Workstreet now supports ISO 42001 compliance → Learn more
July 5, 2024

Eight Steps to a Seamless SOC 2 Audit

Workstreet offers an eight-step guide to streamline SOC 2 audits, highlighting the importance of scoping, policy creation, personnel organization, and more.
Written by:
Ross Van Wyk
Header image

Eight Steps to a Seamless SOC 2 Audit

The Workstreet team has supported thousands of companies through the SOC 2 process. We won’t sugar coat it, without prior experience, preparing for a SOC 2 audit is difficult and time consuming. Though, with the right guidance, it’s manageable. Compliance platforms like Vanta have changed the game of how we achieve and maintain SOC 2 compliance, simplifying the process with automation; however, there’s still a significant amount of work to do in order to get to compliant. Here are the steps and what needs to be done in order to get through a seamless SOC 2 audit. 

1. SOC 2 Scoping

A proper SOC 2 scope ensures you commit to relevant controls and requirements that are specific to your business. Scoping includes identifying the relevant Trust Service Criteria tailored to your company’s needs, inventorying key stakeholders and systems, ensuring all essential components are accounted for, and fully aligned with your audit goals.  

What You Need to Do:

  • Define the boundaries of the audit.
  • Select which of the five Trust Service Criteria (TSC) to include, Security is required.
  • Determine the relevant tests and controls for your business and technology.
  • Identify which employees and / or contractors and systems to include.

2. Policy Creation, Approval, and Assignment

Policies are the foundation of your SOC 2 compliance program and should establish the north star for security measures within your organization. It’s important to only include procedures in your policies that you’re committed to upholding. Leveraging templates on Vanta is a great starting point, but an experienced vCISO can help you “right-size” your policies and procedures to your company, workflows, and specific SOC 2 scope. 

What You Need to Do:

  • Draft comprehensive security policies.
  • Facilitate the review and approval process with members of your team.
  • Assign ownership to relevant personnel.

3. Load Personnel, Create Groups, and Checklists

You’ll load employees and in-scope contractors into the Vanta platform by connecting your identity provider, most commonly Google or Microsoft. This enables you to create Groups of employees such as FTEs, contractors, engineers, etc.. Checklists are a feature in Vanta that allow assignment of compliance tasks to employees. This is an important step that includes employee policy acknowledgment, training, and computer setup. These should be customized to your specific SOC 2 policies and procedures. 

What You Need to Do:

  • Connect your identity provider.
  • Identify and assign necessary Full-Time Employees and contractors.
  • Ensure all team members understand their role.
  • Develop detailed checklists for all audit preparation steps.
  • Include deadlines, milestones, and documentation requirements.

4. Conduct Risk Assessment

For your SOC 2 audit, you typically need to identify and assess at least 10 risk scenarios. These scenarios should cover a range of potential risks and vulnerabilities relevant to your organization's operations and data handling processes. For SOC 2, at least one risk scenario needs to fall under the Fraud category. Identifying and prioritizing these risks is the first step in developing effective mitigation strategies and demonstrates your commitment to security and compliance during the audit process. While the Vanta platform makes selecting the risk scenarios much easier, a vCISO will conduct the assessment and create the mitigation plans you need. 

What You Need to Do:

  • Evaluate your current security posture.
  • Identify and prioritize 10 relevant risk scenarios.
  • Create a mitigation strategy and document your plan.

5. Complete System Description

A thorough system description is a key aspect of your audits as it outlines your organization's infrastructure, data flow, and security controls, providing auditors with essential insights. This document enables auditors to evaluate the effectiveness of your security measures, ensuring compliance with SOC 2 requirements and pinpointing potential risks efficiently. This is a critical document that if done correctly, eliminates friction from the audit process. An experienced vCISO can craft this document for you in a way that an auditor will expect to see it, resulting in a seamless process.   

What You Need to Do:

  • Document the architecture and data flow of your systems.
  • Describe security measures and controls in place.

6. Evidence Document Creation and Mapping

You will be required to gather evidence from various sources, such as policies, procedures, system logs, and other document repositories. With Vanta, there are 300+ integrations that automate a large portion of this, however, manual collection will still be required. Collecting the proper evidence and aligning with relevant controls is the major workstream in this process. This process helps auditors verify that your organization meets the specified criteria and provides transparency regarding your compliance efforts. 

What You Need to Do:

  • Collect and organize documentation to demonstrate compliance.
  • Map evidence to the relevant Trust Service Criteria.

7. Penetration Testing (Pentest)

SOC 2 doesn’t explicitly require a penetration test, however, it’s often expected by your customers and partners. A SOC 2 pentest will identify and exploit system vulnerabilities. Following the test, detailed reports are compiled which highlight any security weaknesses uncovered. After remediation, a retest should be done, and that final report can be included for your SOC 2 audit.

What You Need to Do:

  • Define the test boundaries and objectives.
  • Attempt to exploit vulnerabilities using penetration tools and techniques.
  • Document vulnerabilities and remediation recommendations.

8. Tabletop Disaster Recovery & Incident Response Test

Disaster scenarios must be simulated to assess the efficacy of your response plans. The objective is to evaluate how well your organization can manage and recover from potential disasters or disruptions. By conducting these simulations, you can gauge the effectiveness of your disaster recovery procedures and make any necessary adjustments to enhance preparedness and resilience.

What You Need to Do:

  • Simulate disaster scenarios to test your response plans.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of disaster recovery procedures.
  • Assess your ability to detect, respond to, and recover from incidents.


Preparing for a SOC 2 audit involves a lot of steps to align your company with the scope of your audit and collect and map the necessary evidence for all in-scope controls. By following the process outlined in this comprehensive guide, you ensure you’re well-prepared for a seamless audit.

However, time is of the essence, which is why Workstreet offers a unique solution. With our expertise and efficient processes, we can complete all the necessary tasks outlined in this guide in just 14 days with our HYPER SOC 2 program. Partnering with Workstreet means gaining instant access to years of experience from conducting thousands of SOC 2 audits. Let us handle the entire process for you, ensuring thorough preparation and compliance with SOC 2 standards without the stress and hassle.

Intersted in working with Workstreet? Reach out to us here.