Understand the Key Differences Between ISO 27001 and SOC 2 and Why You Might Need Both

April 18, 2022 | ISO 27001, SOC 2

With data risk on the rise, you may be questioning which security framework is best for your organization. Two compliance standards to consider are the International Organization for Standards (ISO) 27001 and System and Organization Control (SOC) 2, which both work toward keeping your consumer data safe. 

The rising popularity of ISO 27001 and SOC 2 audits is notable. According to IT Governance USA, ISO has increased by 78% over the years for US-based 27001 certifications, and the AICPA reports SOC 2 examinations increased by nearly 50% between 2018 and 2020. 

While these two frameworks cover similar topics, one big difference between ISO and SOC assessments is that certain standards can be certified under the ISO 27000 series, while SOC 2 audits result in an attestation report rather than certification. 

BARR is proud to be one of only nine firms in the United States who can perform both ISO 27001 certifications and SOC 2 reports. Let’s take a closer look at the different services, and why having both can differentiate your organization:

ISO 27001 Framework

The ISO 27000 series is a family of information security management standards that can be combined to provide a globally recognized framework for best-practice information security management. At the core of ISO 27000 is the ISO 27001 framework, which contains 114 Annex A controls grouped into 14 categories

ISO 27001 is specifically focused on the Information Security Management System (ISMS) following ISO 27002 control implementation guidance. It’s an internationally accepted standard for helping your organization manage the security of your services, data, intellectual property or any information entrusted to you by a third party. 

Every organization obtaining an ISO certification through BARR undergoes two stages:

  • Stage 1: Your engagement lead will conduct a walkthrough of clauses 4-10, review nonconformities, and develop and execute a corrective action plan. 
  • Stage 2: BARR will conduct a walkthrough of Annex A controls, review nonconformities, and start the certification process. 

Following preparation for the two-stage ISO audit, stage one generally takes two to three days to complete. For most organizations, stage two can be completed within one to two weeks. We’ll issue an internal report and public-facing certification, good for three years with surveillance audits.

ISO 27001 Process

BARR’s ISO 27001 Proven Process

SOC 2 Attestation 

The SOC 2 examination reports on one or any combination of the AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria including Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy. It demonstrates an organization’s commitment to its consumer requirements and cybersecurity best practices.

SOC 2 reports meet the needs of a broad range of users that require detailed information and assurance about the controls at a service organization. The report can play an important role in oversight of the organization, vendor management programs, and internal corporate governance and risk management processes.

The duration for SOC 2 reporting depends on the type you acquire. If your organization has previously documented your controls through an automation partner, Type I reports may be performed right away. Type I reports offer a point-in-time service, testing your design on a specific date. Type II reports are generally audited throughout a three to 12 month period. 

SOC 2 reports reflect your organization’s operating effectiveness during the course of a review period and provide a more detailed assessment of your controls. 

BARR’s SOC 2 Proven Process

BARR’s SOC 2 Proven Process

Choosing ISO 27001, SOC 2, or Both

When choosing the framework to best support your organization, you’ll want to consider things like cost, organization complexity, location, and how much time you have available for an audit. Benefits for each assessment vary depending on your organization’s needs:

  • Receiving an ISO 27001 certification is a valuable way to differentiate your organization as it demonstrates your compliance with global industry standards and your commitment to keeping information secure. 
  • SOC 2 is more common within North America, and these reports can be distributed to an organization’s stakeholders including user entities, CPAs providing services to such user entities, regulators, and business partners.

BARR is able to conduct both ISO 27001 and SOC 2 reports simultaneously. Having both not only increases consumer trust, but it enhances your brand value. Through BARR’s “test once, report many” approach, you’ll stand out as an organization who takes security seriously, saving you time and resources while instilling the most confidence in your clients. 

Interested in more information on our ISO 27001 certification and SOC 2 reporting audits? Contact us today for a free consultation. 

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