What is SOC 2 vs ISO 27001?

by | Apr 1, 2024

Safeguarding sensitive data is paramount for businesses. With rising concerns about data security, understanding and adhering to cybersecurity standards like SOC 2 and ISO 27001 has become critical. These frameworks ensure robust security practices, fostering trust and reliability among clients. This post explores the differences and similarities between SOC 2 and ISO 27001, aiding businesses in choosing the proper framework for their needs.

Understanding Compliance And Certification

Compliance and certification are pivotal cybersecurity measures for any business handling sensitive data. Compliance refers to adhering to specific guidelines or standards set by industry authorities to ensure data security and privacy. Certification is the process through which an organization proves its adherence to these standards, often through an external audit 

SOC 2 and ISO 27001 fall under this umbrella but serve different purposes. While SOC 2 is more about data management and focuses on specific criteria for service organizations, ISO 27001 takes a broader approach, setting out requirements for an overall information security management system. Understanding the distinctions and purposes of these two frameworks is crucial for businesses, as it helps select the most appropriate path for enhancing and demonstrating their commitment to cybersecurity.

What Is SOC 2?

SOC 2 (Service Organization Control 2) focuses on five Trust Service Criteria: Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy. Developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in the United States in 2010, it is tailored for service providers storing customer data in the cloud. It offers Type I and Type II reports, assessing systems’ design and operational effectiveness.

Simplify SOC 2 certification with actionable insights to help you navigate security standards and streamline compliance. Read the guide.

What Is ISO 27001?

ISO 27001 is an international standard, part of the broader ISO/IEC 27000 family, and an international Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) standard. It focuses on a risk management process that requires organizations to identify and systematically reduce their information security risks. ISO 27001 certification involves implementing comprehensive security controls following prescribed best practices.

Key Differences Between SOC 2 and ISO 27001

While SOC 2 and ISO 27001 are designed to bolster information security, they have distinct differences catering to different organizational needs. SOC 2, primarily recognized in the United States, is specifically tailored for service organizations storing customer data in the cloud. It focuses on five Trust Service Criteria: Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy. 

Conversely, ISO 27001, with its global recognition, offers a more holistic approach. It emphasizes establishing and maintaining an Information Security Management System (ISMS) and applies to any organization, regardless of size or sector. 

Additionally, the certification process for ISO 27001 tends to be more comprehensive, requiring the implementation of a broader range of controls compared to the more targeted, criteria-specific approach of SOC 2. These differences highlight the importance of aligning the choice of framework with an organization’s specific operations, client base, and geographical reach.

Choosing Between SOC 2 and ISO 27001

Whether SOC 2 or ISO 27001 is the right fit for your organization hinges on several factors, including your business model, client relationships, and geographical footprint. If your company primarily operates in the U.S. and deals with American clients, particularly in the technology or service sectors, SOC 2 is often the preferred choice due to its specific industry criteria. 

In contrast, ISO 27001 is a better fit for organizations with a more international presence or those seeking a comprehensive information security framework beyond data management. Additionally, suppose you’re looking for a standard offering a structured risk management approach across all organizational processes. In that case, ISO 27001’s emphasis on an Information Security Management System (ISMS) makes it more suitable.

The decision should align with your business’s long-term security goals and the specific requirements of your clientele, ensuring you’re not only compliant but also effectively managing and protecting critical data.

The Benefits Of SOC 2 and ISO 27001 Certification

Obtaining SOC 2 and ISO 27001 certifications offers significant advantages to organizations, enhancing their credibility and trustworthiness in managing sensitive data. For one, these certifications 

Demonstrate to clients and stakeholders a serious commitment to cybersecurity, a crucial factor in today’s data-driven business environment. SOC 2 certification, focusing on specific Trust Service Criteria, assures clients that their information is handled securely and confidentially, which is particularly important for service-based businesses.

 On the other hand, ISO 27001’s comprehensive approach to an Information Security Management System (ISMS) showcases an organization’s dedication to a broader spectrum of information security, instilling confidence in data protection and overall management of information risks. 

These certifications help secure and retain client trust and give businesses a competitive advantage, showcasing them as reliable and secure partners in an increasingly data-conscious market. Additionally, achieving these certifications helps organizations streamline their internal processes and enhance their overall security posture, leading to a more robust and efficient operation.


While both SOC 2 and ISO 27001 serve the critical function of enhancing and validating an organization’s information security practices, they cater to different needs and operational scopes. Understanding the specific attributes and applications of each can guide businesses in selecting the most suitable framework for their unique requirements.

Whether it’s SOC 2’s focus on service organizations and trust service criteria or ISO 27001’s comprehensive approach to information security management, which applies across various industries and regions, the choice boils down to what best aligns with your organization’s operations, client base, and strategic objectives.

Embracing either of these standards fortifies your cybersecurity defenses and elevates your business’s credibility in a marketplace where data security is paramount. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, staying informed and compliant with these standards will be a key differentiator and driver of success in the realm of information security.

Achieve SOC 2 certification with confidence using our guide.


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