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 control policies
- Outsourced services, like hiring a CPA firm to conduct audit preparation and readiness assessments
- Additional security tools and employee training you’ll need to close any gaps
Most companies can expect to spend between $20k-$100k to prepare for and complete a SOC 2 audit.
Here’s a typical SOC 2 cost breakdown.
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 $10-20k, while the SOC 2 Type 2 cost is $30-60k on average.
How much does a SOC 2 Type 1 audit cost?
A Type 1 report is a snapshot of a company's security. 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 $30-60k for the audit alone, and can cost 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
All told, 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 controls up to par, since you may purchase additional software or tools. This varies based on the Trust Service Criteria you choose and how close you are to achieving compliance.
A preliminary readiness assessment isn’t a mandatory part of the SOC 2 audit process. You could just hire a CPA, 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 might be relevant to your organization.
It also leads directly to the next important step: the gap analysis. That’s where you compare your controls to the relevant TSC and determine what you need to do to match the Trust Services Criteria.
A professional SOC 2 readiness assessment will run you about $15,000.
New tools and employee training: Varies
With your gap analysis complete, you’ll know what holes in your data management system 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 security tools, team 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.
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: $5-60k
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 firm’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. For example, SOC 2 auditors with more experience will likely charge more, but their SOC 2 reports may carry more weight.
There are other more subtle costs to consider in going through with a SOC 2 audit.
- Productivity costs: 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.
- Training your staff: Whether in-house or through a third-party firm, you’ll need to conduct regular security awareness training.
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 an audit each 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 newly secure systems prevent data breaches that can cost millions in fines
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 an audit.
Built-in policy libraries, security training, and readiness assessments mean you’re not paying consultants.
It can also help you save your team’s productivity costs and get a SOC 2 report faster by streamlining the compliance process and automatically collecting evidence for your auditor.