ISO 27001 and SOC 2 -The Comparisons

ISO 27001 is an international standard outlining the requirements for managing the security of assets such as financial information, intellectual property, employee and customer data, and third-party entrusted information. Created by the International Standards Organization, ISO 27001 also provides a guideline for Information Security Management Systems (ISMS), focusing on long-term data protection. An ISO 27001 certification signifies a significant investment in time and resources in security and provides a robust foundational building block for any organization’s security compliance program.

SOC (Service Organization Controls) is a set of standards developed by the AICPA for assessing and evaluating an organization’s control competencies. SOC for service organizations: Trust Services Criteria (also known as SOC 2 reports) are intended to meet the needs of a wide range of users who require detailed information and assurance about the controls relevant to the security, availability, and processing integrity of the systems used to process users’ data, and the confidentiality and privacy of the information processed by these systems. These reports can play a crucial role in organizational oversight, vendor management programs, internal corporate governance, risk management processes, and regulatory oversight.

There are two types of SOC 2 reports: Type 1 and Type 2.

A SOC 2 Type 1 audit provides a snapshot of the data protection measures present in an organization. The design of the controls is assessed and the implementation is confirmed, but consistent performance is not evaluated in a Type 1 report. If an organization is new to SOC 2, obtaining a SOC 2 Type 1 report is the first step.

A SOC 2 Type 2 audit addresses the operational effectiveness of controls over a specified period, such as six to twelve months. A SOC 2 Type 2 report sets a higher bar than a Type 1 report, as it not only assesses the design and implementation of control processes but also evaluates whether the controls were consistently performed during the specified period. This provides customers and business partners with greater confidence in the effectiveness of control processes.

These two security management frameworks have many similarities. Both are voluntary and designed to prove a company’s reliability in processing customer data while protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive information. The frameworks share an equally respected and revered reputation, and customers view both as viable proof of your company’s ability to protect data. In short, having a SOC 2 Type 2 report or ISO 27001 certification will enhance your brand’s reputation and help attract new customers.

You don’t have to look hard to find logistical and operational similarities between SOC 2 and ISO 27001. The frameworks share many similar security requirements, making functional implementation and evidence collection time comparable. Both frameworks also require certified third-party validation assessments and periodic reassessments.

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