March 12, 2024

SOC 2 Compliance Requirements: Examples, Use Cases + More

Security & Compliance

SOC 2 compliance requirements (Service Organization Controls Type 2) ensure that customer data stays private and secure — essential for any business that stores or processes sensitive data. In this blog, we’ll explore the specifics of SOC 2 compliance, and provide a solution to help you automate and enforce SOC 2 compliance going forward. 

Table of Contents: 

What Are SOC 2 Compliance Requirements?

Developed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), SOC 2 compliance requirements set your business apart by demonstrating a commitment to the five pillars of data security: security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy.

At its core, SOC 2 is a framework that helps service organizations prove that they have proper controls to prevent data from being mishandled. Proactivity is key here, with defined access controls that prevent external attacks, the misuse of data, and leaks of company or customer information. For third-party service providers storing and processing customer data, the risks are high — it’s more than just about a reputation, it’s about operating with confidence and staying secure against ongoing threats. 

SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 are all different types of reports that demonstrate an organization's adherence to security and control standards. They differ in their focus and target audience: 

  • SOC 1: Focuses on internal controls related to financial reporting. This report is most likely used by companies that need to assure auditors and creditors that their financial controls are sound. 
  • SOC 2: Addresses a broad range of controls. SOC 2 is ideal for organizations that handle customer data since it gives clients confidence that their data is protected. 
  • SOC 3: This is a simplified version of a SOC 2 report, intended for a general audience. It is often used as a marketing tool to showcase an organization's commitment to security. 

SOC 2 compliance is not necessarily required — it’s a way to prove to clients and business partners that you’ve integrated security controls into your corporate DNA. These customers want you to feel confident that you have risk management and change management controls in place, and that you evaluate them on a recurring basis (i.e., SOC Type 2). 

SOC 2’s high standard of data security is built around five Trust Services Criteria (TSC): 

  1. Security — Data is protected against unauthorized access (both physical and logical) 
  2. Availability — Systems remain online and operate reliably 
  3. Processing Integrity — Processing is complete, valid, accurate, timely, and authorized 
  4. Confidentiality — Information designated as confidential is protected by limiting its access, storage, and use 
  5. Privacy —Information is safeguarded from unauthorized access while ensuring it is collected, used, retained, disclosed, and disposed of in conformity to the privacy notice 

During a SOC 2 audit, an independent auditor from a CPA firm accredited by the AICPA will evaluate the company’s security posture against one or all of the Trust Services Criteria. Security is always included as a mandatory element of compliance and is sometimes called the Common Criteria. The other four TSC Criteria are considered optional or best practices and are not required to achieve compliance

Aside from the Security Criteria, the other TSC requirements may differ depending on the organization and their needs as some industries (like financial services) deal more frequently with sensitive data. 

Comparing SOC 2 Type 1 vs. SOC 2 Type 2 Reports 

There are two kinds of reports for SOC 2 — Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 covers compliance at a specific point in time, while Type 2 is an assessment of how your security controls function over time. It’s important to know which Type is applicable for your business, although both deal with the management and protection of customer data by third-party providers. 

Here’s how they differ: 


SOC 2 Type 1 Report

SOC 2 Type 2 Report


An evaluation of an organization’s current security standards at a specific point in time 

Examines an organization’s security processes and controls over an ongoing period of time 

Completion Time


3-12 Months 

Who Need to Comply?

Organizations who need to quickly prove to customers that they are secure and trustworthy, either because they are new, or they have recently made changes to their security systems 

Organizations that need to provide in-depth assurance to customers that they can keep data safe over time while using a more mature security system 

Pros and Cons

Less expensive and fast, but you will likely need to upgrade to Type 2 compliance later 

Requires more time and money, but is industry-recognized and likely only requires a single audit 

Which Trust Services Criteria Should You Follow? 

As we mentioned — the Security TSC is non-negotiable. You won’t be able to pass a SOC 2 audit until you can prove that your system is protected against external attacks. But what about the other criteria? Which applies to your business? We’ll dive into each: 


This focuses on safeguarding information from unauthorized access and other security threats. It ensures a service organization has robust controls in place to protect its systems and the data it handles. The other four Trust Services Criteria (Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy) are optional for SOC 2 compliance. However, including them in your audit demonstrates a more comprehensive commitment to security and can significantly boost trust with your clients. 


Availability focuses on ensuring your systems are reliable and accessible whenever needed, minimizing downtime in case of disruptions — it’s essentially a contingency plan for your data. If you offer services that require constant access like continuous delivery or cloud computing and storage, and an outage would prevent your clients from accessing data, Availability should be an important standard for your SOC 2 compliance. 

Processing Integrity

Processing Integrity checks if a system functions correctly. This means it completes its intended tasks without delays, errors, missing steps, or accidental changes, and is important for businesses that deal with financial reporting or handle e-commerce transactions. 

It's important to distinguish this from data integrity. A system can work perfectly even with bad data. For instance, an e-commerce system might allow a customer to complete an order with an incorrect address. In this case, the processing integrity works fine - the order went through. However, data integrity fails because the address is wrong — which is why data integrity should also be a consideration for Processing. 


The Confidentiality TSC protects your organization's confidential information. This means limiting who can access it, where it's stored, and how it's used. Think of it as a system for drawing clear lines around sensitive data. If your organization deals with passwords, intellectual property, or internal financial information, it’s important to stay SOC 2 Confidentiality compliant. 


The Privacy TSC is different from Confidentiality because it covers the collection, use, retention, and disposal of customer or employee personally identifiable information (PII), and other data related to personal information. This applies to any organization that handles personal information, especially PII like a physical address, Social Security numbers, credit card data, and email addresses. The Privacy TSC must follow the AICPA’s Generally Accepted Privacy Principles. 

Your company might work with other corporations and require the Confidentiality TSC, but not Privacy. You might also have a business need for stronger Availability than companies that operate within a set range of hours — all of this makes the TSCs customizable to your specific needs (Security aside, of course). 

Automating SOC 2 Compliance 

Achieving SOC 2 Compliance starts with determining whether you are pursuing the specific requirements of a Type 1 or Type 2 report, and then assessing which of the TSCs you will adhere to. You will need to enforce security controls as you prepare for an audit and, in the case of a Type 2 report, continue to remediate compliance drift over time. SOC audits should occur at least annually as reports are considered ‘stale’ after about 12 months and are of limited use to potential customers. 

One option for tackling the burden of continual enforcement is by automating compliance activities — saving time by eliminating the manual effort associated with repetitive compliance tasks like drift correction. 

Puppet’s Compliance Enforcement incorporates the latest compliance recommendations and enforces your desired state based on expert-crafted security standards published by the Center for Internet Security (CIS) and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Available for Puppet Enterprise and Open Source Puppet, Compliance Enforcement provides continuous, customized compliance that meets SOC 2 requirements and many more. 

Here’s just one customer story about how ANZ Bank uses Puppet to ensure compliance for 22 regulatory bodies across 7,000+ servers. 

How can Puppet help your specific SOC 2 needs and TSCs? Our team can help assess your requirements and make adhering to SOC 2 compliance that much easier: