SOC stands for System and Organization Controls. It is a procedure of auditing and certification developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). SOC 2 auditors are people or organizations that help you prepare and file a SOC 2 report. SOC report has two types – SOC 1 and SOC 2. SOC 1 concerns the internal control of a service organization over financial reporting. SOC 2 is focused on the controls relevant to operations – whether the service organization’s operations are secured and maintained to protect the integrity of customer information.
While SOC 2 is not a legal mandate, data security regulations being what they are and considering the cybercrime landscape, SOC 2 is necessary for a service organization to thrive.
Why Astra is the best in pentesting?
- We’re the only company that combines automated & manual pentest to create a one-of-a-kind pentest platform
- Vetted scans ensure zero false positives
- Our intelligent vulnerability scanner emulates hacker behavior & evolves with every pentest
- Astra’s scanner helps you shift left by integrating with your CI/CD
- Our platform helps you uncover, manage & fix vulnerabilities in one place
- Trusted by the brands you trust like Agora, Spicejet, Muthoot, Dream11, etc.
The SOC 2 certification usually takes five Trust Service Criteria into account – security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. Depending on the business, the clientele, and the standards of a certain industry vertical, all or a number of these criteria apply to a service organization.
It helps an organization understand whether the security controls put in place are effective and whether the people responsible for maintaining and enacting these security measures are performing their duty to the best effect. This makes SOC 2 a very good foundational compliance program upon which an organization can build further compliance efforts.
In this article, we will talk about SOC 2 audits and SOC 2 auditors. We will learn who needs a SOC 2 certification and why. Then we will look at 8 SOC 2 vendors that can help you achieve SOC 2 compliance.
Who needs SOC 2 compliance?
SOC 2 primarily applies to service organizations. It is often called Service Organization Controls, which is erroneous but manages to catch the essence of the certification. The following are different service organizations that need SOC 2 certification, the list is not exhaustive.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) companies
- Business intelligence and analytics companies
- Financial consultancy and accounting services
- Customer management services
- Managed IT and security service providers
Also Read: Security Audit Services: Importance, Types, Top 3 Companies
5 Reasons why you need SOC 2 compliance
- Building trust: Businesses are naturally keener to work with service providers that have SOC 2 compliance rather than those that don’t. Showing your SOC 2 compliance letter to a potential client gives you a significantly better shot at acquiring business.
- Competitive edge: You establish a discernible advantage over your competitors that do not have SOC 2 compliance.
- Security awareness: You conduct vulnerability scans and penetration testing as parts of your SOC 2 prep. These proactive security procedures help you get a grip on your company’s security posture at a point in time. You can use the insights to close the gaps and build a more secure organization.
- Compliance readiness: The security controls and measures prescribed for SOC 2 overlap with other security compliance regulations like ISO 27001 and HIPAA. By preparing for a SOC 2 audit, you build a foundation for other compliance audits as well.
- Peace of mind: It’s difficult to assign a value to peace of mind in terms of measuring the ROI for SOC 2 certification, but if you are responsible for the security of your organization and your clients, you surely understand how important it is to rest assured that your security controls are all in good shape.
Read also: Penetration testing compliance: An easy to follow guide | 10 Best Cyber Security Audit Companies [Features and Services Explained]
Here are the top 8 SOC 2 auditors at a glance
|Name of the SOC2 vendor||Services/Products Offered||Feature Highlights|
|Sprinto||SOC2 compliance preparation, evidence management||Use of automation, compliance readiness in 14 days, employee onboarding and offboarding workflows|
|Drata||Evidence collection, cyber-asset inventory,||Continuous monitoring and alerts, automated evidence collection, MDM integration for endpoint evaluation|
|Secureframe||Compliance preparation, vulnerability management||Free cyber security training, vendor onboarding workflow, evidence collection, and monitoring|
|Tugboat Logic||Audit preparedness module||Templated questionnaires for vendors, continuous monitoring of security controls|
|Vanta||Compliance automation platform||Dashboard to monitor security practices, single platform to gather employee information|
|LogicGate||Risk management platform||Risk assessment, risk mitigation|
|JupiterOne||Cyber asset management||Automated evidence collection, automated asset discovery for cloud providers|
|ZenGrc||Compliance monitoring platform||Risk scoring system, easy shift from one compliance framework to another|
What are the aspects considered for selecting these SOC 2 vendors?
