ISO 27001 vs. SOC 2: Understanding the Difference


High requirements are required for a good cybersecurity posture. Learn the differences between ISO 27001 vs. SOC 2 and how you can utilize them to enhance your security posture now.

What exactly are ISO ISO 27001 vs. SOC 2?

 ISO 27001:

ISO 27001 is a collection of standards and regulations for an information security management system. It is also known as ISO/IEC 27001. (ISMS). These standards define best practices for information security management, allowing businesses to assure security across a variety of assets, including:

  • employee data financial information
  • property intellectual
  • third-party information

ISO 27001 focuses on three critical areas of data protection:

  • Availability – Authorized individuals have access to information.
  • Data confidentiality entails restricting data access to only authorized users.
  • Only authorized users can make changes to the information.

The Worldwide Electrotechnical Commission and the International Body for Standardization (ISO)—an independent, non-governmental organization that produces international standards for technology and manufacturing—co-published the framework.

What exactly is SOC 2?

SOC 2, or Service Organization Control 2, defines organizational controls for the five major service principles established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA): security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and customer data privacy.

These rules, when combined, form a foundation for data security. SOC 2 is used by organizations to assess their current security posture and find opportunities to improve cybersecurity by following the best practices provided in the SOC 2 report.

What’s the Distinction Between ISO 27001 vs SOC 2?

There are some significant distinctions between ISO 27001 vs. SOC 2, but the fundamental distinction is in scope. ISO 27001’s purpose is to establish a framework for how businesses should manage their data and demonstrate that they have a fully functional ISMS in place. SOC 2, however, focuses more specifically on demonstrating that a business has adopted key data security procedures.

In other words, ISO 27001 is concerned with building and maintaining an ISMS, whereas SOC 2 only evaluates the existing security measures. As a result, in order to acquire certification, ISO 27001 demands more comprehensive compliance processes. Furthermore, ISO 27001 is a formal international security certification standard, and SOC 2 is a collection of audit reports completed by an independent Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or accounting company. Unlike SOC 2, ISO 27001 is a prescriptive certification that employs universal standards across all industries and geographies. However, SOC 2 is more adaptable and customized to the unique organization depending on industry norms and demands.

SOC 2 SOC 2 provides enterprises the flexibility they need to improve their security compliance. Security is the only necessary component among the five Trust Services Criteria. This implies that firms may choose which criterion to focus on (besides Security) when developing their program and preparing for the audit.

Type 1 and Type 2 SOC 2 audits are also available.

SOC 2 Type 1 vs. ISO 27001: SOC 2 Type 1 assesses an organization’s security programmed at a single point in time, giving a snapshot of your present security posture.

SOC 2 Type 2 vs. ISO 27001: SOC 2 Type 2 analyses an organization’s security programmed over a longer period of time—typically six to twelve months. This audit is an important report since it gives a more in-depth look at your security landscape.

An attestation report validating an organization’s compliance with SOC 2 standards is the outcome of either SOC 2 audit.

ISO 27001

ISO 27001, on the other hand, examines the whole design and operational effectiveness of an organization’s ISMS at a given moment in time. This entails a thorough examination of seven major needs, with 114 proposed controls. Clauses 4 through 10 of the ISO standards specify the seven requirement categories:

  • Organizational context
  • Leadership 
  • Support 
  • Operation 
  • Performance 
  • Evaluation 
  • Improvement

In contrast to SOC 2, these rules are prescriptive, which means they apply consistently across sectors and regions regardless of the firm. As a result, extensive and strong documentation is required to demonstrate to auditors the whole system in existence. An ISO 27001 audit often costs more than a SOC 2 audit due to its greater breadth and depth.

Which is best for you?

The compliance standard you choose will be heavily influenced by your demands, resources, and ambitions.

When Should You Use ISO 27001?

If you need to develop an ISMS or have an overseas clientele, ISO 27001 is an excellent solution. Because ISO 27001 is a global standard, accreditation is accepted by many business and areas.

When Should You Use SOC 2?

SOC 2 audits are ideal for firms that currently have an ISMS but wish to double-check their present standards and procedures. They are especially valuable for firms that wish to target their audits and uncover crucial insights about their security systems and procedures.


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