How Long Does SOC 2 Compliance Take?

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One of the most common questions we hear is: “How long does it take to get SOC 2?”

See, SOC 2 isn’t just about implementing controls. That’s the easy part. It’s also about providing documentation and evidence, and that’s the hard part. Like your high school math teacher, auditors want you to show your work, which means you need to have everything organized and easy to access. And that takes time. 

So let’s break down how long SOC 2 compliance takes and show you how much time Tugboat Logic can save you.

Establishing Where You Are and What You Need

Maybe you have a prospect who’ll only move forward with your company if you’re SOC 2 compliant. Or, you’re a small startup, and you’re proactive instead of reactive about your security. Both are valid reasons for rising to the occasion. But how complex your business is, affects how long it’ll take to get SOC 2 compliant. Also—do you need SOC 2 Type 1 or Type 2?

Wondering what the difference is between SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2? A SOC 2 Type 1 reports on controls governing data security and privacy at the time of your audit. SOC 2 Type 2 looks at the same set of controls as Type 1 but reports how effectively you maintain them over an observation period through your policies, processes, and technologies.

Will You Require Assistance?

There are a few options for tackling this project. You can DIY it or find a consultant to work with. Alternatively, you can use automation SOC 2 tools like Tugboat Logic to guide you through the process and reach the finish line faster. 

Navigating the road to compliance on your own is possible but slow and difficult. Especially if you’re not an InfoSec expert and you’re already in a time crunch. 

If you work with a consultant, they’ll need to interview you and your team to understand your business, process, and risks. Consultants can cost a pretty penny because of the manual nature of the process, and the time that takes.

The number of SaaS tools to automate compliance keeps growing, but most platforms specialize in just one or two audit areas. The areas that require the most guidance and attention to detail are left to navigate on your own. Being thrown into the deep end for the complicated stuff, the areas that significantly impact your audit report will not save you time or stress. But an end-to-end solution will.

Tugboat Logic supports and guides you through the entire audit, and everything is interconnected. You know how your GPS yells ‘RECALCULATING’ when you take a shortcut it forgot to mention? It updates your route, estimated time, and shows you any delays on the way to your destination. Tugboat Logic works similarly. You can track your progress and compliance in real-time and when you add information or make a change, all the elements connected to it, are updated. 

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SOC 2 Compliance Timeline

SOC 2 Type 1

Define the Scope

Time Without Tugboat Logic: 3-4 Weeks
Time With Tugboat Logic: 1-2 Weeks

This is the foundation of the entire process, and there’s a lot of heavy lifting. Several factors determine your scope. People, locations, policies and procedures, and technologies that interact with, or could otherwise impact, the security of your information or your customers. 

You’ll start by determining which of the five Trust Service Criteria to include in your scope. Security is mandatory but others may be required. What type of customer information you store or process, and what contractual obligations your company has with customers will influence this decision.  

You’ll also need to figure out which controls to put in place by conducting a risk assessment. This identifies risks specific to your organization and becomes your guide in implementing appropriate controls to mitigate risks you’ve identified. 

You’re looking at three to four weeks to build this foundation independently or with a consultant.

With Tugboat Logic, you get back 50% of your time. By answering the questions in our scoping survey, you’ll get a complete view of all the policies and controls you need to implement. You can have all of the heavy lifting done in one to two weeks. 

Select an Auditor

Time Without Tugboat Logic: 2-3 Weeks
Time With Tugboat Logic: 7 days or less

Selecting an auditor is a tough job, and there’s a lot to consider. The auditor works with you, even when they’re evaluating you. Some auditors prefer to use spreadsheets and emails to manage the entire audit process, while others have built their own tools or utilize platforms like Tugboat Logic. 

Keep in mind the auditor’s accreditations, specializations, experience, and reputation. Selecting an auditor can take between two to three weeks.

Tugboat Logic has a vast Partner Network to help you find an auditor in a week or less. We work closely with both boutique audit firms and The Big Four to connect you with an auditor that’s right for you. Our audit partners are familiar with our platform, are experienced in countless industries, and have solid gold reputations.

Write and/or Update Policies

Time Without Tugboat Logic: 4-6 Weeks
Time With Tugboat Logic: 1-2 Weeks

You may already have some policies in place that need minor tweaks to be passable. But there may be others that need writing from scratch. 

Do you have policies in place for:

  • Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) policy
  • Network Security Policy
  • Data Retention and Disposal

As a writer with many years under my belt, I can tell you that policy writing is not easy or glamorous. And a good ol’ copy and paste of content you find on the internet likely won’t be sufficient. So, whether it’s you or a consultant, you’re looking at four to six brain-busting weeks of wordsmithing. Longer if writer’s block hits, and that’s always a possibility.

