How Long Does a SOC 2 Audit Take?

Discover how long it takes to complete a SOC 2 audit, what can impact your timeline, and how automation can help you get and stay in compliance faster.
Richard Stevenson

by Richard Stevenson

February 17, 2023
How Much Time Should I Spend Doing SOC 2 (1)

According to Drata’s 2023 Compliance Trends Report, organizations spend, on average, 4,300 hours annually to achieve or maintain compliance. There’s no doubt that compliance tasks and audits can be intimidating, especially if you’re completing them for the first time. Planning for a SOC 2 audit, but don’t know where to start? In this post, we’ll cover how long it takes to complete a SOC 2 audit, and what elements have an impact on the timeline. 

How Long Will It Take To Complete a SOC 2 Audit?

There’s no one-size-fits-all response to how long the SOC 2 audit process will last. The time it takes to complete a SOC 2 audit can vary, depending on specific details about your organization and your needs. Here a three factors to consider: 

1.  SOC 2 Audit and Report Type

The type of audit you choose to do is the first factor that can influence the timeline. This is what you should know about each type.

SOC 2 Type 1: This is an evaluation of a company at a specific point in time by an auditor and focuses only on whether controls are suitably designed. Though there is no upper limit, preparing for a SOC 2 Type 1 report can take up to six months. SOC 2 Type 2: This looks at how well a company’s controls function over a specified period of time, usually three to 12 months. The auditor has to evaluate the operating effectiveness of controls in addition to the suitability of the design of those controls. 

Preparing for a SOC 2 Type 2 generally takes longer than a SOC 2 Type 1. In addition to the time spent preparing, by their nature, Type 2 report audits typically take at least six months, and may even take a year or longer. Learn more about the differences between these two types and the costs by reading ​​Budgeting for SOC 2: How Much Does a SOC 2 Audit Cost?

2. Organization Size and Complexity

Organization size refers to the number of employees and locations that make up your organization. The larger the organization, the more systems the auditor must review, which can take more time and effort. Keep this in mind as you start the audit process. 

3. Security Needs

Having a strong security posture is important, but this can look different across companies and industries. For example, an organization handling sensitive financial information may have stricter security requirements and more processes in place to protect its data. These security needs and systems can add to the time it takes to complete a SOC 2 audit. 

How Compliance Automation Can Shorten Your Timeline

You don’t have to manage the entire SOC 2 audit process on your own. By using automation, your team can proactively address compliance gaps and streamline the audit process to manage any request quickly, accurately, and completely. That said, it’s critical to choose your automation solution wisely and ensure that all parties know how to use it well.  Keep an eye out for these capabilities as you evaluate SOC 2 compliance automation software. 

Seamless Evidence Collection

Keeping up with complicated spreadsheets, folders full of screenshots, and other manual compliance tracking options is no easy feat. Having the ability to automatically collect evidence and generate reports takes much of the stress off your team and can speed up the path to compliance. 

Simple Employee Onboarding and Offboarding

Documentation is part of audit preparation, and it also applies to individual employees. For example, when access changes, there needs to be a process in place to document and show that. Look for a system that lets you track security training, get employees to read and sign off on procedures, and flag issues before they arise.

Auditor-Approved Security Policies

Staying on top of the latest security policies and understanding what to implement in your organization can be a challenge. The best compliance automation platform can give you a head start by providing auditor-approved security policies you can use to develop your compliance program. 

Continuous Monitoring

You need a system that will monitor your compliance continuously and alert you quickly if security is at risk. This can help your team pinpoint any requirements you fall out of compliance with and guide corrective action plans. That makes it easier to prepare for and complete a SOC 2 audit, especially if you do audits annually, following your completion of the first one.

Want to Accelerate the SOC 2 Compliance Process?

Completing a SOC 2 audit may seem overwhelming, but having the right systems and support can make all the difference. Whether you’re starting your journey to SOC 2 compliance or are looking to remain compliant, you’ll need systems in place to help you automate the process. Our platform is built for powerful automation and designed by auditors and security experts for ease of use. All to help you get audit-ready faster. Schedule some time with our team to see what Drata can do for your organization.

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Richard Stevenson
Richard Stevenson
Richard Stevenson is Manager of Compliance Advisory Services at Drata. He advises customers on building sound cybersecurity risk management programs and security policies that meet security compliance requirements. Richard is an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, CompTIA CySA+, and Shared Assessment Certified Third-Party Risk Assessor specializing in SOC 2, ISO 27001, NIST 800-53, NIST 800-171, SOX, HIPAA, third-party risk management, and enterprise risk management.

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