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What's the fastest way to Complete a SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2 Audit?

While speed should not be the only goal of a SOC 2 audit, it is an important consideration for almost every company planning on doing a SOC 2. Use these steps to accelerate your timeline to SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2.
Written by:
Travis Good

The below bullets summaries this post about accelerating your SOC 2 timeline:

While speed should not be the only goal of a SOC 2 audit, it is an important consideration for almost every company planning on doing a SOC 2. For the purpose of this post and the assumptions we make on timing, we imagine a startup with a functioning cybersecurity program; work has been done to assess risk and create mitigating strategies and controls. There are gaps between the cybersecurity program and SOC 2 but they are minimal.

The below steps will accelerate your path to SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2. Also, we’ve highlighted the time to DIY vs leverage Workstreet as a vCISO.

Pick the owner

One of the first steps in speeding up the SOC 2 audit process is to designate a responsible individual or team within your organization. This person or team should have a deep understanding of your company's operations, security practices, and overall risk management strategy. They will be responsible for overseeing the entire audit process, coordinating with external auditors, and ensuring that all necessary documentation and evidence is collected and organized in a timely manner. By having a dedicated owner, you can streamline communication and decision-making, ultimately accelerating the process.

If you don’t have a dedicated owner and don’t want to add something to peoples plates, hire a fractional vCISO like Workstreet. We have experience, can own SOC 2 from start to finish, require zero onboarding, and are less than an

πŸ‡ Total Time (with Workstreet): 0 days

🐒 Total Time (without Workstreet): 1-2 weeks

Choose Your Auditing Firm

Selecting the right auditing firm is crucial for a smooth and efficient SOC 2 audit process. Most companies wait until they are ready to start a SOC 2 audit to hire an auditing firm. This is wrong. Choosing early will accelerate your path through all the following steps and should not cost any more than if you choose your auditing firm later in the process.

To choose the best fit for your organization, consider the following factors:

  1. Reputation and experience: Look for a firm with a strong track record and experience in conducting SOC 2 audits for companies similar to yours in size and industry.
  2. Communication and responsiveness: Choose a firm that is easy to communicate with and responsive to your needs, as this will facilitate a more efficient audit process.
  3. Fees and pricing structure: Compare the fees and pricing structures of different auditing firms to ensure you're getting the best value for your money.
  4. Availability and timeline: Make sure the firm can accommodate your desired timeline for completing the SOC 2 audit.

Once you've selected an auditing firm, establish a clear line of communication and set expectations to ensure a smooth and efficient audit process.

We have relationships and experience with auditing firms. And these firms know and trust our work. We can get you onboarded with a great auditor in a day.

πŸ‡ Total Time (with Workstreet): 1-2 days

🐒 Total Time (without Workstreet): 2-4 weeks

Start with an compliance evidence platform

A platform like Drata or Vanta is a great starting point. These platforms automate much of the compliance evidence collection process, saving you time and effort. They provide a centralized location for managing and tracking all required documentation, making it easier to identify gaps and areas that need improvement. Additionally, these platforms often come with pre-built templates and checklists, which can help ensure that you're covering all necessary areas for SOC 2 compliance. By leveraging a compliance evidence platform, you can significantly reduce the time spent on manual tasks and focus on addressing any identified gaps in your cybersecurity program.

We are intimately familiar with compliance platforms like Drata and Vanta so can be up and running in no time because we’re already trained and experienced.

πŸ‡ Total Time (with Workstreet): 0 days

🐒 Total Time (without Workstreet): 1-4 weeks

Scope SOC 2 appropriately

The controls chosen should be relevant to company size, operations, and risk. To scope your SOC 2 audit appropriately, consider the following steps:

  1. Identify the specific Trust Services Criteria (TSC) relevant to your organization. These may include security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.
  2. Determine which systems, processes, and data are in scope for the audit. Focus on those that are critical to your business and have a direct impact on the TSC.
  3. Engage with stakeholders across your conpany to ensure alignment on the scope and objectives of the audit.
  4. Work with your external auditor to confirm that your chosen scope is appropriate and meets their expectations. This is extremely important. Engage with an external auditor early.

By scoping your SOC 2 audit effectively, you can reduce the time and resources required to achieve compliance while maintaining a strong focus on the most important aspects of your cybersecurity program.

We’ve scoped SOC 2 for startups many times. We know what makes sense for different kinds of startups operating in different industries.

