by Arik Solomon, June 08, 2022

🕑 3 minutes read

Breaking down the ISO 27001 standard and SOC 2 controls to clarify, once and for all why both are absolute musts when seeking to meet compliance risk management requirements

If your organization utilizes cloud technologies to collect, store, and share the vast quantities of information handled each and every day, it’s essential that security programs be established to ensure IT compliance. This is not just to maintain a security posture for your organization, but also to demonstrate your security posture to potential customers.

ISO 27001 and SOC 2 are two of the most widely accepted set of controls, and should most certainly be implemented, in many cases. But before taking any active step with these crucial measures, it’s important to understand their added value:

ISO 27001 vs. SOC 2: Main similarities

Standardized communication

ne of the primary functions of both SOC 2 and ISO 27001 is to communicate an organization’s cybersecurity posture to its employees, prospects and/or partners. Both present a standard set of requirements for everyone within the organization to use, creating a common IT compliance language and helping team members avoid any misunderstandings.

Customization for solid security monitoring

Both SOC 2 and ISO 27001 provide a list of requirements organized in domains or categories, covering a wide range of activities within the organization, such as the processes and infrastructure involved in the organization’s various production and operational activities. However, it is important to note that these do not always list the specific controls you need to implement. They often use generic statements that cannot be implemented as-is. For this reason, it is critical to customize the audit scope to fit your specific setup.

The need for an external eye

An additional commonality between SOC 2 and ISO 27001 is their need for an external auditor or assessor. These controls cannot be self-attested and must involve extensive evidence collection and analysis to prove that the controls were implemented correctly.

ISO 27001 and SOC 2 costs

In today’s dynamic market, achieving compliance with either SOC 2 or ISO 27001 is essential to doing business. That means the budget planning and business goals must allocate the resources for a security audit every year.

ISO 27001 vs. SOC 2: Main differences

How long does compliance take?

SOC 2, specifically the Type 2 audit, reviews an organization’s security-related behavior over a period – usually 12 months. Whereas ISO 27001 considers a set of evidence provided to prove the organization’s security posture at a given point in time.

Big picture vs. fine print

SOC 2 exhibits more rigorous and detailed requirements, including implementation details. ISO 27001, on the other hand, tends to focus on process management, policy documents, and primary security-related configurations. For example, you may find a requirement to implement a multi-factor authentication as part of SOC 2, but not necessarily in ISO 27001.

Regional applicability

SOC 2 is much more prevalent in the North-American market, whereas ISO 27001 is dominant in Europe. However, since both have many building blocks in common, adopting the two is regarded as wise.

IT environment

Finally, SOC 2 references cloud infrastructures and tools, while ISO 27001 focuses on a generic IT environment, while its successors, such as ISO 27017, are more cloud-focused. This may be relevant when doing business with European entities, which tend to demand to see cloud-specific standards adopted.

 

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