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Overall, ISO 27001 is less malleable than SOC 2, a longer audit process and cycle, and requires more internal team knowledge. Let’s dive into some other differences.

Customer Location

SOC 2 applies to businesses operating in North America or doing business in North America, largely within the US.

ISO 27001 is an international standard, usually required by businesses in the European Union and the UK.

Report vs. Certification

Both SOC 2 and ISO 27001 require formal audit processes, but the end results differ.

SOC 2 Report:

At the completion of your SOC 2 audit, auditors will provide businesses with an in-depth report to share with customers, partners, and investors. This report includes a description of the system and controls to protect the data that is held or transferred through it. Most importantly, auditors will include a rating of the system’s information security posture.

ISO 27001 Certification:

In contrast, certified ISO 27001 auditors issue a 2-page certification. This includes the scope of the business’ ISMS, date of issuance and expiration, and locations of the business’ systems in-scope.

This certification does not include an in-depth analysis of the system like SOC 2; however, internal reports can be used to improve information security for future audits.

Scope and Timeline

Fortunately, SOC 2 and ISO 27001 walkthrough the same type of process to get compliant. From gap analysis, to control implementation, risk assessment, and audit, the two frameworks are fairly similar–and require many of the same types of controls.

  • SOC 2 design and implementation: 3 months
  • ISO 27001 design and implementation: 6 months
  • SOC 2 audit: 6-12 weeks, annually
  • ISO 27001 audit: internal, 3-6 weeks annually. External, 6-12 weeks every other year. 

Cost

ISO 27001 certification is a lengthy process that requires specific auditors to execute and issue the certification. The audit itself can be expensive, particularly with hiring two independent auditors for the internal audit and the formal certification audit. Expect ISO 27001 to be slightly more expensive than a SOC 2 report.