Blog  Difference between SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2

Difference between SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2

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A SOC 2 audit represents a gold standard for data security and privacy. Cybersecurity procedures and systems of an organization are thoroughly evaluated during this audit. The evaluation is based on the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Trust Services Criteria, focusing on information security controls.

With cybercrime on the rise, especially for healthcare organizations and financial institutions with high stakes in data confidence, undergoing a SOC 2 audit can significantly boost an entity’s cybersecurity posture while building customer trust.

Defining SOC 2 Type 1

SOC 2 Type 1 evaluates security controls to protect an organization’s systems and customer data. As directed by the AICPA, this audit evaluates these processes at a single time instead of over a prolonged period.

The central motivation behind this is to determine whether implemented systems are effective in design for meeting specified Trust Services Criteria. The journey towards SOC 2 Type 1 certification starts with assembling a dedicated team, which typically comprises executive sponsors, department-specific team leads, authors crafting compliance documentation, and potentially a compliance consultant.

This group takes on responsibilities such as defining the scope of the application based purely on expected Trust Service Criteria.

First-time audit-takers prioritize establishing protocols that align with these regulations before taking further steps toward achieving successful Type 1 attestation.

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Defining SOC 2 Type 2

SOC 2 Type 2 assures the implementation and efficacy of an organization’s cybersecurity controls over time. This audit observes the operations for a minimum duration of six months, focusing on five trust service criteria: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

It is more comprehensive than SOC 2 Type 1 as it does not merely ascertain if organizations have relevant precautions in place but also assesses how well these controls function.

An independent auditor plays a crucial part in SOC 2 Type 2 audits. They verify that an organization’s information systems effectively uphold data security while honoring their asserted data privacy and protection commitments.

Every company dealing with customer data treasures this certification because it reassures potential partners and clients about their dedication to safeguarding sensitive information against cybercrime risks such as breaches or unauthorized access.

Henceforth, many SaaS providers obtain this compliance certificate to assert secure handling within their cloud computing providers’ data centers.

Key Differences between SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2

SOC 2 Type 1 audit is often the initial step that businesses take on their path to compliance. It evaluates whether service organizations have sufficient policies and procedures in place at a point in time – verifying not just their existence but also examining them for any potential weaknesses or gaps that may affect the security posture of customer data within their digital environments.

On the other hand, SOC 2 Type 2 is a more extensive examination used to assess whether these practices are effective over an extended period, usually six months or more. Service Organizations can portray this commitment towards ensuring customer data confidentiality by achieving SOC 2 certification, which would help them earn customer confidence regarding optimal cybersecurity measures, thereby bolstering trust in making transactions with these service providers without fear of falling victim to cybercrime instances like data breaches.

The next section delves deeper into the distinguishing features between SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2, specifically focusing on variables such as audit scope, speed, cost, reporting cadence, and report value that make each type of auditing procedure unique.

Audit Scope

The audit scope for both SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2 revolves around AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria. This forms the basis upon which the audit team interrogates controls, conducts staff interviews, performs walkthroughs, and reviews documentation.

The defined set of criteria shapes their exploration into data security systems, ensuring they align with compliance regulations like GDPR or CCPA. While maintaining consistent involvement in risk management initiatives, the auditors ultimately compile their findings without exceptions to complete an accurate SOC 2 Type report.

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Audit Speed

Understanding audit speed is vital in the selection of either SOC 2 Type 1 or Type 2. Simply put, audit speed refers to how quickly an auditor can assess and evaluate your organization’s controls for achieving compliance goals.

Generally, a SOC 2 Type 1 audit offers quicker execution since it evaluates the design of control measures at a single point in time. Conversely, SOC 2 Type 2 audits require more time as they test over a prolonged period, usually six months, assessing operating effectiveness.

The extended timeline allows auditors to gather evidence on how these security measures work overtime rather than just at one particular moment. Hence, while selecting between Types, high-growth startups or any other service organization looking for expedited results might prefer SOC 2 Type 1 due to its faster completion rate.

However, this does not diminish the significance of a comprehensive long-term analysis provided by SOC 2 Type II audits, which provide deeper insights into data security systems and continuous monitoring practices over extended periods.

Audit Cost

Organizations working towards SOC 2 Type 1 certification should understand that the costs incurred in this process can be multifaceted. The main expense is often tied to the scope and complexity of your organization as it directly dictates audit duration.

More incredible intricacy or larger scopes can require more time, escalating this significant component of overall expenses.

Reporting Cadence

The reporting cadence for SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2 audits differs critically. A specific point in time is the basis for SOC 2 Type 1’s reporting cadence. The audit might take longer and cost more, depending on various factors.

Typically, once the audit scope has been defined, it takes around two months to transition into the implementation phase for a SOC 2 Type 1 audit – this timeline directly impacts the report delivery rhythm or frequency.

On another note, SOC 2 Type 2 relies on establishing controls’ effectiveness over an extended period; hence, its reporting cadence follows a continuous monitoring approach where auditors evaluate control execution regularly.

Report Value

Stakeholders, including clients and potential investors, often request SOC 2 reports as evidence that a company is effectively managing its cybersecurity controls.

A definitive SOC 2 Type 1 report serves as an affirmation of a company’s strategies at a point in time. In contrast, a comprehensive SOC 2 Type 2 report assures ongoing reliability over a six to twelve-month period.

Both help establish credibility and build trust by demonstrating commitment to data security and compliance with industry standards.


Choosing the right SOC 2 report type for your company depends on factors such as business size, client requirements, and regulatory environments. Generally speaking, smaller organizations or those in the early stages of compliance opt for a Type 1 report.

A snapshot assessment like this should sufficiently meet their immediate needs and is faster to complete.

For more established companies that handle large amounts of customer data regularly or operate in stringent regulatory conditions (e.g., financial institutions), a SOC 2 Type 2 audit may prove beneficial.

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