There are two different types of AICPA SOC 2 attestation reports to choose from:

  • A SOC 2 Type 1
  • A SOC 2 Type 2

Both are valuable and serve a specific purpose, so you'll need to decide which attestation report you need before starting the audit process.

To do that, you're probably asking yourself:

What's the difference between a SOC 2 Type 1 vs Type 2 report?

We answer that and more below.

What is SOC 2 Type 1?

SOC 2 Type 1 compliance evaluates an organization’s cybersecurity controls at a single point in time. 

The goal is to determine whether the internal controls put in place to safeguard customer data are sufficient and designed correctly. Do they fulfill the required Trust Services Criteria?

Type 1 audits and reports can be completed in a matter of weeks.

What is SOC 2 Type 2?

A SOC 2 Type 2 report examines how well a service organization's system and controls perform over a period of time (typically 3-12 months). What is their operating effectiveness? Do they function as intended? 

Type 2 audits can take 12 months to complete and are more expensive than Type 1 audits.

SOC 2 Type 1 vs SOC 2 Type 2: Which Should You Choose?

Both Type I and Type II reports require an audit by a qualified service auditor or CPA firm. So the key question is:

Which type of SOC 2 report is right for your service organization?

Most often, the decision boils down to timelines.

Say you need to demonstrate compliance ASAP because an important enterprise prospect requires it to close the deal. But your company is too young to have formal systems in place, or you’ve recently made major changes to your data security systems.

Instead of waiting for a Type 2 report, a Type 1 report that evaluates your information security controls as they stand today can act as a short-term solution.

If possible, we recommend going straight for the SOC 2 Type II report.

Many potential customers are rejecting Type 1 SOC reports, and it's likely you'll need a Type 2 report at some point. By going straight for a Type 2, you can save time and money by doing a single audit.

If you need a SOC 2 report ASAP, a Type 2 audit report that covers a shorter 3-month review period can be an ideal solution.