SOC 2 vs SOC 3: Key Differences


Vector Representation of Soc 2 vs Soc 3
Key Differences between SOC 2 and SOC 3 Standards

If you’re running a SaaS business or a technology business leveraging cloud services, having a strong security posture is now critical for signing up new clients. Applying infosec security measures to your system is not enough. You need compliance certifications too!


Here’s where SOC (System and Organization Controls) compliance comes into the picture. SOC is a set of standard compliances for service organizations developed by AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants). The various SOC audits - SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 define how organizations should manage customer data.


However, when choosing which SOC report would be needed for your organization, the options can confuse you a bit. Moreover, many questions arise when you need to choose between SOC 2 vs. SOC 3 report. In this blog, we will walk you through all the differences between SOC 2 and SOC 3, along with helping you to decide which one to choose for your business.


SOC 2 and SOC 3 Overview


The SOC 2 and SOC 3 compliance reports are supervised according to AT Section 101 by referring to the AICPA audit guide. Although they are usually referred to as certificates, they are attestation examinations. SOC2 and SOC 3 require service organizations to satisfy the five trust service Criteria (TSCs) laid by AICPA. The trust principles include - Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, or Privacy.


Hence, both SOC 2 and SOC 3 examinations rely on the service organization designing and managing their controls to meet those TSCs.


A SOC 2 audit involves a restricted-to-use report, implying that only the management, customers, and specific prospects can access it. While SOC 3 audit, on the other hand, is meant to be distributed to various parties. SOC 3 is a much smaller report consisting of a brief narrative providing a background of the service organization.


What is the Difference Between a SOC 2 Report and a SOC 3 Report?


Preparing the SOC 2 and SOC 3 reports is similar for the auditor. AICPA trust service principles drive both examinations. However, the reporting is the main difference between SOC 2 and SOC 3.

SOC 2

SOC 3


  • SOC 2 report is further categorized into Type I - describes the procedures & controls and Type II - How those controls are operated over a period of time



  • SOC 3 report is always a Type II and does not have the option for Type I


  • Restricted to use reports consisting of controls specified by AICPA’s Trust Service Criteria (TSC)



  • General use report that can be distributed publicly



  • Involves security, availability, processing integrity, privacy and confidentiality



  • Auditor’s testing of controls is not defined in the report



  • SOC 2 report is shared only with clients and other stakeholders on demand



  • SOC 3 reports can be posted on the website by service organizations



  • Suitable SOC 2 audit should be chosen that fits service organization’s needs



  • Helpful tools for marketing to prospects



When To Get a SOC 2?

Modern organizations care about data privacy and safety, and there is no reason they shouldn’t. If you are running a service business handling tons of critical user and business data, your prospects will probably ask you for SOC 2 report. It’s better to start now than later and build the trust and credibility to land more big clients for your business.


When To Get a SOC 3?

A SOC 3 report is ideally created for those who seek assurance regarding the controls related to the five TSCs of an organization in place. In other words, SOC 3 consists of the same information as SOC 2 but is presented in a way suitable for the general audience. SOC 3 reports do not consist of an auditor’s description of the system.


You should get a SOC 3 report anytime you want to add to your organization’s marketing tools. SOC 3 audit is usually a magnet for prospects seeking third-party validation for your services.


Fast Track Your SOC 2 Compliance With Scrut Automation

Getting SOC 2 compliant can be overwhelming if you run a fast-growing SaaS organization. Managing and performing repeated tasks manually can get tedious and diverts your focus from business and growth. Investing so extensively of your valuable time and workforce can be immensely expensive for your organization, and it can delay your growth journey too!


Scrut Automation is a smart and radically simple Governance, Risk, and Compliance automation platform for growing startups and mid-market enterprises. With Scrut, Compliance teams can reduce ~70% of their manual effort in continuously maintaining compliance towards SOC 2, ISO 27001, GDPR, PCI DSS, and privacy laws like HIPAA, GDPR, and CCPA. Schedule your demo today to see how it works.


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