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In Security Last updated: June 27, 2023
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Adhering to industry compliance standards like SOC 2 has become crucial for businesses in this era of security and privacy risks. 

With digital transformation, the need for cloud-hosted applications has increased many folds. 

But storing data on the web comes with risks as attackers are coming up with new ways to detect the loopholes in cloud infrastructure security and gain access to data. 

This is why there is a need to safeguard your data, especially for businesses handling financial and sensitive customer data. 

If you are compliant with SOC 2 regulations, you can better protect your data while mitigating the risks of data breaches. 

In this article, I’ll talk about what SOC 2 compliance is and introduce you to a comprehensive SOC 2 compliance checklist to help you prepare for audits. 

Let’s start!

What Is SOC 2 Compliance?

Governed and designed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), SOC 2 compliance serves as a voluntary compliance standard meant for service-based organizations. 


System and Organization Controls (SOC) 2 consists of a set of guidelines that organizations must follow to show their compliance with how they manage their customers’ data. And to prove compliance, they must produce the required reports during audits. 

SOC2 is based on the Trust Services Criteria – security, privacy, confidentiality, processing integrity, and availability of their cloud environment. So, every organization that aims to comply with this standard must implement certain procedures and service controls to ensure those criteria are met. 

Furthermore, SOC 2 ensures businesses follow the best practices to safeguard the data and handle it properly. Organizations compliant with SOC 2 compliance can show their clients how they follow the best industry security standard to secure customer data. This way, customers can stay assured that their data is secured by the organization. 

To showcase that a particular organization is SOC 2 compliant, they opt for SOC 2 compliance audits. When they successfully pass the SOC 2 compliance audit, they use the report to demonstrate that they employ the best practices and controls to secure customer data. 

Organizations belonging to financial, healthcare, education, and e-commerce industries strictly follow SOC 2 compliance to safeguard their data. Even though SOC 2 compliance is an expensive and time-consuming regulatory process, it is instrumental in retaining the trust of customers and ensuring data security and privacy.

However, when it comes to preparing for an audit and showing a business is SOC 2 compliant, you can utilize the SOC 2 compliance checklist. 

Importance of SOC 2 Compliance for Businesses


Nowadays, customers have become more sensitive about how they share their personal and financial information, looking at the rampant cyberattacks. 

So, it has become important for organizations, especially those employing cloud services, to achieve their customers’ trust by adhering to SOC 2 compliance. Here are some of the primary reasons why it is important for your organization to adhere to SOC 2 compliance.

Clearer Security Policy 

When your business achieves SOC 2 compliance, it helps them provide a detailed security policy to their clients. It also allows them to showcase that they are fully compliant with SOC 2 and are using best practices to safeguard their client’s data.

Effective Risk Management 

If a data security issue arises, it becomes easier for you to handle the situation effectively SOC 2 compliance process will ensure that your organization can manage such a situation. All the emergency procedures are clearly explained, and employees can follow all the steps of the procedure to maintain data security.

Gaining the Trust of New Customers 


With SOC 2 compliance implemented in your businesses, it helps you to gain the trust of potential customers. When your potential clients review your business proposal, SOC 2 compliance will show them that you consider data security as an important business aspect. Moreover, it showcases that you have the ability to handle all their expectations and compliance requirements.

Efficiently Respond to All Questionnaires 

It is imperative for your businesses to have SOC 2 compliance in place because it helps you to respond efficiently to all the security questionnaires from clients. If your client or customer has any data security and IT questionnaires for your business, you can effectively respond to them with all the documents you have from the SOC 2 audit.

Complete Peace of Mind

Having SOC 2 compliance in place will give you complete peace of mind that your business meets all the necessary standards to safeguard your client’s data. When you get the compliance, you can stay assured that all your security controls for safeguarding the data are working efficiently.

