Is SOC 2 a Certification or Accreditation?

by Trava, Cyber Risk Management

Simplify SOC 2 certification for your SaaS company with our informative breakdown. Understand its importance, benefits, and how to navigate the compliance landscape effectively.

When it comes to compliance for SaaS (Software as a Service) companies, navigating the landscape of certifications and accreditations is crucial. But it can be difficult to know where to start, especially if you’re new to the world of SaaS or haven’t had to deal with SOC 2 requirements before.

One such certification that often sparks confusion is a SOC certification—or is it SOC accreditation? Since compliance for SaaS is a multifaceted journey, understanding the nuances of certifications like SOC 2 is essential for companies aiming to safeguard their data and reputation.

In this article, we'll explore the intricacies of SOC 2, clarifying whether it's a certification or an accreditation and shedding light on its importance in the SaaS industry.

Learn more about who audits for SOC 2 attestation in our podcast episode: Audits Vs. Assessments: What's The Difference And Which Is Right For You?

Certification vs. Accreditation: What’s the Difference?

While these terms are often used interchangeably, they have distinct definitions depending on the context. While SOC 2 doesn’t always denote a mandatory security framework, achieving SOC 2 certification is a great way to demonstrate a high level of data security. It’s largely a matter of voluntary attestation rather than mandated compliance, which companies can then have verified by a third-party for added credibility. It’s this third-party attestation that ultimately “certifies” an organization with SOC 2 compliance.

What Is a SOC 2 Certification?

At its core, SOC 2 certification signifies that a SaaS company has implemented robust controls to protect a company’s systems and assets—as well as the privacy of customer data. Any company can promise security, but SOC 2 certification demonstrates a comprehensive adherence to the Trust Services Criteria, which are meant to assure stakeholders about the company's commitment to data protection and operational excellence. There are five:

  1. Security

  2. Availability

  3. Processing Integrity

  4. Confidentiality

  5. Privacy of Customer Data

Why Do We Need SOC 2 Certification?

In today's digital landscape, where data breaches and cyber threats are prevalent, SOC 2 certification serves as a beacon of trust for customers and partners. Beyond regulatory compliance, SOC 2 compliance enhances a company's reputation, instills confidence in clients, and opens doors to new business opportunities.

By investing in SOC 2 certification, organizations demonstrate their dedication to safeguarding sensitive information and maintaining the highest standards of security. Further, achieving SOC 2 compliance requires rigorous evaluation and validation of controls by accredited auditors, culminating in a comprehensive report that demonstrates adherence to industry-leading standards.

Is SOC 2 an Accreditation?

Technically, SOC 2 is a certification rather than accreditation, though this distinction is essentially splitting hairs. From a practical standpoint, it’s less important what you call it, and more important that you’re doing it—and that you’re doing it well.

What Is SOC 2 Type 2 Certification?

There are two different types of SOC 2 certification, known as SOC 2 Type I and SOC 2 Type II. The main differences between the two types relate to their scope, as well as their assessment duration. Here’s how INFOSEC differentiates between them:

  • SOC 2 Type I audits provide a snapshot of the company’s compliance status. The auditor tests one control to verify that the company’s description and design are accurate. If this is the case, the company is granted a Type 1 compliance certification.

  • SOC 2 Type II certification tests an organization’s ability to sustain compliance. The auditor tests the company’s compliance controls over a set period. If the company remains compliant over the evaluation period, then a Type 2 compliance report is granted.

Listen to this full podcast episode ⬇️

Who Needs SOC 2 Certification?

For SaaS companies, SOC 2 certification is more than just a badge of honor – it's a business imperative. The rigorous SOC 2 requirements ensure that organizations have robust controls in place to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of customer data. Whether you're a startup or an established enterprise, if you handle sensitive customer information, SOC 2 compliance should be a top priority.

Does My Company Need a SOC 2 Report?

AICPA SOC 2 Type 2 reports provide detailed insights into a company's control environment, giving clients and stakeholders assurance about the effectiveness of security measures. While SOC 2 compliance is not mandatory for all SaaS companies, it's often a prerequisite for doing business with larger enterprises and organizations in regulated industries.

Who Can Provide SOC 2 Certification?

Obtaining SOC 2 certification involves partnering with accredited audit firms or CPA (Certified Public Accountant) firms specializing in SOC 2 assessments. SOC certification cost varies depending on factors such as the complexity of systems and the scope of the assessment. Leveraging SOC 2 certification cost calculators can help organizations estimate the financial investment required to achieve compliance.

SOC 2 certification is a critical component of ensuring trust and security in the SaaS industry—not just a checkbox exercise. By understanding its role and significance, companies can navigate the compliance landscape effectively and stand apart as trustworthy partners in the digital era.

Get an insiders perspective on how Trava helps companies through their SOC 2 journey ⬇️

At Trava Security, we’ve built a robust and innovative platform for SaaS companies that are looking to enhance their cybersecurity. SaaS companies seeking guidance on SOC 2 compliance or assistance in obtaining certification shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to our team of experts today. Protect your business and earn the trust of your customers with comprehensive SOC 2 compliance solutions with Trava.


We can help!  Talk to the Trava Team and see how we can assist you with your cybersecurity needs.