Your business needs to comply with The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) System and Organization Controls, known as SOC 2, to maximize the trustworthiness and protection of your proprietary business and customer data. But how much does SOC 2 compliance really cost to achieve, and how do those costs compare with the risks of non-compliance?
What Does SOC 2 Compliance Really Cost?
To achieve a successful SOC 2 compliance audit, you need an auditor. Typical auditor fees range between $12,000 and $100,000. However, auditor fees are just the beginning. Here are estimates of some of the additional costs and time involved in preparing for a SOC 2 audit.
- Project lead. A dedicated senior leader with technical experience and expertise for an estimate of six months: $50,000-$75,000 or more.
- Readiness assessment. Engineering, HR, and IT leaders must identify and catalog relevant policies, procedures, and processes. Engineering and IT teams must also assess incumbent data stores, systems, and workflows and update or replace any that are not “SOC 2-ready.” In addition, HR and legal teams must review other relevant contracts, documentation, and policies and update these as needed. This will likely cost at least $10,000, plus the disruption of business operations as assessment team members are taken away from their primary jobs.
- Infrastructure access, onboarding, and termination controls and solutions. These are critical elements of SOC 2 compliance, and solutions can cost $50,000 or more each, plus time for implementation.
- Security training. This is required for everyone in the company. It can cost $5,000 to $10,000 or more annually, depending on the provider and number of people to be trained, plus about a week in diverted productivity.
The bottom line: be prepared to invest anywhere from $75,000 to $150,000 or more, and as much as six months from multiple people. And unless you’re ready to ensure that lessons learned and resources acquired and developed are maintained adequately, you may need to spend this much or more every year.
Is SOC 2 Compliance Worth the Cost?
Non-compliance puts the data that drives your business at constant risk. Should that data be lost or breached, the costs to your business, financial, operational, and reputational, could be devastating. For example, a 2021 IBM study found organizations with fewer than 500 employees spend an average of $3 million per data breach incident. And as high-profile security breaches at companies ranging from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Microsoft to Robinhood have demonstrated, breaches have significant reputational costs.
How to Keep SOC 2 Compliance Costs Manageable
One thing you should not do is pick your auditor based solely on the lowest cost. You need an experienced, credible expert in your corner, especially for your first SOC 2 audit. And this cost is directly correlated with the depth of the examination. The greater the depth, the higher the cost you can expect, but the more likely your candidate auditor will be confident in your operational competence.
If your chosen auditor has experience dealing with other companies like yours, much better. Moreover, that experience will likely prove to be worth paying for, even if that auditor is not the least expensive option.
You can and should strive to minimize the costs of the IT you need to meet SOC 2 compliance requirements. One way to do this is to build everything yourself. However, this approach assumes you have access to sufficient IT expertise and talent to do this and can devote those resources to the task without disrupting other business operations. It is doubtful many emerging enterprises can take this route without risk.
A better alternative? Trustero Compliance as a Service. Trustero combines multiple modern technologies to help you become and remain compliant while keeping your critical business policies and practices intact and in place. This approach can save your company time and money today and for every future SOC 2 compliance audit.
SOC 2 compliance is a critical foundation for robust, consistent, transparent processes that enable verifiable trust. Trustero Compliance as a Service works with you and your trusted auditor to achieve and sustain SOC 2 compliance effectively, efficiently, and economically.
Trustero delivers the solutions and services that enable demonstrable, sustainable trustworthiness for emerging enterprises. Trustero Compliance as a Service (CaaS) establishes and manages regulatory compliance by undertaking vulnerability assessments, security risk analyses, and other measures to ensure that all business processes and systems remain fully compliant. Artificial intelligence (AI) and other modern technologies mean you have the visibility needed to gain actionable insights into your compliance across the extended enterprise. In addition, more transparency means increased trust by your customers and partners and greater operational efficiencies for your business.