Streamlining SOC 2 compliance

How to create a SOC 2 project plan

SOC 2 compliance can benefit your organization by strengthening your security posture, demonstrating trust to prospects, customers, and partners, and lead to business growth. But starting your SOC 2 compliance journey can be overwhelming. 

The first step in your SOC 2 compliance journey should be creating a SOC 2 implementation project plan. In this article, we’ll explain the key steps to creating a SOC 2 project plan.

What is a SOC 2 project plan and its benefits?

A SOC 2 project plan is your organization's outline for getting your SOC 2. This project plan will encompass the entire process from scoping your SOC 2 to an initial readiness assessment through completing an audit and receiving your SOC 2 report.

Having a project plan comes with a number of benefits:

  • Simplifies the project by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps. 
  • Provides insights you can share with stakeholders about the time and resources that your SOC 2 compliance project will require.
  • Enables you to track your progress.
  • Makes it easy to assign owners to various tasks within the larger project.

How to create a SOC 2 project plan

So, where do you start? The following steps will help you create a thorough plan for your SOC 2 compliance project and help you execute more efficiently.

Step 1: Identify the core phases of your SOC 2 compliance project

Start by laying out the primary phases of your project. These will likely include the following phases: 

  • Determine the scope for your SOC 2 report.
  • Implement the applicable SOC 2 controls.
  • Get a SOC 2 audit.

This is the foundation of your plan that provides a starting point for your SOC 2 project.

Step 2: Lay out your project steps in more depth

Now, we’ll take those initial steps and add in the tasks within each phase.

SOC 2 is based on the five Trust Services Criteria (TSC). The first trust service criteria category is security, which is required for all SOC 2 reports. The other four criteria are availability, confidentiality, processing integrity, and privacy — these controls only need to be included in your SOC 2 if they apply to the products and services your organization provides. During the scoping phase, you’ll need to determine which of these criteria and controls are applicable to you. 

During this phase, you’ll also want to decide whether you’re getting a SOC 2 Type 1 or SOC 2 Type 2. A SOC 2 Type 1 investigates your controls at a single point in time while a SOC 2 Type 2 will investigate your controls over a period of several months. 

The next phase is implementing all of the controls that are within the scope of your report. You’ll need to assess how many of these controls you already have in place and how many you need to adjust or add. The most efficient way to do this is by using an automated compliance tool, like Vanta, which can help you identify areas of non-compliance and provide you with guidance on how to fix them to achieve SOC 2 compliance. 

Finally, you’ll need to hire an auditor who will audit your security controls. This will include tasks like finding an auditor, collecting evidence and documentation ahead of your audit, and working with the auditor throughout the audit.

Step 3: Assemble your project team

Now that you know what steps you’ll need to take to get your SOC 2, you’ll need to assemble a team to execute them. You’ll need to determine who within your organization has the expertise to address each task. You may need to rely on outside resources if your team doesn’t have the right skills. This could be getting SOC 2 training for your team or bringing in a specialized consultant for certain parts of the project.

Step 4: Assign tasks and create an estimated timeline

Now you can start assigning team members to handle certain tasks and laying out a timeline for the project. Once you have an estimated timeline for each of the smaller steps, you should be able to get a timeline for the project as a whole. One way to visualize this is through a Gantt chart, which lets you schedule out tasks for each team member so you can optimize everyone’s time. 

Get started with compliance automation 

If you’re looking to secure a SOC 2 report, it’s important to have a project plan that leads to a finalized report. The average SOC 2 process takes roughly a year from the moment you start preparing the controls to when you have a completed SOC 2 report in hand. 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 built-in integrations.
  • Assess your risk holistically from one unified view.
  • Identify areas of non-compliance with in-platform notifications.
  • Get a checklist of actions to help you make the needed changes. 
  • Automate evidence collection and centralize all your documents in one place.
  • Find a Vanta-vetted auditor within the platform. 
  • Streamline reviews by giving your auditor the information in your Trust Center
  • 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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