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Is Your Data Secure? Consider a SOC 2 Examination or ISO 27001

February 26, 2024

While both SOC 2 and ISO 27001 address information security, they differ significantly in scope, focus and structure. Here’s what you should know.

Trust is essential to building successful relationships between entities and their third-party business associates. To build and maintain confidence in the systems and controls that protect sensitive data, users of service organizations rely heavily on SOC 2 and ISO 27001 reporting. What’s the difference between these examinations? We explore here.

SOC 2 vs. ISO 27001

SOC 2 (Service Organization Control) and ISO 27001 represent distinct and crucial frameworks in the realm of cybersecurity compliance. Developed by the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants), SOC 2 is centered around five trust service principles: Security, Privacy, Availability, Confidentiality, and Processing Integrity.

In contrast, ISO 27001 serves as the international standard for information security, mandating organizations to identify and mitigate information security risks through 114 controls across fourteen domains. While both standards address information security, they differ significantly in scope, focus, and structure.

Why should a company have a SOC 2 Examination performed?

SOC 2 reports cater to a diverse audience seeking in-depth insight into the controls at a service organization. These reports offer companies assurance that their service providers operate ethically and in compliance with established standards. Achieving SOC 2 compliance serves as tangible evidence that a company has taken proactive measures to avert data breaches. Adherence to one or more of the five trust service criteria and the associated requirements reflects adequate compliance. Typically sought by organizations managing sensitive client data, such as SaaS companies, data centers, and managed service providers, SOC 2 compliance establishes a solid foundation for trust.

Why should a company have an ISO 27001 Examination performed?

ISO 27001 comprises a set of standards guiding organizations toward robust cybersecurity practices aiming to prevent costly security breaches. This certification signals to customers, partners, and shareholders that a company has implemented measures to safeguard data in the event of a breach. Organizations adopting ISO 27001 are not required to implement all 114 controls but must document controls relevant to their identified security risks. Beyond demonstrating good security practices, ISO 27001 certification provides a competitive marketing advantage.

Similarities between SOC 2 and ISO 27001.

  1. Both frameworks instill confidence in clients regarding data protection.
  2. Thirty percent of controls for confidentiality, integrity, and availability overlap.
  3. Up to 96% of security controls for policies, processes, and technologies are shared.
  4. Both are reputable, third-party attested certifications.
  5. Build trust with vendors and assist in regulatory compliance.
  6. Facilitate evaluation of current data security practices and infrastructure.
  7. Contribute to the enhancement of data security systems.

Key Differences between SOCC 2 and ISO 27001.

  1. ISO 27001 has broader international acceptance.
  2. ISO 27001 requires proof of an operational ISMS (Information Security Management System).
  3. ISO 27001 typically demands 50-60% more time and costs than SOC 2.
  4. SOC 2 is attested by a licensed CPA firm, while an accredited registrar certifies ISO 27001.
  5. SOC 2 allows flexibility in control selection, whereas ISO 27001 is more prescriptive while still allowing customization to specific contexts.

Wondering if you should have a SOC 2 or ISO 27001 performed? Contact us.

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