πŸ‡ Total Time (with Workstreet): 0-2 days

🐒 Total Time (without Workstreet): 1-4 weeks

Do a gap assessment

Before diving into the actual audit, it's crucial to conduct a gap assessment to identify areas where your organization's cybersecurity program may not align with SOC 2 requirements. Follow these steps for an effective gap assessment:

  1. Review the selected Trust Services Criteria and compare them against your organization's current security practices.
  2. Identify any gaps or areas where additional controls, processes, or documentation may be needed.
  3. Develop a plan to address the identified gaps, including timelines and resources required.
  4. Communicate the plan to relevant stakeholders and ensure their buy-in for the necessary changes.

By conducting a thorough gap assessment, you can proactively address any discrepancies in your cybersecurity program, making the audit process smoother and more efficient. Platforms like Drata can help to automate much of this process for you.

At Workstreet, we can often get this done in under a day if we have minimal resources and support from your side to clarify things.

πŸ‡ Total Time (with Workstreet): 1-5 days

🐒 Total Time (without Workstreet): 1-4 weeks

SOC 2 Type 1

After completing the gap assessment and addressing any identified issues, it's time to move forward with the SOC 2 Type 1 audit. This stage focuses on the design and implementation of your organization's controls, as well as their effectiveness at a specific point in time. To ensure a smooth and efficient Type 1 audit, follow these steps:

  1. Collaborate with your external auditor to schedule the audit and establish timelines for completion.
  2. Prepare and organize all necessary documentation, including policies, procedures, and evidence of control implementation.
  3. Conduct internal reviews to ensure that all controls are operating effectively and that any identified gaps have been addressed.
  4. Work closely with your external auditor throughout the audit process, providing timely responses to any requests for additional information or clarification.

By being well-prepared and proactive during the SOC 2 Type 1 audit, you can expedite the process and set the stage for a successful transition to the Type 2 audit.

Our experience with auditors speeds this up considerably.

πŸ‡ Total Time (with Workstreet): 1 week

🐒 Total Time (without Workstreet): 1-2 weeks

SOC 2 Type 2 Assessment Period

Following the successful completion of the SOC 2 Type 1 audit, it's time to begin the SOC 2 Type 2 assessment period. This stage focuses on evaluating the operating effectiveness of your organization's controls over a specified period, typically six months to a year. To ensure a successful and efficient Type 2 assessment period, consider the following steps:

  1. Maintain ongoing monitoring and documentation of your controls throughout the assessment period, as this will be crucial evidence for your external auditor.
  2. Regularly review and update your policies and procedures to ensure they remain relevant and effective.
  3. Conduct periodic internal audits or control assessments to identify any areas that may require improvement or adjustment.
  4. Address any issues or gaps identified during the assessment period promptly and document the actions taken.
  5. Keep open lines of communication with your external auditor, providing updates on any significant changes or events that may impact your SOC 2 compliance.

By actively managing your cybersecurity program and controls during the SOC 2 Type 2 assessment period, you can demonstrate the ongoing effectiveness of your organization's security measures and pave the way for a successful Type 2 audit.πŸ‡ Total Time (with Workstreet): 3-12 months

🐒 Total Time (without Workstreet): 3-12 months

SOC 2 Type 2 Audit

Once the Type 2 assessment period is complete, it's time to move forward with the SOC 2 Type 2 audit. This stage involves your external auditor reviewing the evidence collected during the assessment period and evaluating the operating effectiveness of your controls. To ensure a smooth and efficient Type 2 audit, follow these steps:

  1. Collaborate with your external auditor to schedule the audit and establish timelines for completion.
  2. Provide all necessary documentation, including evidence of control effectiveness and any changes or updates made during the assessment period.
  3. Respond promptly to any requests for additional information or clarification from your external auditor.
  4. Review the draft report provided by your external auditor, addressing any concerns or discrepancies identified.

By being well-prepared and proactive during the SOC 2 Type 2 audit, you can expedite the process and achieve compliance in a timely manner.

We know auditors and we know SOC 2 audits so Workstreet as your vCISO will cut this time in half.

πŸ‡ Total Time (with Workstreet): 5-10 days

🐒 Total Time (without Workstreet): 1-4 weeks

How long does this all take?

For everybody that skipped to the end to find the lead we buried, the timelines are below:

πŸ‡ Total SOC 2 Time (with Workstreet): 3.5-13 months

🐒 Total SOC 2 Time (without Workstreet): 5-18 monthsWhile following the steps outlined in this guide and being proactive in addressing gaps and maintaining controls, you can significantly accelerate the timeline and achieve SOC 2 compliance more quickly. Or, alternatively, you can hire Workstreet as your vCISO and accelerate your timeline to SOC 2 Type 1 and SOC 2 Type 2 reports by 30%-45%.

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