How much does it cost to get SOC 2?
A commonly asked question about SOC 2 is “How much does a SOC 2 attestation cost?” However, there isn’t a single answer, because the cost depends on multiple factors including the size of your organization and the tools in your tech stack. The total costs of a SOC 2 audit can range from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the cost can be reduced by working with a platform like TrustCloud.
In this article, we will see what specific factors influence an audit’s cost, how you can estimate the expense, the cost breakdown, and how you can lower this expense with the help of Trust Assurance, the next generation of compliance automation.
Curious what it costs to work with TrustCloud? We’re proud of our pricing transparency. Visit our pricing page here.
Firstly, understand that SOC 2 (System and Organization Controls 2) is a framework and audit standard used to assess and report on the controls and practices related to data security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy within service organizations. It helps organizations demonstrate their commitment to protecting sensitive information and provides transparency to customers and partners. It is designed to assess and report on the controls and practices related to the security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of customer data and information within service organizations. SOC 2 reports are essential for organizations that provide services to other businesses and handle sensitive data.
Costs to consider for a SOC 2 attestation
Consider SOC 2 compliance as an investment in your organization’s future, and just like any other investment, it requires a significant amount of time, effort, and money. SOC 2 reports provide details on information security controls at a service organization, and they are provided by a licensed CPA firm. These controls are divided into five Trust Service Categories: Security, Availability, Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy.
The cost of obtaining a SOC 2 (System and Organization Controls 2) attestation depends on several factors, including the size and complexity of your organization, the scope of the audit, the chosen audit firm, and the current state of your security and compliance measures. Here are some factors that can influence the cost:
- Scope and Complexity: If your organization’s systems and processes are complex, it will require more effort to assess and audit them. A larger scope and more intricate systems will generally result in higher costs.
- Trust Service Criteria: The number of in-scope Trust Service Criteria defines the overall scope. The cost of the audit will differ based on the number of Trust Service Criteria in scope. In general, the Security Trust Service Criteria is the most common, because it’s mandatory, but as you add more scope such as Privacy, or Confidentiality, the price might increase.
- Type of Audit: There are two kinds of SOC 2 audits: Type I and Type II. Type I reports on the design and existence of controls at a specific point in time, while Type II reports on the effectiveness of controls over a period of time (typically six months or more). Type II audits are generally more expensive due to their longer duration.
- Audit Firm and Consultants: The choice of audit firm can significantly impact the cost. Well experienced firms charge higher fees, but they may provide more comprehensive and reputable services. You need to find a balance between cost and quality. Sometimes organizations hire consultants or compliance experts to help them navigate the SOC 2 attestation process. These services come with their own costs.
- Preparation Costs: Before undergoing a SOC 2 audit, your organization will need to invest time and resources in preparing for the audit. This includes implementing security controls, documenting policies and procedures, and ensuring compliance with the Trust Services Criteria (TSC) specified in the SOC 2 framework.
- Reassessment Costs: SOC 2 attestation is not a one-time effort; it requires ongoing annual monitoring and assessment. There will be costs associated with regular reassessments and audits to maintain the attestation.
- Geographic Location: The cost of services can also vary depending on your geographic location. Major cities and regions with a high cost of living may have higher service fees. It’s essential to obtain quotes from multiple audit firms and discuss your specific needs with them to get a better understanding of the potential costs involved.
- Other Costs of SOC 2: The following costs are also important to consider when estimating the overall SOC 2 cost:
- Cost of Lost Productivity: It is likely that your team members will be involved in SOC 2 process; they may have to spare time with auditors apart from their everyday tasks.
- Staff Training: SOC 2 emphasizes the security training of staff, which may require additional time or fees.
- Security Tools: You may consider investing in new security tools to reach compliance, improving your overall security posture. Here’s a list of commonly used tools.
- Legal fees: Bear in mind any legal fees associated with the review of your existing legal agreements, like Contractor, Employment, Vendor or Customer agreements, etc.