Proper Documentation


SOC 2 compliance requires you to have complete and accurate documentation of the security. This documentation can be utilized by the organization not only to pass the SOC 2 audit but also to help employees learn about your organization’s requirements to maintain optimum security. The documentation also shows the integrity of your organization and how every security control is vetted.

SOC 2 Compliance Checklist 

It is highly important to properly prepare your organization for SOC 2 compliance so that you can pass the standard with flying colors.

Even though AICPA doesn’t provide any official SOC 2 compliance checklist, there are some well-known steps that have helped many organizations pass the compliance standard. So, here is the SOC 2 compliance checklist that you should follow to prepare for the audit. 

#1. Determining Your Objective

Your first task before you start working towards SOC 2 compliance is to determine the purpose or requirement for the SOC 2 report. You will have to determine the main objective behind your requirement to achieve SOC 2 compliance. 


Whether you want it to improve your security posture or get an edge over your competitors, you should choose the objective properly. Even if there is no requirement from your clients, it is best to stay compliant in order to protect your customer data. Moreover, it will help you attract new customers who are verifying the company’s approach toward security.

#2. Identify SOC 2 Report Type

In this step, determine the type of SOC 2 report you need, as they come in Type 1 and Type 2 variations. Depending upon your security needs, customer requirements, or business workflows, choose the type of SOC 2 report. 

  • SOC 2 Type 1 report showcases that all your internal controls effectively cater to the SOC 2 checklist requirement at that particular time of the audit. During a Type 1 audit, the auditors properly assess all your controls, policies, and procedure to determine that your controls are designed to cater to SOC 2 criteria. 
  • SOC 2 Type 2 report defines that all your internal controls are working effectively over a period of time to meet all the applicable SOC 2 criteria. It is a rigorous assessment process where the auditor not only checks whether the controls are suitably designed but also assesses whether the controls are operating effectively.

#3. Determine Your Scope

Determining the scope of your SOC 2 audit is a vital checklist that you should keep in mind. When you define the scope, it shows your in-depth knowledge regarding the data security of your organization. While determining the scope of your audit, you should choose the right TSC that is applicable to the type of data your business stores or transacts.


Security as a TSC is mandatory because it defines that all customer data has to be protected against unauthorized usage. 

  • If your customer requires assurance regarding the availability of information and system for their operation, you can define the scope of your audit by selecting “Availability”.
  • If you are storing sensitive information of your clients that is confidential or have non-disclosure agreements, then you should choose “Confidentiality” as a TSC. It will ensure that this data is to be completely protected to meet your client’s objective.
  • While defining scope, you can also add “Privacy” if you deal with a lot of personal information of your clients for business operations.
  • If you process and authorize a lot of vital customer operations such as payroll and financial workflow, then you should choose “Processing Integrity” in the scope.

While defining the scope, you don’t have to include all five TSCs. In general, “Availability” and “Confidentiality” are mostly included along with “Security”.

#4. Conduct Internal Risk Assessments

One of the important checklists for your SOC 2 compliance journey is conducting an internal risk mitigation and assessment. By performing the assessment, you should look for risks related to location, infosec best practices, and growth. Next, list those risks from potential vulnerability and threats. 

After the assessment, you should implement all the necessary security controls or measures to solve those risks according to the SOC 2 checklist. However, if there is any miss or lapse during the risk assessment process, then it could lead to a vulnerability that can severely hamper your SOC 2 compliance process.

#5. Perform Gap Analysis and Remediation


In this stage, conduct a gap analysis by assessing all the practices and procedures of your business. While analyzing them, you have to compare their compliance posture with SOC 2 compliance checklist and standard industry practices. 

When you perform analysis, you can identify the controls, policies, and procedures that your organization is using already and check how they cater to the SOC 2 requirements. It would help if you immediately remediated the gaps with new or modified controls that may arise during the gap analysis

Moreover, you might also have to modify the workflow and create new control documentation for gap remediation. You should include a risk rating so that you can remediate the gap according to the priority. 

