 Type 1 audits are usually the first SOC audit a vendor undergoes, to provide a baseline for future audits. SOC 2 Type 2 audits then come next, and assess how well your data security and privacy controls have worked since the last SOC 2 audit.

How Much Does it Cost to be SOC 2 Compliant?

The cost of a SOC 2 audit depends on the scope of the audit, the size of the organization, how many locations are involved, the complexity of the processing, and the maturity of the organization’s internal controls.

The scope of the audit – that is, what actually gets reviewed in the audit – is defined before the engagement begins. SOC 2 audits were developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and they are based on five “Trust Service Principles.”

  • Security
  • Availability
  • Processing integrity
  • Confidentiality
  • Privacy

The vendor and the auditor will first need to decide which of those five principles should be included in the SOC 2 audit (perhaps even all of them). The auditor then uses various procedures to review and test controls related to the principles in scope for the audit. Usually, the more principles in scope, the more expensive the audit.

The cost also depends on an auditor’s method of performing the SOC audit. The fees an auditor charges for a SOC report vary widely from one audit firm to another.

Is SOC 2 Legally Required?

No, SOC 2 audits are not required under U.S. law. That said, many large companies will ask their vendors to complete a SOC 2 audit before engaging in business with those vendors. Completing that audit gives those corporations assurance that your security controls are strong, and they can trust your business to handle their data or to engage in other transactions with them.

ZenComply Can Help You Manage SOC 2 Audits

Audits of any kind are onerous projects, with large amounts of documentation that auditors need to manage. To do all that work – communicating with everyone involved in the audit, confirming test results, gathering evidence- is nearly impossible to do with spreadsheets, emails, and manual processes. In the modern era, you need a dedicated tool to manage your SOC 2 audit.

ZenComply is a compliance tool that can help. It can streamline your compliance procedures by automating those laborious, manual tasks. You could also speed up self-assessments with its compliance templates. ZenComply’s simple, unified dashboard offers a comprehensive picture of all your compliance frameworks, identifying gaps in your programs and outlining solutions.

Depending on your particular needs, compliance officers can monitor non-compliance risks in real time in a rapid, simple, and dynamic manner. Even better: ZenComply stores and arranges all relevant documents, making it simple to find them when the time comes for your audit.

Why would you try to manage a SOC 2 audit on your own? By taking the risk out of risk management and compliance, ZenComply helps. Schedule a demo with us today to start your worry-free path to compliance.