SOC 2 Compliance Terms and Definitions You Should Know

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Navigating the complexities of Service Organization Control Type 2 (SOC 2) compliance is crucial for organizations that manage customer data, especially when utilizing cloud services. Understanding the key terms associated with SOC 2 not only helps in achieving compliance objectives but also in reinforcing trust and security in your organization’s practices.

SOC 2 compliance underscores a commitment to data security and privacy, a vital concern for companies in our digital age. Familiarity with its terminology enables organizations to better prepare for and navigate the compliance process, ensuring they meet the required Trust Services Criteria effectively. 

In this article, we will demystify SOC 2 terminology and provide a solid foundation for businesses working towards securing their data in accordance with these standards.

Terms and Definitions

Let’s navigate through these terms to demystify the complexities and empower your organization with the knowledge needed for successful compliance: 

  • Cloud service provider
  • Control mapping
  • FedRAMP
  • IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service
  • NIST
  • PaaS – Platform as a Service
  • PII
  • SaaS – Software as a Service
  • SAS 70
  • SOC 2
  • SOC 2 Type 1
  • SOC 2 Type 2
  • SSAE16
  • Trust Services Criteria


The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants developed the SOC framework. It sets the standards for managing and securing customer data, guiding organizations in SOC 2 compliance.

Cloud service provider

Companies offering network services, infrastructure, or business applications in the cloud, crucial in the context of SOC 2 compliance for businesses utilizing cloud computing.

Control mapping

Control mapping aligns an organization’s internal controls with the SOC 2 framework’s requirements, a critical step in preparing for SOC 2 compliance.


The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program standardizes security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services, intersecting with SOC 2 compliance in government-related cloud services.

IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service

A cloud computing form providing virtualized computing resources over the internet, relevant for organizations outsourcing their network components as part of SOC 2 compliance.


The National Institute of Standards and Technology develops standards, including frameworks that align with SOC 2 compliance, enhancing organizational security and competitiveness.

PaaS – Platform as a Service

This service offers a platform allowing customers to develop, run, and manage applications without managing the underlying infrastructure, significant for SOC 2 compliance in application development and deployment.


The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is critical for organizations handling credit card transactions, relating to SOC 2’s principles on data protection.


Personally Identifiable Information refers to data that could potentially identify a specific individual. Its protection is key in SOC 2 compliance efforts.

SaaS – Software as a Service

A software distribution model where applications are hosted by a cloud provider and made available to users over the internet, necessitating careful consideration under SOC 2 compliance for software security.

SAS 70

A historical auditing standard replaced by the SOC framework, previously used to evaluate service organization control effectiveness.


SOC 2 is a framework designed for service organizations to manage customer data based on five Trust Services Criteria—security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. It ensures that organizations follow strict information security policies and procedures.

SOC 2 Type 1

SOC 2 Type 1 report assesses the design of an organization’s controls at a specific point in time, determining if they are suitably designed to meet the Trust Services Criteria.

SOC 2 Type 2

SOC 2 Type 2 report examines the operational effectiveness of an organization’s controls over a defined period, typically a minimum of six months, providing assurance of their effective application over time.


A regulation by the AICPA that replaces SAS 70, focusing on the accuracy of a service provider’s system and the suitability of design controls.

Trust Services Criteria

The set of principles SOC 2 is built upon, including security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. There are a total of five trust services criteria in a SOC 2 audit: Security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. Get an in-depth analysis of trust services criteria here.

Understanding SOC 2 terms and definitions is vital for organizations aiming to demonstrate a strong commitment to data security and privacy. This knowledge not only facilitates the compliance process but also builds a foundation of trust with clients and stakeholders. As digital threats evolve, SOC 2 compliance remains a dynamic and critical benchmark for security excellence. Insight Assurance is here to guide you through your SOC 2 compliance journey, ensuring your practices meet these high standards of data protection and security.
Ready to enhance your organization’s security and demonstrate compliance with SOC 2 standards? Insight Assurance is here to guide you through every step of your SOC examination. Reach out to us today and take a proactive step towards securing your data and achieving SOC 2 compliance.

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