SOC 2 vs. Other Compliance Standards: Choosing the Right Framework for Your Business

Organizations use numerous standards to help them comply with regulations. It is not enough to focus on profitable business ideas, you also need to consider using a framework to achieve business success. 

The two most widely used standards are SOC 2 and ISO 27001, which, while they initially appear comparable and complement one another in some respects, actually serve different functions.

SOC 2 and ISO 27001 provide a plan for safeguarding your information landscape and proving the security of your environment. You can develop a business strategy that advances your corporation by knowing how ISO 27001 compliance can facilitate effective SOC 2 reports.

The Difference Between SOC 2 and ISO 27001

SOC 2 and ISO 27001 differ from one another in several minor ways, including who performs the audits, the type of report or certification you obtain, and the frequency of the audit cycle. Market applicability and scope are the two key framework variations that will most likely affect your choice.

ISO 27001 and SOC 2 Market Acceptance

SOC 2 currently rules the American market. The preferred worldwide standard, notably in Europe, is ISO 27001.

If you were to choose a framework for your business, you’re more likely to select one over the other depending on where your operations are located and who your business partners are.

Generally speaking, U.S. businesses, especially corporations, prefer that their vendors have a SOC 2 before doing business with them. In addition to being better suited for integrating ISO 27701 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, international companies tend to prefer ISO 27001.

SOC 2 and ISO 27001 Scope

Although both frameworks cover many of the same subjects and have similar controls, their recommendations are different.

SOC 2 adopts a more adaptable strategy. This methodology evaluates security, availability, confidentiality, privacy, and processing integrity controls based on their design and operational efficacy. Only one of the TSCs (security) is required, and the other categories may apply depending on your obligations to your clients. You must know which TSCs to include in your SOC 2 report with your auditors and compliance staff.

ISO 27001 is far more prescriptive than SOC 2, which presents the trust services criteria and allows you to select the controls to meet them. As a result, it is harder to meet the requirements, but it is also plain what you must complete to receive certification.

Similarities Between ISO 27001 and SOC 2

Despite these significant variations, both ISO 27001 and SOC 2 are valuable tools that businesses may use to assess and enhance their security posture in accordance with industry best practices and standards. Obtaining certifications in one or both of these areas helps convince customers and investors that your systems are properly managed and your data is secure. 

Both address important information security factors like availability, confidentiality, and integrity. Additionally, since the two frameworks have a lot in common, becoming certified in one implies you are already halfway to achieving the requirements for the other. 

Although obtaining an attestation of SOC 2 or ISO 27001 certification is not required, it benefits organizations by:

  • Establishing confidence with suppliers
  • Maintaining compliance with legal requirements
  • Analyzing the architecture and techniques used today for data security
  • Boosting data security measures

Which Is the Best for You?

Choosing your compliance standard depends on your demands, resources, and objectives.

When Should You Use ISO 27001?

If you need to develop an ISMS or have clients abroad, ISO 27001 is an excellent option. All industries and geographical areas accept certification because ISO 27001 is a global standard. 

Companies who want to apply a stricter assessment standard should choose ISO 27001. Although it takes more time and money, ISO 27001 accreditation can increase the organization’s security credibility and hold greater sway with stakeholders. 

When Should You Use SOC 2?

For businesses that currently have an ISMS in place but wish to double-check their current standards and practices, SOC 2 audits are fantastic. They benefit businesses that want a customized audit to focus their evaluations and reveal important information about their security procedures and policies.

When you require a simpler, less expensive evaluation or if you only do business in North America, think about adopting SOC 2 audits. And if you have an older report, all you need to do is to write a SOC 2 bridge letter to prove your credentials.

When to Use Both

For the purpose of creating an ISMS that is completely compliant, ISO 27001 is a good certification to obtain. A solid security management system’s basis will be put in place as a result. From there, you can carry out routine SOC 2 audits to identify standards that require improvement and to continuously raise the bar. Consider using both audits to create a comprehensive security program that complies with international regulations. 

Final Thoughts

ISO 27001 or SOC, what compliance standard you choose for your business depends on a rigorous case-by-case analysis.

A thorough analysis of your company’s operations, strategic goals, and target markets may show that one standard will be particularly valuable in generating the controls required to make it more productive and competitive.


Sophia Young
Content Studio

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