What does a SOC 2 audit cost?

March 10, 2020

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.

“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

Type I versus Type II

An additional factor for both cost and time is whether you choose to pursue a SOC 2 Type I or a Type II. A Type I report is issued on a specific date and represents an auditor’s review and approval of your systems at that moment in time; a Type II report shows not only that you understand the necessary security procedures, but that you follow them over a period of several months. 

A Type I is obviously faster than a Type II. But it’s worth noting that if you start with a SOC 2 Type I, you’ll likely also need to get a SOC 2 Type II report at some point, since many enterprise customers require the stronger Type II report. 

If a SOC 2 Type II is your goal, it is usually more cost-effective to start there and avoid the cost of the Type I.

How is a SOC 2 audit different with Vanta?

Vanta automates much of the prep work for a SOC 2 audit, saving both time spent on collecting evidence and money spent on hiring security consultants to perform readiness assessments, customize controls, and write security policies. 

With Vanta, startups can be prepared for a SOC 2 audit in as little as two weeks. And because Vanta’s continuous monitoring takes a lot of the guesswork out of obtaining a Type II, our customers often opt to forego a Type I — ultimately saving them money while presenting a stronger security posture to their customers.

 Vanta also simplifies the audit for auditors, meaning your audit fee will be lower. With Vanta, you can expect to pay approximately $10K to $30K+ for the audit, depending on company size.

Here is how we do it:

Vanta’s dashboard tracks audit readiness

The core of Vanta’s product is a dashboard that provides an up-to-date view on security practices across your company. You’ll have instant feedback on what’s looking good — and what could be touched up. By the time you speak with an auditor, your systems will be airtight. 

Vanta eliminates the need for a readiness assessment, since Vanta’s monitoring and alerting replaces those spreadsheets.

‍Vanta offers tools to close security gaps

Every company needs to change something before their audit, from writing down de facto policies to changing AWS or GCP configurations. Vanta offers tools and guidance, like policy documents, laptop monitoring, and vulnerability management, that help companies close gaps faster.

Vanta allows your company to spend less time with the auditor

Your auditor will have access to Vanta ahead of time and will understand your system. This limits the back-and-forth required, and allows your team to answer specific questions from the auditor, rather than needing to bring the auditor up to speed on every detail of your system.

Security and compliance become continuous operations running in the background

What used to be a costly and time-consuming process of proving system configuration over time is transformed into an automated background process supporting your business — saving you time and money in comparison with typical SOC 2 audit processes.

Vanta is trusted by over 800 companies for their SOC 2 preparation and more. Vanta provides a set of automated security and compliance tools that scan, verify, and secure a company’s IT systems and processes. Our cloud-based technology identifies security flaws and privacy gaps in a company’s security posture, providing a comprehensive view across cloud infrastructure, endpoints, corporate procedures, enterprise risk, and employee accounts. Vanta also offers a suite of tools streamlining the non-technical components of security tracking and audit preparation, so gathering and consolidating audit evidence is easier for both your company and your auditor. Ready to get started?

Vanta automates security compliance.
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