Business Sense: Expanding From SOC 2 to ISO 27001Understanding the impact and benefits of obtaining an ISO 27001 certification in addition to a SOC 2 Type 2 report, including international expansion opportunities and the overlap between the two compliance frameworks.
by Elliot Volkman
You have a SOC 2 Type 2 report and your prospects are happy with the information it conveys. In fact, your compliance journey likely started with the pursuit of a SOC 2 report because you had a large opportunity on the table, and your future customer wanted a third party to validate your security controls.
Since then, you’ve landed more enterprise customers, you’ve identified gaps in your security and compliance posture, and your sales teams are happier because they have fewer questions to answer in security questionnaires.
However, now you’re wondering what impact, if any, getting an ISO 27001:2022 certification might provide after seeing the positive results from a SOC 2 Type 2 report. The good news is that there is a short answer: Yes, you will see a positive impact. As for how, that entirely depends on aligning your compliance program with business objectives, and we’re here to shed some light on the most typical scenarios.
In addition to being recognized as one of the leading international security standards, ISO 27001 certification holds significant benefits for businesses. By obtaining this certification, your business can gain access to new markets, including the European Union and Japan. Similar to SOC 2, the primary goal of ISO 27001 is to instill confidence in customers by ensuring that your security measures align with industry standards and offer them peace of mind.
With an ISO 27001 certification, your business can enhance its reputation, establish trust with clients, and demonstrate its commitment to data security and privacy. This certification also provides a competitive advantage by setting your business apart from competitors and showcasing your dedication to protecting sensitive information.
Moreover, your voluntary pursuit of an ISO 27001 certification enables your organization to implement a robust information security management system (ISMS), which not only safeguards your data but also helps you identify and mitigate potential risks.
By adhering to this standard, you can enhance your overall security posture, minimize the likelihood of breaches, and ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your valuable assets. Further, an ISO 27001 certification can cover the ISMS that supports the operations of the entire company, or you can narrow the scope to only cover the ISMS that supports the operations underlying specific product service offerings.
For instance, if your customers are specifically inquiring about your SaaS offering, you can narrow down your certification to solely focus on the ISMS that supports the operations underlying that product.
Certification vs. Validation (Attestation)
Regardless of how many times you see SOC 2 referred to as a certification, it’s not.
SOC 2 Type 1 provides visibility of your compliance posture tagged to a single point in time. SOC 2 Type 2 expands upon this by including an assessment of controls design and operating effectiveness over a period of time which is commonly 12 months. Unlike SOC 2, successfully completing the ISO 27001 process does result in a certification.
When prospects and partners ask for documentation and visibility into your security posture, you only need to offer your ISO 27001 certification rather than a detailed resource like a SOC 2 report.
On the surface, the benefit of an ISO 27001 certification is that you have a simplified deliverable that shows a third party validated your security controls, processes, and policies rather than a document that shows how the sausage is made. However, typically this is also expanded upon by explaining what your ISMS covers and your Statement of Applicability (SoA). If not asked for outright, these two items tend to be covered in a security questionnaire.
Now you may be asking, “Ok, an ISO Cert means I can share fewer details from under the hood, but I’ll potentially still need to share them anyways. How is this better?”
Many organizations will find your ISO 27001 certification to be suitable as-is. However, compliance teams often take advantage of a Trust Center to create security and policy packages to make this information more accessible for your sales teams. It’s also further complimented by transparently displaying real-time status indicators for related controls.
In this scenario an ISO 27001 certification, combined with your existing SOC 2 Type 2 report, should be more than sufficient to speed up security reviews and help you land your next big deal.
Overlap Between SOC 2 and ISO 27001
In addition to the impact, it’s important to consider the effort required to obtain an ISO 27001 certification. If you already have a SOC 2 Type 2 report and are consistently maintaining compliance and security, it makes sense to pursue an ISO 27001 because you’re already putting in the necessary work. There is significant overlap between the two.
According to the AICPA's mapping of SOC 2 and ISO 27001, the overlap can range from 53% to as much as 90%, depending on the scope of the certification or audit being requested and the nature of your business. This means that if you already have your SOC 2 report, you’ve likely done the majority of the work it takes to get your certification.
Alternative Area of Expansion: Expanding SOC 2 TSCs
Although an ISO 27001 certification does provide value, it’s not necessary for every organization. Fortunately, another opportunity of growth and impact is already in your hands: your SOC 2 report. Typically organizations start with just the Security Trust Services Criteria (TSC) in their pursuit of the initial SOC 2 attestation; however, there are several reasons to double down.
For starters, it provides a more comprehensive and holistic view of your overall trustworthiness and reliability as a service provider. By including additional criteria such as availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy, you can demonstrate commitment to meeting a wider range of customer expectations and regulatory requirements.
This expansion can also help differentiate in the market by showcasing dedication to excellence across multiple domains of trust. Additionally, as technology and business practices evolve, expanding the trust service criteria allows companies to address emerging risks and challenges that may not be solely focused on security.
Ultimately, by broadening the scope of the SOC 2 examination, companies can provide greater assurance to their customers and stakeholders regarding the effectiveness and maturity of their internal controls and processes.
Double Down on Trust With Drata
By obtaining an ISO 27001 certification, your business can not only expand into new markets but also strengthen its security practices, gain a competitive edge, and build trust with customers. Drata can enable your team to quickly take advantage of the work you’ve already accomplished with SOC 2 and map it to ISO 27001. Learn more here or read our Beginner’s Guide to ISO 27001.