SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 – Which one do you need?

January 7, 2015 | SOC 2

Service organization control (SOC) reporting, in particular, can be a daunting task for many organizations. BARR has issued hundreds of SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 assurance reports, provided interpretations with the established SOC criteria and, more importantly, put your organizations risks first versus a canned reporting approach. As the use of cloud-based services continues to rise, more organizations will seek professional help with protecting critical data and meeting industry regulations. These regulations are ever-changing, providing a significant challenge to those tasked with assessing risk and serving customers.

Below is a guide for determining which SOC report is most appropriate for both your organization and your client.

A Brief SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 Overview


SOC 1 reports are most applicable for organizations that perform financial transaction processing or support transaction processing systems. These reports use no pre-established control objectives and instead use objectives that fall within general business processing and general information technology controls of the system. SOC 1 reports are subject to limited distribution to user organizations and their financial statement auditors. SSAE 16 is the U.S. standard derived from ISAE 3402, the international standard.


The scope for SOC 2 reports can include security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and/or privacy. This detailed report applies to a broad variety of systems used by customers and specified parties. SOC 2 reports are most commonly considered a “deeper dive” than SOC 1 reports into operational controls at the service provider. Deeper dive examples include controls over uptime requirements, disaster recovery solutions, and monitoring security risks specific to its customers. Reports are prepared using the Trust Service Principles and Criteria. Attestation standard guidance falls within AT 101.


The scope for SOC 3 reports is similar to that of SOC 2 reports. However, SOC 3 reports are shorter and allow for more general distribution, with the option of displaying a website seal if the service provider receives an unqualified opinion from their audit firm. Reports are prepared using the Trust Service Principles and Criteria. Attestation standard guidance falls within AT 101. Note: SOC 3 SysTrust seals are no longer offered as of December 31, 2014. However, the seal is still applicable for Certification Authorities. Otherwise known as a WebTrust for CA report.

We’re Here to Help

BARR engages with each client and differentiates from the “cookie cutter” audit approach to compliance when compared to other niche firms. Supported by a proven SOC methodology, BARR equips each client with insights to their risk profile. Understood risk profile and customer compliance demands will help ensure you do not waste money on your compliance reporting. BARR prepares each client to meet the evolving needs of your organization.

So how can we help your organization? You’ve taken the first step by learning more about SOC reporting, now let us help you pinpoint which is the best option for your needs.

Contact BARR today to get started.

Let's Talk