Embarking on the journey towards SOC1 or SOC2 compliance can be a daunting task, especially if it’s your organization’s first time preparing for such an audit. These audits are essential for service organizations to demonstrate their commitment to the security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of customer data. To help streamline this process, we’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist to guide you through the essential steps to prepare for your first SOC1/SOC2 audit.

Understand the Framework and Principles

  • [ ] Familiarize Yourself with SOC1/SOC2 Requirements: Understand the difference between SOC1 and SOC2 audits and determine which is applicable to your organization based on the services you provide.
  • [ ] Identify Relevant Trust Service Principles: For SOC2, identify which of the five Trust Service Principles (Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, Privacy) are relevant to your services and thus, need to be included in the audit.

Establish Governance and Documentation

  • [ ] Define an Audit Team: Assign a dedicated team or individual responsible for the audit preparation and coordination.
  • [ ] Develop Policies and Procedures: Ensure comprehensive documentation of your organization’s policies, procedures, and controls related to information security and the specific Trust Service Principles you are auditing against.
  • [ ] Document Control Activities: Clearly document the control activities that are in place to meet the defined criteria for each of the relevant Trust Service Principles.

Risk Assessment and Management

  • [ ] Perform a Risk Assessment: Conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential threats to the security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of the information you handle.
  • [ ] Implement Controls: Based on the risk assessment, ensure that appropriate controls are in place to mitigate identified risks and that they are fully operational.

Employee Training and Awareness

  • [ ] Conduct Training Sessions: Ensure that all employees are aware of the SOC1/SOC2 requirements and understand their roles and responsibilities in maintaining compliance.
  • [ ] Review and Update Training Material: Regularly update training programs to reflect changes in policies, procedures, or the regulatory environment.

Test Controls and Remediate Deficiencies

  • [ ] Perform a Readiness Assessment: Conduct an internal or third-party readiness assessment to test the effectiveness of your controls and identify any areas of weakness or non-compliance.
  • [ ] Address Gaps and Weaknesses: Remediate any identified gaps or weaknesses in your controls before the official audit.

Choose an Auditor and Schedule the Audit

  • [ ] Select a Qualified Auditor: Choose a reputable and experienced auditor familiar with SOC1/SOC2 audits in your industry.
  • [ ] Schedule the Audit: Coordinate with the auditor to schedule the audit, ensuring that it aligns with your organization’s timetable and readiness.

Prepare for the Audit

  • [ ] Organize Documentation: Ensure all necessary documentation, including policies, procedures, control descriptions, and evidence of control effectiveness, is organized and readily accessible for the auditor.
  • [ ] Review Audit Logistics: Confirm logistics such as the audit timeline, the scope of the audit, and any specific requirements or requests from the auditor.
  • [ ] Conduct a Pre-Audit Meeting: Meet with the audit team to review the scope, objectives, and expectations for the audit, addressing any questions or concerns in advance.


Preparing for your first SOC1/SOC2 audit requires meticulous planning and organization, but with the right approach, it can be a manageable process. This checklist serves as a guide to ensure that you have covered all necessary bases in your audit preparation, setting the stage for a successful audit outcome. Remember, the goal of the audit is not just to achieve compliance but to enhance your organization’s overall information security posture and demonstrate your commitment to safeguarding customer data.

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