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How Much Does a SOC 2 Readiness Audit Cost, and How Can You Prepare For It?

Successful organizations are very much aware of the importance of ensuring the security of their organization’s network infrastructure from hackers and cybercriminals. It is very important for organizations that store, process, or handle confidential customer data to reassess their security readiness via SOC 2 readiness assessment as the risk and high financial cost of recovering from cyberattacks are enormous.

SOC 2 readiness audit is an important process leveraged by several organizations, to demonstrate commitment and compliance with security and privacy regulations and standards. It is ideal for organizations handling sensitive and/or critical data to undergo a SOC 2 readiness assessment; hidden loopholes and weak points within corporate network infrastructure are uncovered before threat actors discover them.

Many service organizations struggle with the preparation and cost requirement for SOC 2 readiness audit.  The complexity level and scope of an environment affects the financial and time cost involved in preparing for SOC 2 audit. A successful SOC 2 readiness audit starts with developing an understanding for the purpose of an audit, and the tools that are relevant for the purpose. Additionally, a SOC 2 readiness audit covers gap assessments, threat remediation, security control testing, and other corrective measures necessary to achieve SOC 2 certification.

SOC 2 audit does the evaluation of the internal controls that the service organization has put in place. The assessment revolves around security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy in information security. In this article, we shall discuss the costs associated with a SOC 2 readiness audit; factors that influence an organization’s SOC 2 readiness level; and how to successfully prepare for a SOC 2 assessment.

WHAT IS THE COST OF A SOC 2 AUDIT?

Most organizations do not have a budget for SOC 2 audit because it is low on their list of priorities. However, Cybersecurity has become a top concern for many companies with the increase in remote working. The total cost for a SOC 2 audit varies based on the scope of the audit, the complexity of the audit, the size of the company, the number of locations, and the maturity level of the organization’s internal controls. SOC 2 audits fall into two categories: Type 1 and Type 2.  Typically, a SOC 2 Type 1 audit is less extensive and costs roughly between $10k to $60k, and a SOC 2 Type 2 audit costs $30k to $100k. The difference with a SOC 2 Type 2 audit is the extra review timeline, which often lasts between 3-12 months.

Below are some key variables that could change the overall cost for SOC 2 audit:

  • Security Tools
  • Implementation Efforts
  • Build vs Buy Decisions for New Tools
  • Team Training
  • Legal Fees and Time Spent
  • Internal Team Opportunity Cost

At GoldSky, we offer comprehensive assistance to clients who are seeking SOC 2 audit – this also includes helping small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) to understand the opportunity cost of going at it alone vs collaborating with a third party SOC 2 auditing specialist. During this process, we streamline complex and time-intensive processes using our cost-effective approach that reduces certain major expenses associated with an initial SOC 2 readiness assessment as well as those done in subsequent years.

PREPARING FOR A SOC 2 READINESS AUDIT

Adequate preparation will make the audit process run smoothly, as long as a clear objective and scope of your SOC 2 audit is determined in advance. SOC 2 readiness audit preparation is mainly to ensure the availability of all documentation that the auditor may require as soon as the audit begins.

Preparing for SOC 2 readiness audit requires established information security controls and procedures in place. Adequate audit preparation helps with cost-effectiveness as it deals with less scrutiny and achieves SOC 2 certification much quicker.

To adequately prepare for a SOC 2 readiness audit, the following steps are recommended:

  1. Review and update administrative policies and procedures: policies and standard operating procedures should be reviewed, updated, and implemented to match staff structure, technologies, and everyday workflow.
  1. Highlight the security controls you wish to evaluate: these controls may include one or all five of the TSCs, and they should be in-place across critical areas of your corporate infrastructure.
  1. Perform a mock SOC 2 readiness assessment: a mock readiness assessment will help you to understand all of the moving pieces within your computing environment, so as to under what tools will be required to make the actual assessment process efficient – this helps to inform your cost benefit analysis as well as eliminating unnecessary time wastage.
  2. Hire a certified third party SOC 2 auditor: a trusted and certified SOC 2 auditing firm that inspires confidence will guide your IT Security team through critical processes associated with detecting gaps, testing security control, and other critical procedures involved in a SOC readiness audit.

CONCLUSION

SOC 2 readiness offers a competitive advantage to service providers and helps them to face the future through risk management maturity that identifies suitable security controls that align with industry standards, remediates gaps, and validates control effectiveness. Although the federal government does not impose SOC 2 on any organization, engaging with competent SOC 2 readiness experts to conduct a readiness audit is advantageous to the integrity and reputation of your organizations.