Make sure you keep all the log reports, screenshots, and security processes and procedures as evidence, which you will need to produce as proof of adherence to SOC 2 compliance.

#6. Deploy Stage-Appropriate Controls

Depending upon the TSC, you select, align, and install the controls to generate reports regarding how your organization caters to SOC 2 compliance. You must install internal controls for each of the TSC criteria you opt for while defining your scope. 


Furthermore, you will need to deploy those internal controls through policies and procedures that meet all the criteria of the TSC. While implementing the internal controls, ensure they are stage appropriate. Although different organizations can implement different internal controls, they all match the SOC 2 criteria. 

For example, an organization deploys a firewall for Security, while some other organizations may implement two-factor authentication.

#7. Assess Readiness 

Perform a readiness assessment of your system with the help of an auditor, who could be from your company or an independent contractor. The auditor will help you to determine whether your business meets all the minimal SOC 2 compliance requirements before you go for the final audit. 

During the assessment, you should focus on the control matrix, auditor documentation, client cooperation, and gap analysis. Once the assessment is complete, the auditor will submit their report.

Based on the report, you should make the necessary changes and remediate all the issues and gaps by remapping. It will help you generate a report that improves your chances of achieving SOC 2 compliance.

#8. Perform SOC 2 Audit

Here comes the final part. You will need to hire a certified auditor who will perform the SOC 2 audit and provide the report. It is always best to hire an auditor who is experienced and renowned for performing an audit of your business type. The audit process not only incurs a high upfront cost but will also take a lot of time. 


The SOC 2 Type 1 audit may end quickly, but for SOC 2 Type 2 audit, it may take from one month to six months to complete. 

  • The Type 1 audit doesn’t involve any monitoring period, and the auditor only provides a snapshot of all the checks and systems of your cloud infrastructure to meet SOC 2 compliance. 
  • The time to finish the Type 2 audit depends a lot on the question the auditor will ask, the availability of reports, and the amount of correction needed. However, in general, Type 2 audits take around a minimum of three months for monitoring. 

During this period, you will have to constantly stay in touch with your auditor as you will provide evidence, answer all their questions, and find all the non-conformities. This is the reason many clients look for SOC 2 Type 2 reports, as it provides a detailed report about your infrastructure’s control and the effectiveness of the security measures.

#10. Continuous Monitoring 

Once the SOC 2 audit gets over and you’ve achieved the SOC 2 compliance report, you shouldn’t stop there. It’s just the beginning of your compliance journey, and you must perform constant monitoring to ensure continuous adherence to SOC 2 compliance and maintain data security and privacy. 

When implementing an effective continuous monitoring process, you should make sure it is scalable and doesn’t hamper productivity, collects evidence easily, and provides an alert when control is not deployed.  


Staying compliant with regulations like SOC 2 has become a necessity for businesses, SaaS vendors, and organizations working using cloud services. This helps them manage and protect customer and business data effectively. 

Achieving SOC 2 compliance for your organization is a challenging but much-needed task. It requires you to continuously monitor your controls and systems. It not only gives you an edge over your competitors but also offers data security and privacy assurance to clients and customers. 

Although the AICPA doesn’t provide any official SOC 2 compliance checklist, the above SOC 2 compliance checklist I’ve mentioned above will help you prepare for SOC 2 and increase your chances of getting success. 

You may also read about Compliance SOC 1 vs. SOC 2 vs. SOC 3.

  • Amrita Pathak
    Amrita is a freelance copywriter and content writer. She helps brands enhance their online presence by creating awesome content that connects and converts. She has completed her Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) in Aeronautical Engineering…. read more
  • Narendra Mohan Mittal

    Narendra Mohan Mittal is a Senior Digital Branding Strategist and Content Editor with over 12 years of versatile experience. He holds an M-Tech (Gold Medalist) and B-Tech (Gold Medalist) in Computer Science & Engineering.

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