SOC 2 compliance is an investment in your company’s future.

And like most worthwhile investments, it takes a significant amount of time, effort, and money.

If you're wondering how much a SOC 2 audit is going to cost, we break it down step by step below.

Let's get started.

Understanding the cost of SOC 2 audits

Many factors influence the typical SOC 2 audit cost, including:

  • Type of SOC 2 audit: Type 1 or Type 2
  • Number of Trust Services Criteria that are included in the scope of your audit
  • Size of your organization
  • Complexity of your systems and internal controls
  • Outsourced services, like hiring a CPA firm to conduct risk and readiness assessments
  • Additional security tools and employee training you’ll need to close any gaps in your security posture
  • Conducting a penetration test as recommended by the auditor

Price varies greatly depending on scope, but most companies can expect to spend between $10k-$150k to prepare for and complete a SOC 2 audit.

Here’s a typical breakdown of the total cost for SOC 2 compliance. 

  • Readiness Assessment: $15k
  • Risk Assessment: $10-20k
  • Penetration Test: $15k
  • Compliance Preparation Costs: $25-85k
  • Formal Audit: $5-150k+
  • Annual Maintenance: $10-60k
  • TOTAL: $80-$350k

SOC 2 Type 1 vs Type 2 audit costs

For the audit alone, you can expect the SOC 2 Type 1 cost to be around $5-20k, while the SOC 2 Type 2 cost is $7k-150k on average.

How much does a SOC 2 Type 1 audit cost?

A Type 1 report is a snapshot of a company's security practices. It includes an auditor’s review of a company at that moment in time.

Because Type 1 reports are less extensive than Type 2 reports, they're also less expensive. Estimates usually start around $5k.

This figure doesn't include the associated costs of completing an audit, like readiness assessments and employee security training.

Many companies are refusing a Type 1 report and specifically requesting a Type 2. It may be more cost-effective for companies to jump straight to the Type 2 audit.

How much does a SOC 2 Type 2 audit cost?

The key difference between SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2 is the evaluation timeframe.

Type 2 reports evaluate how a company’s controls perform over a period of time, typically 3-12 months. There’s more for the auditor to review, which is one reason for the higher cost.

SOC 2 Type 2 reports cost an average of $7-100k for the audit alone, and can cost larger companies more than $100k altogether.

Type 2 reports also come with associated costs like readiness assessments, team training, and lost productivity.

Additional SOC 2 audit costs

The average quote for a SOC 2 audit runs between $5,000 and $60,000.

But at the end of the day, you’re paying for a lot more than just the auditor.

For example, one firm certified by the AICPA to perform SOC 2 audits charges $20,000 for a SOC 2 Type I audit and $30,000 for a SOC 2 Type II. But it also offers a gap assessment for $15,000.

SOC 2 remediation services are available at an additional varied cost.

Put it all together, and it can quickly drive costs toward six figures.

And that’s before you factor in other associated expenses:

Preparation costs: $15-85k

The most obvious preparation cost is bringing your security controls up to par, since you may need to purchase additional tools or software. This varies based on the Trust Service Criteria you choose and how close you are to achieving compliance.

A preliminary gap or readiness assessment isn’t a mandatory part of the SOC 2 audit process. You could just hire an audit firm, turn them loose on your documentation, and hope for the best.

We don’t recommend this, though — unless you want to spend even more money doing the audit all over again.

If you don’t lay the groundwork for success, you run the risk of being blindsided when the auditor dings you on controls you didn’t even know you needed. So while a readiness assessment is technically an optional part of SOC 2, it’s not optional if you want to pass.

Remember that a SOC 2 report doesn’t involve running down a checklist of controls.

Instead, the auditor determines which criteria are relevant while they look at your documentation. The readiness assessment helps you determine which Trust Services Criteria are relevant to your organization.

It also leads directly to the next important step: the gap analysis. That’s where you compare your service organization controls to the relevant TSC and determine what you need to do to match the in-scope Trust Services Criteria.

A professional SOC 2 readiness assessment will run you about $15,000. If you plan on hiring a compliance manager or consultant to conduct a risk assessment, expect to spend an additional $10-20k.

