A 2024 Guide to SOC 2 Compliance Checklist

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By Muhammad Hussain

In a digital world where the majority of companies store their sensitive data in cloud environments, ticking every box on the SOC 2 Compliance checklist becomes critical for Information Security firms and service providers.

Source: Worldwide sensitive data storage in public cloud

While achieving SOC 2 compliance involves an investment, it pales compared to the potential losses incurred from a major data breach. According to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023, the global average cost of a breach reached $4.45 million, emphasizing the financial impact of successful cyberattacks.

Despite being a voluntary audit, many companies prioritize SOC 2 compliance to build clients’ trust and gain a competitive edge. Let’s explore the essential steps your company should take to fulfill the SOC 2 requirements checklist, recognizing that this effort far outweighs the consequences of a compromised data environment.

What is the SOC 2 Compliance Checklist? 

The SOC 2 Checklist helps organizations evaluate how they collect, process, store, and access customer data, ensuring its alignment with the Service Organization Control 2 (SOC 2) framework. 

This tool also helps assess vulnerability management and risk mitigation, facilitating compliance with SOC 2 requirements and showing robust controls over information security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

Advantages of Being a SOC 2 Compliant Business

The companies offering technical solutions establish customer trust by securing their scope that aligns with the AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria (TSCs) by a SOC 2 compliant report. These service organizations gain several benefits from being SOC 2 compliant:

  • Sustained Security Assurance: Confidence in the effectiveness of the security controls over time.
  • Efficient Inquiry Handling: Streamlined responses to Information technology, data security, and thorough investigation.
  • Alignment Assurance: Ensures clients that the business meets their standards and compliance requirements.
  • Competitive Edge through Security Confidence: Enhanced customer acquisition, increased sales, and a competitive edge by instilling trust in your company’s security practices, safeguarding measures, and risk mitigation strategies.

SOC 2 Compliance checklist

Preparing for a SOC 2 audit can be overwhelming for organizations, which is why we’ve outlined straightforward steps to ease the process and pave the way for obtaining a SOC 2 compliance certificate. Following is a practical checklist;

1. Define Your Goals

Kickstart your SOC compliance journey by outlining clear objectives for obtaining a SOC 2 report. These goals serve as guiding principles throughout the compliance process and include meeting customer requests or enhancing security for geographical expansion.

2. Determine SOC 2 Report Type

To initiate SOC 2 compliance, decide if you want a SOC 2 Type 1 audit before the more comprehensive Type 2. In a Type 1 audit, auditors assess controls’ design suitability at a specific date, while a Type 2 audit evaluates controls’ operational effectiveness over time. 

While organizations often opt for a Type 1 before Type 2, it’s not mandatory. Customers generally accept a Type 1 report for initial audits but typically expect a Type 2 for subsequent assessments.

3. Define Audit Scope

Clearly outlining your audit scope is crucial, as is showcasing your grasp of data security needs per the SOC 2 compliance checklist. This impresses auditors and streamlines the process by removing irrelevant criteria.

Select SOC 2 Trust Service Criteria (TSC) based on your data type, with Security as a must. For many SaaS firms, focusing on Security, Availability, and Confidentiality suffices. Regulatory requirements and customer concerns guide your TSC choices, ensuring a tailored SOC 2 journey.

4. Perform Internal Risk Assessment

In your SOC 2 compliance journey, internal risk assessment holds significant importance. Identify and document risks associated with growth, location, and information security best practices. Evaluate each risk’s likelihood and impact, deploying controls per the SOC 2 checklist to mitigate them effectively.

5. Perform a Readiness Check

At the initial stage of your SOC 2 expedition, initiate a gap assessment, also termed a readiness assessment. Scrutinize your current procedures, policies, and controls to gain insights into your present security status. Identify the controls yet to be implemented to align with the relevant criteria of the Trust Services Criteria.

6. Remediate Control Gaps

After concluding the gap assessment, remediation is essential to meet SOC 2 control requirements.

Collaborate with your team to:

  • Review policies.
  • Formalize procedures.
  • Implement required software alterations.
  • Address additional steps, such as integrating new tools and workflows.

This ensures gap closure before the audit.

7. Inform Customers and Enhance Transparency

Enhance trust by transparently sharing security practices with customers and prospects. Highlight continuous security monitoring, employee training, penetration testing, and data encryption procedures on your website or social media.

8. Monitor and Sustain Controls

After implementing remediations and controls for SOC 2 compliance, set up procedures for ongoing monitoring.

If not in place, introduce a compliance automation tool for automated control monitoring and evidence collection. This ensures sustained effectiveness and compliance.

9. Choose an Auditor

Select an auditor based on their understanding of your industry, collaboration skills, and ability to answer questions intelligently. Seek recommendations and ensure they align with your compliance goals.

10. Initiate the SOC 2 Audit

Begin the audit process by providing the necessary information to your auditor. They will review evidence, verify information, conduct walkthroughs, and ultimately furnish you with the final SOC 2 report.

Safeguarding Trust through SOC 2 Compliance

The SOC 2 compliance checklist isn’t just a routine; it’s a shield against potential breaches, ensuring the safety of your customers’ vital data. This annual audit isn’t merely a requirement; it’s an investment in your reputation, signifying a steadfast commitment to trust and security.

A quick note: If you are interested in cyber security and compliance-related information, check out our website.


What is the SOC 2 Type 2 compliance checklist?

It’s a systematic guide for assessing and ensuring SOC 2 Type 2 standards compliance. It includes determining necessity, defining scope, conducting internal communication, performing a gap assessment, addressing control gaps, updating stakeholders, monitoring controls, finding an auditor, and finally, undergoing the SOC 2 audit.

What are the five criteria for SOC?

SOC criteria include Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy, ensuring comprehensive control over data security and operational processes.

How do I prepare for the SOC 2 audit?

Select reporting period and criteria, identify relevant controls, and compile documentation for systems and controls. Auditors will assess the effectiveness during the audit by reviewing this documentation and evaluating your systems.