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SOC 2 Type 1 vs Type 2: What’s the Difference?

Today, we’re giving you everything you need to know about SOC 2 Type 1 vs Type 2. We’ll outline the pros and cons of each audit type, what the differences are between SOC 2 type 1 and type 2 and help you determine which to pursue on your path to compliance.

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If you’re reading this, it’s probably because someone tasked you with SOC 2. Maybe it was a prospect or existing customer. Maybe it was someone on your executive team. Maybe you’ve heard about SOC 2 and you’re trying to kickstart the process now, instead of later.

Whatever the reason, you need to make a decision now, so that you can start preparing for your audit.

So let’s help you do that.

What Is SOC 2 Type 1?

SOC 2 Type 1 reports on controls governing data security and privacy at the time of your audit. It takes about 3-4 months of time, including preparation.

That said, the actual audit itself only takes a day to complete. Once you’ve received your SOC 2 Type 1 report, that’s it. You can’t get it again. If you need to prove compliance at some point in the future, you’ll need to complete a Type 2 audit.

SOC 2 Type 1 vs Type 2: Why Get SOC 2 Type 1?

SOC 2 Type 1 doesn’t take as much time to complete. It also provides a solid foundation to build your InfoSec program on (if you aren’t already implementing controls). If you’re in a rush to provide security assurance to customers (or prospects), it will probably fulfill their requirements, although you still might have to get SOC 2 Type 2.

What Is SOC 2 Type 2?

SOC 2 Type 2 looks at the same set of controls as Type 1 but reports on how effectively you maintain them over a period of 6-12 months through your policies, processes and technologies. It takes about the same amount of time to prepare for as a SOC 2 Type 1 audit.

SOC 2 Type 1 vs Type 2: Why Get SOC 2 Type 2?

Since SOC 2 Type 2 has a longer observation period, it’s far more comprehensive. And the attestation will always prove compliance, as long as you continue to maintain it. As a result, it provides excellent security assurance.

What’s the Difference Between SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2?

The SOC 2 Type 1 audit happens over the course of one day, so it’s quicker. Your auditor will only require one or two samples for each control, validating that they’ve been implemented. Once you get your Type 1 report, you can’t get it again, and it only proves compliance over a one-day period.

The SOC 2 Type 2 audit takes six to twelve months to complete. That said, it is the gold standard, which means once you get it and as long as you maintain it, you don’t need to worry about getting Type 1.

A Caveat…

For a SOC 2 Type 2 audit, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) suggests a minimum observation period of at least six months. That said, there are certain circumstances under which you can reduce your observation period.

For example, a new service offering in need of a Type 2 report may be in existence for only 3 months, as of the time that a Type 2 report is needed. In that case, the Type 2 reporting period would be only 3 months for the initial Type 2 report but would expand to a six-month reporting period for any subsequent Type 2 reports. Under that scenario, the service organization would typically disclose the reason for the three-month review period in the system description of the initial report.

Final Thoughts: SOC 2 Type 1 vs Type 2

Got questions? Still fuzzy on the differences between SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2? Feel free to get in touch with us. We’re always happy to help.

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