Your step-by-step SOC 2 compliance checklist

Your step-by-step SOC 2 compliance checklist

A SOC 2 compliance checklist lists every step to attaining SOC 2 compliance.

SOC 2 is a well-known compliance framework that provides standards for information security and offers a verified method for evaluating and certifying your security infrastructure, helping you earn the trust of your prospects, customers, and partners. But starting your SOC 2 compliance journey can be overwhelming. 

There are several phases and steps within a SOC 2 project that you’ll need to complete to successfully get a SOC 2 report. In this article, we’ll provide you with several SOC 2 checklists to help you plan your SOC 2 compliance journey.

What is a SOC 2 compliance checklist?

A SOC 2 compliance checklist lists out everything you need to do to attain SOC 2 compliance. 

Certain steps are universal across all organizations seeking SOC 2, however some steps depend on the scope of your report, what type of report you need, and the products and services your organization provides. For example, each organization will go through the planning and preparation process, but the controls you’ll need to implement during that phase will be unique to your organization. 

To help you get started on your project, we’ve created four checklists for each phase of your SOC 2 project: preparation and planning, control implementation, completing your audit, and maintaining compliance.

1. SOC 2 preparation and planning checklist

Before you start implementing your SOC 2 security controls, use this checklist to plan and scope out your SOC 2 compliance project.

  • Determine your objectives: Identify why your organization needs a SOC 2. 
  • Learn about the Trust Services Criteria. These include Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy.
  • Determine what type of report you need: Determine if you need a point-in-time audit (SOC 2 Type 1) or if you need your controls to be evaluated over a period of time (SOC 2 Type 2). 
  • Determine your scope: Identify which of the Trust Services Criteria are relevant to your SOC 2 report.
  • Communicate internally: Establish a line of communication with internal teams who will help complete your organization's SOC 2. These are teams like human resources and administrators.
  • Conduct a readiness assessment: Determine how far you are from SOC 2 compliance.

2. SOC 2 control implementation checklist

Now that you’ve scoped your report, it’s time to start implementing the necessary security controls. Be sure to customize this checklist to your needs and the specific controls for your report. 

  • Perform a gap analysis: Identify which SOC 2 controls you already have in place and which ones you still need to implement. An automated security tool like Vanta can help you do this.
  • Identify specific controls: Based on the gaps you discovered in your analysis, create a list of controls that need to be addressed.
  • Assign owners: Put one person in charge of taking action on each control to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
  • Implement controls: Implement and test each missing control.  
  • Conduct readiness assessment: Do an initial SOC 2 readiness assessment to ensure you meet all the necessary criteria.

3. SOC 2 audit checklist

Once all the controls are implemented, you’re now ready to tackle the steps to prepare for your  SOC 2 audit.

  • Collect evidence: Gather the necessary documents and evidence that your auditor needs to conduct the audit. 
  • Hire a SOC 2 auditor: Hire an auditor from an AICPA-accredited firm.
  • Coordinate with the auditor: Provide your auditor with any additional information or documentation they need to conduct their audit. 

If you’re getting a SOC 2 Type 2 your audit process will be longer than if you’re getting a SOC 2 Type 1 and you’ll need to provide additional documentation, like a statement detailing any changes you made to your system during the audit.

4. SOC 2 maintenance checklist

After successfully getting your SOC 2, you’ll need to ensure that you can maintain your compliance long term. This checklist will help you establish a long-lasting maintenance plan.

  • Set up continuous monitoring: Use a trust management platform with continuous monitoring to screen your system for changes and gaps in your compliance.
  • Be sure your continuous monitoring tool is scalable, compiles documentation, aligns with existing workflows, notifies you when a control is missing or broken, and provides holistic visibility into your security infrastructure.

Get a customized SOC 2 checklist for your business

The checklists above can guide you through the process of reaching and maintaining SOC 2 compliance, but aren't tailored to the specific security controls for your SOC 2 report.

Use Vanta’s trust management platform to get a customized checklist that tells you exactly what step you need to take to obtain your SOC 2. Our platform can help you assess your risk holistically, identify areas of non-compliance, and provide you with a checklist of actions to help you make the needed changes. 

By using Vanta, you can simplify your SOC 2 project. Learn how you can get your SOC 2 faster by requesting a demo

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