Remember that Tugboat Logic Scope Survey from earlier? The policies and controls you need are all listed for you based on your completed survey. Just compare which controls you already have versus which ones are missing. For the missing policies, select them from our library, and if you need to, tailor them to your specific needs. You’re good to go in a week or two.

Design and Implement Controls

Often done alongside Collecting Evidence, so see below for time

Controls can be a preventative, detective, and corrective measure designed to mitigate or minimize security risks. These can be physical, procedural, technical, legal, and regulatory in nature, depending on the type of risks they are mitigating. They’re used to maintain confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your information. 

Maybe you need to put a Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) control in place to pass your audit. DIY or with a consultant, this can be complicated. 

But by using Tugboat Logic, you begin this step on day one. After completing your Scope Survey, you get a list of everything you need to do, including what controls you need and how to implement them. Compare which controls you have versus which ones are missing and use our content library to fill in any gaps.

So when you select MFA from our library, it comes with the Evidence Task for this control and tells you what, how, and when you need to collect.

Collecting Evidence 

Time Without Tugboat Logic: 6-8 Weeks
Time With Tugboat Logic: 3-4 Weeks

Evidence is everything that you hand over to the auditor. It might be a collection of links to multiple documents or various screenshots of processes. Whether it’s a spreadsheet, emails, or printouts, it’s easy to forget a file or miss something in the shuffle. 

As I mentioned, designing and implementing controls often go hand and hand with collecting evidence. So the two together take approximately six to eight weeks on your own or with a consultant.

Tugboat Logic saves you half the time! You can design and implement controls and collect your evidence in three to four weeks. We guide you through setting up all the evidence you need to collect. Equipped with Alerts, you’ll know ASAP if there are errors, where the problem is, and even how to fix it. 

And while we automate almost 90% of the entire SOC 2 process, there will always be manual evidence to collect. 

Things like:

  • HR-related tasks like background checks
  • Executive Management Review Meetings
  • Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans/Tests

There may be integration opportunities for evidence collection here, but it doesn’t mean there’s no manual action required. But we have a chrome extension that significantly speeds up the process and keeps everything organized! It attaches your manual screenshots directly to your evidence task, saving you more time and brainpower. 

The Audit

Overall Time Without Tugboat Logic: 4-6 Months
Overall Time With Tugboat Logic: 3-4 Months

The process to get to this point has been painstakingly manual (with a consultant or flying solo). Is investing four to six months of your time for a SOC 2 Type 1 audit that takes one day to complete the best use of your time?

Working with Tugboat Logic, the exact same process runs three to four months!

In our Audit Readiness Module, you can seamlessly interact with your auditor. It’s a two-way street of communication that allows auditors and teams to make requests, ask questions effectively, and your whole team has access. 

It’s important to note that a SOC 2 Type 1 is a one-time thing. Once you’ve passed, you can’t get it again. So if you need to prove compliance later, you’ll need to complete a Type 2 audit, possibly requiring you to start all over. But if you’re a Tugboat user, all your data is ready for you to build on. 

Soc 2 Type 2

A passing SOC 2 report launches you into the next phase of your business. Now you can provide security assurance to others.

Your SOC 2 Type 2 journey is longer than a SOC 2 Type 1. You need to complete all the steps listed above, which is your prep time. Then tack on an observation period. Your company’s exact observation length depends on several factors, but it’s safe to assume it will be somewhere between six to 12 months. And you’ll need to get audited annually to maintain SOC 2.

Using a consultant or another SaaS tool, you’ll start from scratch and go through the process of trying to locate where everything is. Every year.

With Tugboat Logic, all the hard work you did to get to this point is in one place, allowing you to use it for next year’s audit. All the built-in continuous compliance tools ensure that your audit renewal will take substantially less time. The process becomes easier and less costly year after year! 

How Long Does It Take to Get SOC 2?

On your own or with a consultant, your road to SOC 2 compliance can be a long one. SOC 2 Type 1/prep time for SOC 2 Type 2 will eat up four to six months, potentially more, of your time. 

The exact process with Tugboat Logic takes three to four months, helping you hit the ground running sooner. With our automation, you’ll have a clear roadmap to certification so that you can complete your SOC 2 quickly, confidently, and cost-effectively. 

How Do I Come On Board?

With over 100 years of combined experience working in security, let our team of ex-auditors and security veterans assist you on your compliance journey.

Want to find out how we’ve helped customers complete their audits 50% faster and increase sales win rates by 300%? Let’s talk. Prefer to explore our SOC 2 automation software on your own first? Kickstart your free trial here!

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