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 the 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.   

Don’t wait. Let us help you get started with a SOC 2 readiness assessment today.