SOC 2 Type 1 vs. Type 2

March 10, 2020

SOC 2 Type 1 vs. Type 2 know the difference

“My company is getting a SOC 2. Should we do a SOC 2 Type 1 or a SOC 2 Type 2 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 SOC 2 Type 1 or Type 1 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 SOC 2 Type 1 vs Type 2 reports

You’ll want to consider three categories – speed, strength, and cost – for your SOC 2 Type 1 vs Type 2 choice:

Speed
Strength
Cost
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 SOC 2 Type 1 is likely a better choice, as you’ll receive a report one to two months after you’re audit-ready. If there is less urgency, you may choose to skip a Type 1 and go straight to a Type 2.

2. SOC 1 Type 1 vs Type 2 strength of reporting outcome

A SOC 2 Type 1 report shows that you understand the necessary security procedures. The Type 1 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 SOC Type 2 report shows not only that you understand the necessary security procedures, but that you follow them over a period of time. A SOC Type 2 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.” Compared to the SOC Type 1 report, the SOC Type 2 report review results in an audit yield a stronger and more trustworthy report.

3. The cost of SOC 2 Type 1 vs Type 2

If you start with a SOC 2 Type 1 report, you may need a SOC 2 Type 2 report as well — which is an additional cost. As noted above, you don’t need to conduct both SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2 audits in the same year. If a SOC 2 Type 2 is your goal, it is likely more cost-effective to go straight to it and avoid the cost of the SOC 2 Type 1.

Deciding on Type 1 or Type 2 for your SOC 2 audit

As you choose between a SOC 2 Type 1 vs Type 2 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 2 report?

If your company is required to demonstrate its SOC 2 compliance, you may find overall that a Type 2 report serves you better compared to the SOC 2 Type 1 report. The Type 2 report is the stronger of the two SOC 2 Type reports, 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 one report. And if you choose a SOC 2 Type 1 report, know you may need to undergo a Type 2 audit in the future.

Getting Your SOC 2 Type 2 or Type 2 Report

Determining whether you need a SOC 2 Type 1 report or a SOC 2 Type 2 report is the critical first step of a journey that will ultimately be incredibly valuable for your organization. Once you’ve made that decision, here’s a peek at the road ahead:

  • Step 1: Identify your scope and the SOC 2 controls that are applicable to your organization.
  • Step 2: Assess your readiness by using a compliance tool that investigates your system against SOC 2 security controls based on your specific scope. This gives you a clear, detailed list of what controls you’re complying with already and a to-do list for achieving compliance.
  • Step 3: Address any gaps in compliance for the type of SOC 2 report you need.
  • Step 4: Hire a SOC 2 auditor to conduct an external audit and create the type of SOC 2 report you need.

Vanta can help walk you through the 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 it’s the Type 1 or Type 2 report that best suits your company’s needs.


Vanta automates security compliance.
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