What’s The Difference Between SOC 2 Type I and Type II?

The difference between a SOC 2 Type I audit and a SOC 2 Type II audit is how the controls are evaluated – at a single point in time, or over a period of time. This decision can be driven by budget, timing, resources available, and what customers are asking for. 

As you get ready to begin your SOC 2 audit, you’ll need to make a few decisions. First, you’ll have to choose an independent, accredited CPA firm, such as A-LIGN who can partner with you and help you produce your SOC 2 report smoothly and efficiently. Then you’ll have to decide which of the 5 Trust Services Criteria to include: Security, Availability, Confidentiality, Processing Integrity, and Privacy. This will determine the scope of the project and which controls will be evaluated. 

You’ll also need to decide if you conduct a SOC 2 Type I audit or a SOC 2 Type II audit. But what’s behind that decision? It’s actually not that complicated – let’s cover it here. 

Type I & Type II: Point-in-Time or Over a Duration

The difference between a SOC 2 Type I audit and a SOC 2 Type II audit is how the controls are evaluated – specifically, is your auditor going to examine them at a single point in time, or will they be evaluated over a period of time? 

SOC 2 Type I audits attest to the design and implementation of controls at a single point in time. The auditor will review evidence from your systems as it exists at a particular “moment in time” and produce a Type I report.  

SOC 2 Type II audits attest to the design, implementation and operating effectiveness of controls over a period of time, typically between 3 and 12 months. A Type II audit provides assurance that controls are not only designed and implemented, but that they operated effectively and as intended over the defined period of time. 

A SOC 2 Type II will generally provide a greater level of trust to a customer or business partner due to the increased visibility of systems in action. 

What Type of SOC 2 Audit is Right for Me?

There are a variety of factors you’ll need to consider to determine if you should proceed with a SOC 2 Type I or Type II audit, including your timing, your budget, the resources you have available, and of course what your customers or business partners are asking for. We’ve also got a number of other resources available to help you learn about SOC 2 in our SOC 2 resource library. Of course, we here at A-LIGN are happy to help you work through this question or any others you may have about the SOC 2 audit process. 

Get Ahead of Your SOC 2 Before it’s an Emergency

As a licensed CPA firm with more than 10 years of experience and thousands of completed SOC audits, we know better than anyone how to help make the SOC 2 audit experience efficient and pain-free. With A-LIGN’s white-glove treatment, you’ll see how audit planning and preparation can go a long way to grow your business. The compliance process doesn’t have to be daunting, and if you get ahead of the demand, your organization, and future customers, will ultimately benefit.   

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