January 5, 2024

How Long Does it Take to Complete a SOC 2 Audit

Introduction to SOC 2

In the fast-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, safeguarding sensitive information is of paramount importance. This is where SOC 2, or System and Organization Controls 2, comes into play. SOC 2 is a framework focused on managing and securing data and services, ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information within an organization. In this blog post, we’ll explore the intricacies of SOC 2 audits, shedding light on the time it takes to complete them.

What are SOC 2 Reports and Why Do They Matter?

SOC 2 reports (or “attestations” as formally named) are vital tools for organizations that handle customer data. These reports provide assurance that a company’s information security measures are in line with industry standards and best practices. In an era where data breaches can have severe consequences, SOC 2 compliance has become a benchmark for establishing trust with clients and partners.

Key Differences Between Type 1 and Type 2 Audits

Before delving into the timeline, it’s crucial to understand the distinction between Type 1 and Type 2 audits. A Type 1 audit evaluates the suitability of the design of security controls at a specific point in time, while a Type 2 audit assesses the operational effectiveness of these controls over a period of time.

  • Choosing the Right Audit Team

Selecting the right audit team is a pivotal decision. Competent professionals with cybersecurity expertise as well as experience in SOC 2 audits can streamline the process and offer valuable insights.

  • Conducting Readiness Assessments and Identifying Security Gaps

Prior to the audit, Tevora will conduct a readiness assessment to identify potential security gaps. This proactive approach helps in addressing vulnerabilities before they become major issues, and therefore noted findings, during the audit.

  • Fixing Identified Security Issues

Addressing security issues is a critical step in the preparation phase. This involves implementing corrective measures to ensure that the organization meets SOC 2 standards.

  • Collecting Necessary Information and Evidence

Whether a Type 1 or a Type 2, the audit requires the collection of extensive information and evidence to support compliance claims. This includes documentation of policies, procedures, and evidence of their implementation. For a Type 2, this will also include sampling the controls throughout a period of time.

Timeline-SOC 2 Type 1

Pre-Audit SOC 2 Type 1

Before the official audit begins, there is a preparatory phase to ensure that the organization is ready for the evaluation. This can include SOC 2 gap or readiness services, conducted internally or through qualified assessors, as well as remediating any identified gaps.

Pre-Audit Duration: 2 weeks to 9 months

During this phase, organizations conduct assessments to identify potential gaps in their security controls and processes. This gap assessment generally takes only a few weeks. The treatment of any gaps (“remediation”) timeline can be of varying lengths, hence “…to 9 months” noted in the duration above. This duration varies based on the complexity of the organization’s systems, the maturity of existing security measures, and the extent of remediation needed. This period is crucial for addressing any issues proactively, thus minimizing potential challenges during the actual audit.

Audit Window for SOC 2 Type 1

Information security is not just a requirement but a competitive advantage. Organizations that achieve HITRUST certification signal to their customers, partners, and stakeholders that they prioritize data protection and take proactive steps to manage information risks. This can enhance the organization’s reputation, increase customer trust, and provide a competitive edge in the market.

SOC 2 Type 1 Audit Duration: Typically, several weeks

During this period, auditors meticulously examine the design of the organization’s control environment. This entails scrutinizing policies, procedures, and other documentation to ensure that they are suitably designed to meet the specified control objectives. This also includes confirming the controls are in place as designed, at a point in time. The duration of the audit window may vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the organization’s systems and the scope of the audit.

Timeline-SOC 2 Type 2

Reporting Period SOC 2 Type 2-Period under Audit

For Type 2 audits, there is a defined observation period, called the reporting period, during which the auditors assess the operational effectiveness of security controls.

SOC 2 Type 2 Audit Duration: 3-12 months

The observation period allows auditors to evaluate the consistency and sustainability of security measures over time. This duration is influenced by factors such as the nature of the organization’s operations, the frequency of relevant activities, and the need for auditors to obtain sufficient evidence of ongoing compliance. This is an absolute minimum of three months, with a best practice minimum of six months, and a maximum of twelve months.

SOC 2 Type 2 Audit Phase

The official audit phase involves the detailed examination of security controls, policies, and procedures and the compilation of the SOC 2 Type II Attestation.

SOC 2 Type 2 Audit Duration: 1 to 3 months

This phase is marked by on-site or remote assessments conducted by the audit team. They scrutinize the implementation and effectiveness of security controls outlined in the organization’s policies. The duration can vary depending on the complexity of the systems, the size of the organization, and the thoroughness of the audit process. Throughout this phase, organizations collaborate closely with auditors, providing necessary documentation and evidence to support their claims of compliance, including system walkthroughs and sampling.

This phase includes interviews with key personnel, system demonstrations, and a comprehensive review of documentation. The auditors assess the organization’s ability to meet and maintain the security commitments, as well as other in-scope Trust Service Categories, over the specified period. Following the audit, organizations receive a formal SOC 2 attestation, including a description of the controls, outlining any findings, and a determination of compliance status (called an “Opinion” in a SOC attestation).

In summary, the audit phases collectively form a structured approach to evaluating an organization’s adherence to SOC 2 standards. The combination of pre-audit preparations, a defined observation period for Type 2 audits, and the meticulous audit phase contributes to a thorough assessment of an organization’s commitment to information security.


Addressing common questions related to SOC 2 audits:

Q: What is the standard timeline for completing Type 2 SOC 2 reports?

A: The standard timeline for a Type 2 SOC 2 report includes 1-3 months of preparation, a 3–12-month observation period, a 1–3-week audit phase, and 2-6 weeks for the final report.

Q: Can organizations set their own audit start dates, and can these dates be changed?

A: Yes, organizations can generally coordinate with their chosen audit team to set suitable audit start dates. However, changing audit start dates may depend on mutual agreement between the organization and the audit team and will likely impact the completion dates.

Q: How long is a SOC 2 report valid once it has been issued?

A: SOC 2 reports do not expire, as they are not certifications, but the reports are typically considered valid for a period of one year. Organizations need to undergo regular audits to maintain compliance and renew their SOC 2 compliance. Renewal involves a reassessment of security controls and practices to ensure ongoing effectiveness; typically, a SOC 2 Type 2 report is repeated on an annual basis.

Q: How can an organization reduce the time needed to complete a SOC 2 report?

A: To complete a SOC 2 report at an expedited schedule, there are two primary options. The first is to shorten the Type 2 reporting period (minimum of three months). Secondly, the organization can prioritize the auditor requests to provide needed compliance artifacts at an accelerated pace – as that is a crucial factor in the overall timeline.


Completing a SOC 2 audit is a comprehensive process that demands careful preparation and execution. By understanding the nuances of SOC 2 audits and leveraging automation, organizations can not only ensure compliance but also streamline the journey towards a more secure and trustworthy service organization and data management system. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, SOC 2 compliance stands as a cornerstone for building and maintaining trust in the realm of information security.