How Long Does It Take To Get Soc 2 Compliance?

May 24, 2024

Almost 80% of U.S. consumers are concerned about how businesses handle their data. Compliance with the Systems and Organizations Controls guidelines from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants should be a priority for all enterprises that handle sensitive customer data: accountants, banking institutions, healthcare organizations, investment firms, online retailers, and SaaS developers. How long does it take to get SOC 2 compliance and what does the process involve?

How Long Does It Take To Get SOC 2 Compliance the First Time?

How long does it take to get SOC 2 compliance at first?

The length of time it takes for your organization to prepare for and complete a SOC 2 audit depends on your current cybersecurity practices and controls. For many enterprises, first-time certification takes between six weeks and six months. That said, getting a complete picture of how well your business implements cybersecurity guidelines takes time — often up to a year for full compliance.

Time Differences: SOC 2 Type 1 Audits Vs. Type 2 Audits

There are two types of SOC 2 reports. SOC Type 1 audits are shorter, focusing only on your cybersecurity implementation at the moment of the audit. They’re like a safety inspection, but for your company’s data security practices.

SOC Type 2 audits have a broader focus. They evaluate your cybersecurity compliance over a period of time. The analysis window can last from three to 12 months. This kind of audit is like an annual checkup that takes a deeper dive into your company’s overall cybersecurity health.

Generally speaking, when enterprises talk about SOC 2 compliance, they aim for SOC 2 Type 2 certification.

How Hard Is It To Get SOC 2 Compliance?

How hard is it to get SOC 2 compliance?

How long it takes to get SOC 2 compliance and how difficult it is varies by industry and organization. Some factors that affect the compliance process include:

  • How many business locations and employees you have
  • Where your organization operates (e.g., North America, Europe, or globally)
  • How complex your document flow and data storage are
  • Which record-keeping platforms you use
  • How easy it is for auditors to access relevant information
  • How long it takes your business to respond to auditor questions or records requests

A large financial services organization that manages accounting for businesses around the globe may take longer to prepare for and complete SOC 2 audits. On the other hand, an e-commerce business with few employees that keeps client data on a centralized cloud server may have an easier time fulfilling auditor requests.

What Is the Certification Process for SOC 2 Type 1?

Many enterprises start with a Type 1 audit to see how secure their current data practices are. The length of time required for a SOC 2 compliance report is shorter with this audit’s narrow focus.

1. Pre-Audit Planning

To prepare for your Type 1 audit, carefully review the SOC’s five Trust Services Criteria pillars: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. Perform an internal compliance evaluation in areas such as access control, data encryption, and vendor screening.

2. Audit Process

After adopting TSC recommendations at a foundational level — which can take several months — schedule your SOC 2 audit. Choose an experienced auditor with AICPA accreditation.

During the audit, you need to answer questions, show evidence of your data security policies, and provide copies of requested records. Auditors complete a thorough check of your cyber defenses.

How long does it take to get SOC 2 compliance once you’ve started the audit phase? Type 1 audits usually require two to six weeks.

3. Auditor Report

After finalizing your SOC 2 review, the auditor creates a detailed report that reviews:

  • Your company’s current information security practices
  • Areas where you need to improve
  • Test findings

SOC 2 reports aim to strengthen your cybersecurity practices by pointing out vulnerabilities. The key is to use what you learn to improve.

What Does a SOC 2 Type 2 Audit Involve?

With a Type 2 audit, you can choose the scope and observation window. Some businesses only want to evaluate data security practices. Others check all five TSC areas.

The minimum observation window is three months, but large organizations often set aside six months to a year. Keep in mind that longer windows are more robust but also more costly.

During this window, your AICPA-accredited auditor performs ongoing checks of your data security practices, privacy actions, and access controls. The auditor also tests TSC-related systems and keeps careful records of the results.

The auditor’s final report should have tables with specific examples of compliance or non-compliance. A SOC 2 Type 2 report shows you how your team handles data in day-to-day operations, not just on paper.

Is SOC 2 Compliance Worth the Time It Takes?

Is it worth it to get SOC 2 compliance?

Considering how long SOC 2 compliance takes, you may wonder if it’s worth the effort — especially because certification is voluntary. The benefits are significant, and they only become more important as technology advances.

SOC 2 best practices protect your company’s infrastructure and your clients’ data. They help defend against cybersecurity threats. Remember, the average cost of a data breach is a whopping $9.5 million per intrusion, far more than an annual SOC 2 audit.

Finally, displaying SOC 2 compliance generates trust in your business and strengthens your reputation. Today’s customers want to know that their data is safe in your hands.

How Can Compyl Help Your Organization With SOC 2 Compliance?

For large organizations, getting SOC 2 compliance can seem like an overwhelming ask, but it doesn’t need to be. Often, the main problem is the lack of actionable data.

Compyl is a state-of-the-art platform for information security and compliance. Its streamlined tools help enterprises with many TSC pillars:

  • Aggregating company data sets
  • Integrating with AWS, Azure, Microsoft 365, and other cloud services
  • Automating company workflows and data flows
  • Providing extensive monitoring controls and real-time access controls
  • Showing key performance indicators and progress toward SOC 2 certification goals

Put simply, Compyl fills the shoes of a virtual CISO. It enables your organization to see what protected data you process, where it goes, who has access, and how to improve data security practices.

Decrease the Time It Takes To Get SOC 2 Compliance

Use the power of technology to improve your organization’s cybersecurity framework. Reduce how long it takes to get SOC 2 compliance with automated controls, customizable workflows, and extensive monitoring tools. See Compyl’s compliance features right away.

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