SOC 2 Type I vs. Type II

March 10, 2020


“My company is getting a SOC 2. Should we do a SOC 2 Type I or a SOC 2 Type II audit?”

Congratulations! Your company must be growing, and potential clients are interested in how you handle their data. A SOC 2 audit is an independent, third-party assessment of your security practices, and it can be a great way to grow your business and assure larger customers of your security.

Before you can undergo the SOC 2 audit, you need to make another choice: a Type I or Type II audit?

“Vanta's expert team helped analyze our compliance requirements and shared what was needed to complete a SAQ-D. Because of this, we accelerated our timelines, saved hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in costs.”

Klas Hesselman
Co-founder  |  Flow Networks

Comparing Type I and a Type II reports

You’ll want to consider three categories – speed, strength, and cost – for your choice:

Type I
Collect data for one day
Shows you understand the necessary security procedures
If you start with a Type I, you may need to undergo a Type II as well
Type II
Collect data for 3-12 months
Shows you follow the necessary security procedures
You’re likely to eventually need a Type II

  1. Speed with which you’d like the SOC 2 completed.

If you need your SOC 2 fast, a Type I is likely a better choice, as you’ll receive a report 1-2 months after you’re audit-ready. If there is less urgency, you may choose to skip a Type I and go straight to a Type II.

  1. Strength of the reporting outcomes and how they will serve your company.

A Type I report shows that you understand the necessary security procedures. The Type I report is issued as of a specific date and represents an auditor’s review and approval of your systems at that moment in time. It’s like your auditor saying, “I checked the company’s security controls on September 30, and everything looked good.”

A Type II report shows not only that you understand the necessary security procedures, but that you follow them over a period of time. A Type II report is like your auditor saying, “I checked the company’s security controls many times between September 30 and March 30, and everything looked reasonable.” This type of systems review results in audit yields a stronger and more trustworthy report.

  1. Cost of the report to your company.

If you start with a Type I report, you may need a Type II report as well — which is an additional cost. As noted above, you don’t need to conduct both Type I and Type II audits in the same year. If a Type II is your goal, it is likely more cost-effective to go straight to it and avoid the cost of the Type I.

Deciding on Type I or Type II for your SOC 2 audit

As you choose between a Type I or a Type II report, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is our company’s SOC 2 compliance urgent?
  • What level of reporting strength are we seeking to demonstrate?
  • Will we eventually need a Type II report?  

If your company is required to demonstrate its SOC 2 compliance, you may find overall that a Type II report serves you better. The Type II report is the stronger of the two, demonstrating that your security processes and procedures were in place and effective for months.

However, if it’s urgent that you demonstrate SOC 2 compliance, you may choose to produce a Type I report. And if you choose a Type I report, know you may need to undergo a Type II audit in the future.

Vanta can help walk you through this decision-making process as you determine which SOC 2 report type is best for your company and your customers. Vanta is “security in a box” for technology companies — a suite of interconnected tools conforming to the SOC 2 standard. We connect to your company’s software, admin, and security systems to continuously monitor your systems and services, and we help you close any gaps in your security implementation so you can achieve SOC 2 compliance — whether its the Type I or Type II report that best suits your company’s needs.

Vanta automates security compliance.
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