New tools and employee training: Varies

With your gap analysis complete, you’ll know what holes in your data security might cause you to get a qualified opinion on your SOC 2 report. Now comes the hard part: fixing them.

If your preliminary review discovers any major gaps, you’ll need to spend money to close them. These costs can include new information security tools, security awareness training, or hiring additional employees.

Some companies hire the firm that conducted its readiness assessment to provide expert help to close any gaps before the audit. If you choose this route, expect to pay an additional $25,000 to $85,000, depending on the scope of your systems and number of gaps you need to close.

Legal fees: Varies

Lastly, you’ll incur some legal fees when reviewing agreements with customers, vendors, contractors, and employees. The data protection policies in these agreements can impact audit readiness.

Audit costs: $5-150k

One of the primary factors impacting the cost of the audit is the number of Trust Services Criteria you’re working toward. Each additional TSC expands the scope of the audit and requires more auditing procedures.

Your service organization’s size will also impact the audit fee. The bigger your company, the more you’re likely to pay.

Of course, the CPA firm you hire will influence the price as well. SOC 2 auditors with more experience will charge more, but their SOC 2 reports may carry more weight and come with a more polished audit experience. Hiring a Big 4 audit firm will likely cost you at least $150k for an audit, but you’ll enjoy a tailored approach, expert observations, and high-quality service.

Other costs

There are other more subtle costs to consider in going through with a SOC 2 audit.

  • Internal costs: Will you be using people or software to manage your compliance program? To achieve SOC 2 compliance you might need a software developer, data scientist, legal expert, and technical writer to focus on SOC 2 prep. As your team shifts their attention to achieving compliance, they’ll naturally have less time to focus on other projects. Compliance automation software like Secureframe can lift this burden by streamlining the time-consuming, manual tasks associated with compliance such as drafting policies, monitoring tests and controls, running employee security awareness training, collecting audit evidence, and much more.
  • Hiring consultants: Depending on your internal resources, you may need to hire an expert to help evaluate your current security posture, scope your SOC 2 audit, conduct a gap analysis, and create a remediation plan to bring your policies, processes, and controls up to par before your audit begins. This can set you back tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees. With an auditor-approved policy library, AI-powered risk assessment workflows and remediation guidance, and an in-house team of former auditors to help you at every step, Secureframe significantly reduces or even eliminates these costs. 
  • Training your staff: Whether in-house or through a third-party firm, you’ll need to conduct regular security awareness training. Compliance automation software like Secureframe, with built-in security awareness training, can eliminate this extra expense.
  • Cybersecurity insurance: While costs vary based on company size and industry, small business in 2023 pay an average of $145 per month for cyber insurance. 
  • Vulnerability assessments: depending on the number of IP addresses, servers, and applications that need to be analyzed, vulnerability assessments range from $1k-4.5k annually

Annual maintenance costs

A SOC report is typically valid for 12 months after it’s first published.

To maintain SOC 2 compliance, you'll need to conduct a SOC audit each year. That means most of the costs outlined above will be recurring costs you’ll need to account for year after year.

SOC 2 isn’t cheap, even if you stick to a SOC 2 Type I audit. Even so, a positive SOC 2 report can pay for itself in a few ways:

  • More businesses want to work with you, increasing your revenue
  • Your positive SOC 2 report serves as a differentiator, helping you attract more customers than your competition
  • Your improved security posture prevents data breaches that can cost millions in fines and remediation efforts

How to lower the cost of a SOC 2 audit

SOC 2 automation software like Secureframe saves companies thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours preparing for and completing a compliance audit. 

  • Built-in policy libraries, security training, risk assessments, and readiness assessments mean you’re not paying consultants to complete audit prep.
  • Automate the compliance process, simplify remediation with AI, and automatically collect evidence for your auditor to save your team’s productivity costs and get your SOC 2 report faster. 
  • Eliminate duplicate efforts and reduce time-to-compliance with multiple in-demand frameworks and regulatory requirements. Secureframe customers that are SOC 2 compliant are 93% done with ISO 27001, 91% done with HIPAA, and 61% done with PCI DSS from a test perspective. 
  • Our partner network gives you special access to highly respected audit firms, pen testing firms, and other service providers to lower the overall external costs of your audit.

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