What does a SOC 2 audit cost?
Understand the costs of a SOC 2: Time and money
Perhaps you’ve been asked to provide a SOC 2 as part of the sales cycle, or you anticipate you will be asked at some point (and you are probably right!). Now you’re wondering how much time and money you must budget to get certified.
The bottom line is: it will take an investment of time and money to get SOC 2 certified — but these costs can vary substantially depending on your approach. In this post, we’ll walk you through the costs and timeline of a SOC 2 both with and without automation and pave the way for you to get started.
Time investment to earn a SOC 2 without automation
There are two main phases of a SOC 2: preparing for an audit, and the audit itself.
Companies prepare for an audit by assessing their security gaps, putting security controls and practices in place, and documenting those practices. This process typically takes anywhere from one to five months, depending on the scale of the company and whether they choose to hire a security consultant to help draft policies and define controls (we’ll get into the cost considerations of this later).
During this time, engineers are often tasked with reviewing security practices, changing configurations, and gathering records for the audit (e.g. screenshotting dashboards or pulling log files). Some companies distribute this burden to other departments, but because SOC 2 focuses on technical security, engineering’s involvement is inevitable.
During the audit, an auditor will either visit your office or join your engineering team’s leadership on a video call. These office visits can take full days — even weeks for large companies — and will require dedicated time to go through your company’s security and engineering practices in detail. Your engineering team may also be asked to provide additional evidence as needed.
Financial costs of a SOC 2 audit without automation
Audit fees can vary significantly depending on the size of the company being audited, the auditor’s brand, and the complexity of the audit. Typically, the fees for a SOC 2 audit will range between $10K to $50K.
In addition to the audit fees, there are a number of variables that can change the cost of preparing for an audit. These include:
- Readiness assessment: As the name suggests, a readiness assessment helps you determine when your security practices are ready for an audit. While it’s possible to conduct a readiness assessment in-house, many companies outsource this work to a consultant. The cost of an external readiness assessment starts at $10K and scales with company size.
- Security tools: While preparing for an audit, you may need to purchase additional tools in order to bring your systems into compliance. Some examples might include software that performs employee background checks, verifies the security configurations of employee laptops (including hard drive encryption and antivirus software), or monitors vulnerabilities. These tools may cost another $10K.
- Additional audit prep: There are other tasks such as writing security policies, determining appropriate controls, and training employees that you may decide to outsource to a security consultant. These costs can be another $10K.
Between prep work and the audit itself, the total cost of achieving a SOC 2 can range from $10K to $80K or more.
Audits are typically conducted annually, which means incurring these costs each year.