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May 21, 2024
By: Damir Brescic

ISO 27001 and SOC 2: Which is Right For You?

Under the weight of increasing regulatory scrutiny and ever-present cyber threats, achieving cybersecurity compliance is essential for organizations of all sizes. Two prominent compliance standards that have gained widespread adoption are SOC 2 (System and Organization Controls) and ISO 27001 (Information Security Management System). While both ISO 27001 and SOC 2 aim to strengthen an entity's security posture, there are distinct differences that make one potentially more suitable than the other depending on your specific requirements. 

Recent updates to ISO 27001:2022 created significant changes to the standard, including revisions and new controls designed to strengthen resilience against more modern threats. Those changes also come with a 2025 deadline to adhere to the changes to maintain certification. Should your organization align with the new changes in ISO 27001, or consider another standard like SOC 2? 

Let’s examine the differences further. 

Make Sure Your Business is Protected: Connect with our cybersecurity experts to get started on your tailored security solution today.   

Key Differences Between ISO 27001 and SOC 2 

SOC 2, developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), is focused on evaluating an organization's information systems relevant to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. It is particularly valuable for service organizations looking to demonstrate the existence of controls related to the principles of trust services. 

On the other hand, ISO 27001 is an internationally recognized standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It provides a comprehensive framework for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an information security management system (ISMS). This standard places significant emphasis on developing a robust set of security policies, procedures, and an overarching governance model. 

Which Framework is Right for Your Organization? 

When it comes to deciding between pursuing SOC 2 or ISO 27001 compliance, several key factors should be taken into consideration: 

Geographic Location and Markets Served 

If your organization primarily operates within the United States and serves domestic clients, SOC 2 may be the more suitable choice. However, if you have a global presence or actively engage with international markets, particularly in Europe, the widespread recognition of ISO 27001 could make it the preferred option. 

Complexity of Operations 

SOC 2 is generally better suited for organizations with relatively simpler operations, while ISO 27001 can provide a more comprehensive approach for entities with intricate or highly regulated business processes. 

Existence of Governance and Compliance Structure  

ISO 27001 requires a well-defined governance model and dedicated resources to develop, implement, and maintain security policies and procedures. If your organization already has a robust compliance program in place, adopting ISO 27001 may be a smoother transition. If an organization lacks some of that governance infrastructure, SOC 2 certification would be a more obtainable standard to reach.  

Timing and Urgency 

Achieving SOC 2 compliance is typically faster, often taking between 6 to 12 months, making it advantageous for organizations under tight timelines. In contrast, ISO 27001 certification can be a more lengthy endeavor, allowing for a more comprehensive implementation but requiring a longer timeframe. 

Industry Requirements 

Certain industries, such as financial services or healthcare, may have specific regulatory mandates that align more closely with one framework over the other, influencing the choice between SOC 2 and ISO 27001. 

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework as a Starting Point 

Before embarking on ISO 27001 and SOC 2 compliance, conducting a NIST Cybersecurity Framework assessment can serve as an invaluable first step. This widely adopted framework provides a comprehensive set of guidelines for identifying, protecting, detecting, responding to, and recovering from cybersecurity threats. 

A NIST assessment not only establishes a solid foundation of cybersecurity hygiene but also helps uncover potential gaps or areas for improvement within your organization's security controls. This insight can inform your decision-making process and better prepare you for the subsequent implementation of your chosen compliance standard. With the arrival of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework 2.0, it even offers governance components that could help in eventually meeting some of the ISO 27001 requirements.  

Just Ask AI: In our latest piece on AI, we dive deeper into some of its fundamentals — including the need for data inflow and computing power. Learn more here.  

For ISO 27001 and SOC 2 Certification, and Much More, Turn to Inversion6 

Navigating the complexities of cybersecurity compliance can be a daunting task, especially for organizations with limited resources or expertise. Engaging with experienced consultants who specialize in these frameworks can streamline the process and ensure a successful outcome. 

Enter Inversion6. Our team of cybersecurity experts has extensive experience guiding organizations through SOC 2, ISO 27001, NIST, PCI, CMMC, and various other compliance initiatives. We take a tailored approach, carefully evaluating your unique requirements, existing security controls, and future goals to provide customized recommendations on the most appropriate compliance path. 

Our comprehensive consulting services encompass gap assessments, policy and procedure development, control implementation, and audit preparation — ensuring your organization achieves and maintains compliance efficiently and effectively. 

Stay current with new cybersecurity frameworks and regulations with the help of the experts at Inversion6. Schedule a consultation today to discover how our expertise streamlines and optimizes the compliance journey. 

Post Written By: Damir Brescic
<p>Damir has an extensive and successful history in the cybersecurity industry, and we&rsquo;re excited to have him join the team.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>

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