The two fronts on which a good SOC 2 vendor can make a huge difference are
Evidence Management and Risk Management.
What is evidence management?
Evidence in the context of cyber security refers to any information of value held by an organization that has an investigative value.
SOC 2 auditors need to access a certain level of evidence gathered from all digital resources used by the organization under investigation and its employees. These resources would include a workspace like Microsoft 365 to cloud providers like AWS.
A tool that automates most of the process of evidence collection and ensures that no stone is unturned is the one you should look for.
What is risk management?
Risk management is concerned with assessing the security risk faced by an organization and finding ways to mitigate that risk. Many SOC 2 vendors help their clients with pre-built security policies, cyber-security training, and security control monitoring to help them achieve compliance.
Also Read: Cloud Security Audit: Everything You Need to Know
6 steps leading to a SOC 2 Compliance audit
We will not discuss these steps in too much detail, we’ll just brush up on your knowledge so that you can relate these steps to the offerings of the SOC 2 audit partners on the list and make an educated decision.
Quantifying the risk: Identifying the business assets that come under the SOC 2 audit, and the financial impact of securing those assets.
Defining the scope: The SOC 2 audits are focused on one or multiple trust service criteria as you already know. Depending on what TSCs you are targeting, the industry you are in, and the kind of results you are looking for, the scope of the SOC 2 audit is determined.
Building a compliance team: Security compliance is not a one-time event, it is like a marathon that you need to run for the entirety of the existence of your business. It is very important to create and distribute ownership of various aspects related to the SOC 2 compliance process.
Readiness assessment: This is the process of identifying areas that need work before the SOC 2 auditor is invited. This is the area where the SOC 2 vendors can make a huge difference.
Gap analysis and remediation: This is an extension of the previous step where the gaps are mitigated and the risks are taken care of. Security controls are placed, and evidence is collected to support that.
Gathering additional documentation: The SOC 2 auditor will require a lot of documentation related to security controls in place, checklists, records of employee and vendor onboarding and offboarding, and whatnot. You will receive a list of these documents and the SOC 2 vendor will help you gather them.
As a part of your SOC 2 compliance-readiness campaign, you will need a reliable pentest partner that can help you identify critical vulnerabilities and fix them. You can run compliance-specific scans with Astra’s vulnerability scanner. Getting a manual pentest done to get rid of business logic errors is also highly recommended.
Time to learn more about the top SOC 2 vendors
As you can imagine attaining a SOC 2 certification is a time-consuming endeavor involving a lot of resources and preparation. These vendors here, especially the ones offering compliance automation like Sprinto, can help you get through the process faster and reduce your headaches.
Sprinto offers an automation-driven SOC 2 compliance program that helps cloud-hosted companies to become audit-ready in a fast, error-free, and well-organized way.
Sprinto helps your organization with
- Setting up security policies
- Evidence gathering for SOC 2 audit
- Managing employee onboarding and offboarding
- Mapping your business and creating an auditable catalog of evidence
- Audit interface for seamless auditing
- Becoming compliance-ready within weeks, investing just 10-14 hours of your time
Sprinto automates all the busy work related to SOC 2 compliance and handles 100% of the requirements prior to you facing the SOC 2 auditors. You also get an audit interface that helps the SOC 2 auditor navigate through your information making the process quicker.
The following are some figures that show you the advantages of using Sprinto.
|Area of Expenditure||Without Sprinto||With Sprinto|
|Consulting/Gap assessment cost||~$10k to $30k||0|
|Additional cost of software||~$30k p.a.||~$3k p.a.|
|Auditor||~$15k to $50k||Starting at $5k per audit|
|People bandwidth||3-6 months||~14 sessions (60-90 minutes each)|
|Total||$50k to $100k + 3 months + uncertainty of audit||~$8k + Sprinto cost + 14 sessions + zero touch audit|
Drata specializes in automated evidence collection for the SOC 2 compliance audit. They help you generate an inventory of cyber assets used by your organization . You also get a significant amount of vendor integration.
The key features include
- Automated inventory creation
- Continuous monitoring capabilities – it alerts you when a system falls out of compliance.
- Mapped security controls for specific trust criteria – you can put security controls for only the SOC 2 trust criteria you want to follow.
