SOC 2 reporting and documentation

SOC 2 report example: What’s in a SOC 2 report?

Getting a SOC 2 report can help you build trust with stakeholders, build a strong security infrastructure, and unlock deals with larger accounts that require SOC 2 compliance. But what does the final SOC 2 report look like and what does it include? 

In this article, we’ll give you a SOC 2 report example to help you get a better idea of what your SOC 2 report will look like and how to interpret it. 

What is a SOC 2 report?

A SOC 2 report is a document that details your information security controls and how they align with SOC 2 criteria. There are two types of SOC 2 reports: SOC 2 Type 1 and SOC 2 Type 2. A SOC 2 Type 1 will look at your controls at a single point in time, while a SOC 2 Type 2 will look at your controls over a period of time, usually between three to twelve months. 

How to get a SOC 2 report

To get a SOC 2 report, you’ll need to go through the SOC 2 audit process. This involves hiring a third-party auditor to investigate your information security and create a report that details your security posture and the controls you have in place to protect your organizational and customer data. 

There are several steps your team will need to do to prepare for your SOC 2 audit. Here’s an overview of what the full SOC 2 process looks like: 

  • Scope your SOC 2 report, identifying which SOC 2 criteria are relevant to you.
  • Implement the required controls and test them.
  • Hire an auditor from an AICPA-accredited firm.
  • Collect evidence and documentation
  • Undergo a SOC 2 audit and receive a SOC 2 report. 

SOC 2 report example breakdown

To help you understand what to expect from your SOC 2 report, we broken down the five key part of a SOC 2 report example:

  • Auditor’s report
  • System description
  • Management assertion
  • Description of criteria
  • Appendixes

Example SOC 2 report.

Section 1: Auditor’s report

The report from the auditor is a summary of their findings and their assessment of your organization’s verified security practices against the Trust Services Criteria. The auditor will give one of four opinions in this section that attests to your SOC 2 compliance:

  • Unqualified opinion: Your controls meet the standards within the SOC 2 framework.
  • Qualified opinion: One or more controls need attention.
  • Adverse opinion: Your controls do not meet the standards within the SOC 2 framework.
  • Disclaimer of opinion: The auditor didn’t have enough information to make a determination

Section 2: Management assertion

The next section of your SOC 2 report will be a copy of your management assertion. The management assertion is a document prepared by your organization that you’ll give to the auditor when the audit begins. It provides a summary of your information security controls and how they work.

Section 3: System description

While the management assertion is a brief summary of your system, the system description is a more in-depth overview. The system description is a document your team will also prepare.

Your system description provides a thorough view of your information security system and how it works, including:

  • System components including infrastructure and key personnel
  • Scope and requirements of your system
  • Your control frameworks
  • Any data security incidents
  • Supplemental information about your system and operations

Section 4: Description of criteria

This portion is the core of your SOC 2 report and is also the longest section of the report. This is prepared by your auditor and shows the details of their investigation into each of your controls. Your auditor will document the controls you have in place and how effective they are at protecting your customer data.

The information will appear in the form of a spreadsheet due to the level of detail required to accurately describe each control. If you’re getting a SOC 2 Type 2, this will also include findings about how well those controls performed throughout the audit period.

Section 5: Appendixes

Finally, a SOC 2 report wraps up with any additional documentation and information your auditor may deem to be relevant. For example, when any of your controls fail their tests during the audit, the auditor may ask you for a response that they can then include in this section.

Automate your SOC 2 process

The typical SOC 2 process spans approximately six months to a year, from the initial preparation of controls to the receipt of the finalized SOC 2 report. This duration is attributed to the need to identify gaps in existing controls, establish and implement security measures, conduct tests, gather supporting evidence, and hire an auditor. After securing an auditor, their evaluation process generally lasts four to six weeks. 

However, you can cut this time in half with compliance automation

With Vanta’s trust management platform, you can streamline your SOC 2 audit. Here’s what an automated SOC 2 process can look like: 

  • Connect your infrastructure to the Vanta platform with our 200+ built-in integrations.
  • Assess and reduce your risk holistically from one unified view. 
  • Identify areas of non-compliance with in-platform notifications.
  • Detect and remediate issues with curated guidance to help you make the necessary changes.
  • Automate evidence collection and centralize all your documents in one place.
  • Find a Vanta-vetted auditor within the platform and reduce your audit costs.
  • Streamline auditor workflows by providing one place for auditors to review progress, check evidence, and flag issues that may hinder your progress toward compliance. 
  • Complete your SOC 2 in half the time. 

By using Vanta, you can save your business valuable time and money during your SOC 2 audit process. Learn how you can get your SOC 2 faster by requesting a demo

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