How Much Does A SOC 2 Audit Cost? [Not expensive]

Batya Steinherz
April 10, 2024
Discover how to lower the cost of SOC 2 audits with anecdotes

Pop quiz:

What costs more; not meeting SOC 2 or going through the whole audit process to eventually pass your SOC 2 audit?

Don't worry, this isn't a blog where we say you don't have to be compliant with frameworks or that it’s okay to not follow best security practices. That’s because, let's be honest, while it’s a massive pain in the neck, when it comes to adopting certain frameworks, there’s just no way around it; the price of non-compliance is simply too high.

But truthfully, achieving compliance comes with a pretty hefty price tag too. As the leader in the Compliance OS field, we know first-hand the factors contributing to the cost of a SOC 2 audit. In this post, we'll explore SOC 2 audit costs and how to lower the impact.

Why An SOC 2 Audit Cost Is So Dang Much

There are lots of elements impacting SOC 2 Audits, which cause the price to increase, such as:

  • Company size
  • The scope of services
  • The Trust Services Criteria (TSC)
  • The amount of employee-time expended
  • Auditor costs
  • Type 1 vs Type 2

Let’s explore each of these SOC 2 compliance costs in more detail.

Company Size 

It’s no surprise that the bigger the organization, the more it costs to obtain a SOC 2 report. Startups can expect to pay in the ballpark of $20,000 for a Type 2 report (more on that below) while mid-market and enterprise companies can pay upwards of $70-80,000.

The Scope of Services Included 

Closely tied to the above factor, the more complex your infrastructure and the greater the number of services involved, the more the SOC audit costs.

The Trust Services Criteria (TSC) Included 

You’re likely aware that of all the TSC, only the Common Criteria, aka the Security Criteria, is mandatory. The additional four criteria, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy, are optional and obtaining a report for each one is a separate cost that you will need to add into the overall SOC 2 audit price. But depending on the requirements of your potential partners, it may be necessary anyway; for example, if preventing service downtime is critical to your users and partners, they’ll want to know you've been audited for the Availability Criteria. 

The Amount of Employee-time Expended 

Prepping for SOC 2 takes a lot of time which could have been put towards core functionalities. Whether you assign an InfoSec team member to be the “SOC 2 person” (poof, now you’re a SOC 2 person🎩✨) or hire outside consultants, there’s a definite people-cost that often goes overlooked when considering the total dollar expenditure.  

Auditor Costs  

When it comes to auditors, you can go with one of the Big Four (EY, PriceWaterhouseCooper, KPMG, and Deloitte) or a smaller CPA firm. The advantage of going with the big guys is the brand name recognition—but be warned, this glitz is going to increase the SOC 2 cost; a smaller firm will have just as competent auditors and will be much more cost-effective.

Type 1 vs Type 2 

As mentioned above, there is a monetary difference between SOC 2 Type 1 and SOC 2 Type 2. In a recent blog, we explored the differences between Type 1 and Type 2; the former is a snapshot in time, showing that an organization is compliant as of now, whereas Type 2 is a cumulative view of compliance over time. So while it's a far greater indicator of compliance maturity, a SOC 2 Type 2 audit cost is substantially higher and much more challenging to prepare for.

Lowering The Cost of SOC 2 Audits With Automation

Becoming compliant doesn't have to leave such a significant footprint; automation is the answer to minimizing SOC 2 compliance costs. A recent poll by security firm Coalfire found that by implementing automation, organizations reduce costs and achieve compliance faster, and more than 60 percent of organizations polled said that automation is helping reduce SOC 2 compliance costs.

Here’s a look at how automation makes this possible (and your work life a lot less stressful):

  • Saves time and effort - With automation, you can reduce time-investment so your business can focus on primary goals and KPIs.
  • Prevents errors - Automating evidence collection prevents mistakes that lead to audit failure. And automated data-to-control mapping and collection capabilities means you’ll always have the needed information and your evidence will always fulfill requirements.
  • Removes dependencies and prevents audit fatigue - Automation enables you to remove dependencies, so your team can prepare for audits without relying on other stakeholders.
  • Makes adopting frameworks simple and cost-effective - Automating evidence collection enables you to stop wasting time on repetitive work and lower overall SOC 2 certification costs when adopting new frameworks.
  • Negates the need for consultants/specialized skills - With automation, you don't need to understand specific clauses or hire consultants to explain them. Out-of-the-box control translation and effortless mapping make understanding requirements easy.

So How Much Does a SOC 2 Audit Cost? With Automated Evidence Collection, It’s Less Than You Think

Whether you're part of a startup or an enterprise, SOC 2 is a really important benchmark on your way to implementing optimal compliance (and therefore, security) best practices. But a SOC 2 audit and the cost of SOC 2 certification shouldn't break the bank.

While other areas of business have been transformed via technology, Compliance has long been stuck in a manual and labor-intensive mindset, enabling costs to skyrocket while they could be easily controlled for.

It’s time to incorporate automation to ensure the best of both worlds; a mature SOC 2 Compliance posture and money left in your pocket for other key initiatives.

Batya Steinherz
Veteran explainer of complicated stuff. Loves all things coffee and cyber security-related (yes, even Compliance). Content Marketing Manager at anecdotes.