- MDM integration for endpoint evaluation
Drata is among the strongest SOC 2 vendors when it comes to evidence collection and MDM integration, but it lacks risk assessment features.
Also Read: Choosing The Right Security Audit Company Made Easy
Secureframe is a well-managed compliance preparation platform. Once you signup for a program with Secureframe, they connect all your digital and human resources to the platform and look for vulnerabilities. Once the vulnerabilities are identified (in this case vulnerabilities that can block the SOC 2 compliance), they create a list of things to be done to mitigate the vulnerabilities.
Secureframe focuses on streamlining the SOC 2 compliance process. They provide you with a customer success manager who helps you put everything in its place.
Here are some key features
- Evidence collection
- Vendor onboarding and offboarding workflow
- SOC 2 preparedness report
- Free cyber-security training
- Continuous monitoring
- Audit interface for the auditor to access information easily.
Tugboat Logic excels in the areas of audit readiness, risk assessment, setting up security policies, and vendor integrations.
Tugboat Logic has a SOC 2 audit preparedness module that helps businesses prepare for SOC 2 attestation. They have pre-built security policies and a central system to keep track of the various security-related tasks assigned to the members of the organization.
Some useful features brought onto the table by Tugboat Logic are
- Continuous monitoring of security controls
- Vendor-security questionnaires templated for businesses
- Security controls mapped to the SOC 2 framework
- Auto-answer RFP management module that uses machine learning to answer security questions.
Vanta offers a host of compliance risk assessment products for SOC 2, HIPAA, ISO27001, GDPR, and PCI DSS. We will focus on their SOC 2- related offering.
Vanta helps you prepare for a SOC 2 audit by automating 90% of the tasks around it. The following are some features that help you with the process.
- Vanta gives you a list of security controls specific to your business.
- You get a single platform to track employee information, background, and security checks.
- They also assign you a dashboard to monitor the security practices in place at your company.
LogicGate offers a risk management platform that is specifically designed for cloud-hosted companies. Apart from various risk management programs, LogicGate has a regulatory compliance program that helps companies with overall security compliance preparedness.
Here’s what LogicGate assists you with
- Creating an inventory of regulatory controls relevant to your organization
- Assessing the major risks and penalties
- Staying up to date with the changing regulations
- Planning the regulatory change management
- Corrective action plans to mitigate current and future risks
JupiterOne is not specifically a SOC 2 vendor. The company is marketed more as a cyber asset management firm. However, it has some qualities that can help businesses in their compliance journey.
JupiterOne scans your systems and creates a graph representing the connections between different assets. It also has a powerful tool for evidence collection. Between these two features, JupiterOne can help you prepare for a SOC 2 audit.
Features at a glance
- Automated tool for evidence collection
- Thorough inventory of digital and physical assets
- Automated asset discovery for cloud providers
- Detailed view of security environments
- Supports many compliance frameworks
ZenGRC is a compliance monitoring platform by Reciprocity. Instead of being solely a SOC 2 auditor, ZenGRC is a center for multiple compliance frameworks and it makes it very easy for its clients to shift from one framework to another. ZenGRC has a powerful evidence collection tool. And while it does not come with a lot of integration options, you can use an open API to integrate the tool with other vendors.
Features at a glance
- Customizable risk assessment and scoring systems
- Risk monitoring and alert system
- Mature evidence collection tool
- Easy to shift from one compliance framework to another
A SOC 2 audit can be a challenge for any organization but getting the right SOC 2 vendor can really ease things up. When you automate a major part of the grunt work around compliance preparation, you can save a lot of time and resources. We have introduced you to the best in the business. Go ahead, check them out, and find out what works for you.
1. Are SOC 2 auditors and SOC 2 vendors the same?
Not necessarily. The primary objective of SOC to vendors is to help you prepare for a compliance audit. It may happen that a SOC 2 vendor helps you find an auditor.
2. How much time does a SOC 2 audit take?
The timeline for a SOC 2 audit is largely variable. After you have prepared for the audit, the audit may take up to a couple of months. The preparation leading to the audit is where you can save a lot of time by choosing the right vendor.
3. What is the cost of getting a SOC 2 audit?
Depending on your employee strength and the company you choose to build audit readiness, the cost may vary between $10k to $50k