It’s also important to keep in mind that achieving SOC 2 compliance is an ongoing process, not just a one-time expense, as you will need to maintain your security and compliance controls to meet the attestation’s requirements.
The SOC 2 attestation cost breakdown
The costs associated with SOC 2 attestation are an investment in data security, customer trust, and revenue growth, and organizations often find that the benefits outweigh the costs. Here is breakdown of the associated costs:
Lowering The Cost of SOC 2 Audits With Automation & Assurance
Automation can save organizations a tremendous amount of money and hundreds of hours spent preparing and completing a SOC 2 audit. A Trust Assurance platform like TrustCloud goes beyond automation to create a more secure, dynamic and streamlined experience. Here’s a summary of the benefits including TrustCloud in your SOC 2 journey:
- Save time with automated evidence collection and control verification, dynamic policy recommendations and programmatic mapping to a common control framework
- Create a more secure environment by allowing an auditor to view your program and evidence in your compliance platform, rather than emailing screenshots and attachments
- Increase confidence in your compliance program with automated data-to-control mapping and policy governance to ensure evidence always fulfills the requirements.
- Avoid repetitive manual work by leveraging a common control framework to map once and adhere to many standards
- Stop emailing colleagues for evidence, and find all the information you need in a single platform
- Eliminate or dramatically reduce the fees associated with consultants, internal resources, and the cost of the audit itself.
Working with a TrustCloud Audit Partner is a great way to ensure a reliable audit experience, and may include reduced rates. Find a list of our audit partners here.
Frequently asked questions
How much does a SOC 2 audit typically cost?
The cost of a SOC 2 audit can vary widely based on factors such as whether you use a platform like TrustCloud, the audit firm, the audit’s scope, and the complexity of your organization’s systems. Costs can range from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands or more.
What are the main factors that influence the cost of a SOC 2 audit?
The primary factors include the type of audit (Type I or Type II), the scope of the audit, the size and reputation of the audit firm, the location of your organization, and the level of preparation required.
Is there a significant cost difference between Type I and Type II audits?
Yes, Type II audits, which assess the effectiveness of controls over a period of time, are generally more expensive than Type I audits, which focus on control design and existence at a specific point in time.
Are there ongoing costs associated with SOC 2 compliance after the initial audit?
Yes, SOC 2 compliance is an ongoing effort that requires continuous monitoring, maintenance of controls, and periodic reassessments. Ongoing costs may include annual audits, monitoring tools, and employee training.
Are there any hidden costs associated with SOC 2 compliance?
While audit fees and preparation costs are the most visible expenses, organizations should also budget for potential costs related to technology investments, third-party vendor assessments, legal fees, and incident response planning. Here’s a list of applications commonly used by firms achieving SOC 2 compliance.
Can we reduce SOC 2 compliance costs by using in-house resources exclusively?
While using in-house resources can reduce some costs, it may not be practical for all organizations. In-house expertise is essential, but many organizations also benefit from external consultants and audit firms to ensure compliance.
Is SOC 2 attestation worth the investment?
The value of SOC 2 attestation goes beyond compliance; it can enhance customer trust, attract new business, and demonstrate a commitment to data security. For many companies, passing a SOC 2 audit is required to win business from larger customers. Organizations often find that the benefits outweigh the costs.
How can we get an accurate estimate of SOC 2 compliance costs for our organization?
To get an accurate estimate, consult with multiple audit firms, discuss your specific needs with them, and conduct a detailed cost analysis based on your organization’s unique situation.
Are there any cost-saving strategies for SOC 2 compliance?
Some cost-saving strategies include effective preparation and documentation, using compliance management software, and selecting the right audit firm with experience in your industry.
Can we negotiate audit fees with the chosen audit firm?
It’s possible to negotiate audit fees to some extent, especially if you have multiple audit firms to choose from. For example, TrustCloud audit partners offer discounts to TrustCloud customers. See a list of our audit partners here.