SOC 2 Bridge Letter? + Templates & Examples

Organizations utilize a SOC 2 bridge letter, or a gap letter or comfort letter, to explain the coverage period between the end of their most recent SOC 2 report and the present. It’s beneficial for ensuring ongoing compliance with SOC 2 rules during due diligence procedures or when clients request it.

What is a SOC 2 Bridge Letter?

Between compliance audit review periods, how do you reassure your SaaS company’s stakeholders, customers, and workers that their data is secure and private?

Could you provide them with a SOC 2 Bridge Letter?

After the SOC 2 report audit period for your company or organization has concluded, a SOC 2 bridge letter is sent. It’s also known as a “gap letter” because it fills in the space between when your previous SOC 2 report audit ends and when you’re prepared to perform your next audit.

A SOC 2 bridge letter is sent following the conclusion of your company’s or organization’s SOC 2 report audit period. Because it bridges the gap between the conclusion of your previous SOC 2 report audit and the time you’ll need to conduct your next audit, it’s also referred to as a “gap letter”.

Crafting a SOC 2 Bridge Letter: Key Components

Writing a practical Bridge Letter requires clarity, precision, and adherence to specific structural elements:

  1. Introduction: Briefly describe the letter’s purpose and the organization’s commitment to SOC 2 compliance.
  2. Background: Provide context about the most recent SOC 2 audit, including the period it covered.
  3. Assurance Statement: State clearly that the organization has adhered to the SOC 2 criteria since the last audit report.
  4. Any Changes to Controls: If there have been any changes to the controls since the last report, describe them briefly and how they continue to meet SOC 2 requirements.
  5. Closing: Reiterate the organization

 

Who Writes and Issues a SOC 2 Bridge Letter?

Management of the company that received the previous SOC 2 report is responsible for completing and sending the SOC 2 Bridge Letter to its stakeholders—not to the auditor.

The letter aims to reassure all intended recipients that there have been no significant changes to your SaaS company’s controls between audit renewal periods. Should there be material changes, the SOC 2 Bridge Letter serves as the medium to explain any changes to your controls and how these changes do not negatively impact the SOC 2 report’s results.

It’s important to note that the CPA firm conducting the SOC 2 audit does not participate in creating or distributing a SOC 2 Bridge Letter. The bridge letter’s primary goal is to attest that privacy and security compliance for clients, stakeholders, and employees remains intact post-audit. Suppose any changes to the company’s security services occur after the SOC 2 report is finalized. In that case, the CPA firm cannot verify compliance with new changes after the audit period.

Why are Bridge Letters Important?

Bridge letters are a crucial component of your SOC 2 compliance program. Providing written assurance to your customers and stakeholders about your ongoing compliance after the SOC 2 report is essential. It instills confidence and peace of mind, ensuring their information remains secure and private and that trust service commitments and requirements continue to be fulfilled. This practice underscores the importance of transparency and trust in maintaining strong business relationships and upholding the highest data protection and security standards.

SOC 2 Bridge Letter Templates & Examples

Three SOC 2 bridge letter samples as of April 20, 2024 that are customized for various fictitious situations are provided below:

Sample 1: General Update

Dear [Client/Partner Name],

I hope this letter finds you well. As part of our ongoing commitment to maintaining the highest security and compliance standards, we are writing to update you on our current SOC 2 compliance status.

Our most recent SOC 2 Type II report covers the period from [start date] to [end date]. We are completing our subsequent SOC 2 Type II examination, which we expect to finalize by [expected completion date].

In the interim, we assure you that we have continued to uphold the stringent controls and processes verified in our last SOC 2 report. There have been no significant changes in our control environment that would materially impact our SOC 2 compliance.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require further information or have any questions.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]
[Your Title]
[Your Contact Information]

Sample 2: Addressing a Specific Inquiry

Dear [Client/Partner Name],

Thank you for your inquiry regarding our SOC 2 compliance status. We understand the importance of continuous compliance to your organization and are committed to transparency in our processes.

Our latest SOC 2 Type II report concluded on [end date], and we are scheduling our next examination. Despite the absence of a current report, please be assured that we have maintained all necessary controls and procedures as outlined in our previous SOC 2 report without significant changes or disruptions.

We take our commitment to data security and privacy seriously and have implemented additional measures to ensure the integrity of our systems and processes during this period. These measures include [briefly describe any new controls or enhancements].

We anticipate the completion of our next SOC 2 Type II report by [expected completion date] and will promptly share the results with your team.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any further concerns or need additional details.

Best regards,

[Your Name]
[Your Title]
[Your Contact Information]

Sample 3: Proactive Communication Before Report Completion

Dear Valued Client,

As part of our dedication to maintaining a robust security and compliance framework, we wish to update you on our SOC 2 compliance journey proactively.

Following the conclusion of our last SOC 2 Type II report on [end date], we have rigorously applied and monitored the control activities that were audited during our previous examination period. We are currently preparing for our next SOC 2 Type II audit, which is aimed at reinforcing our commitment to security excellence.

Please rest assured that our internal reviews and monitoring indicate that our control environment remains strong and fully aligned with SOC 2 requirements. Since the last report, we have not identified any significant changes or lapses in our controls.

We value your trust in our services and are committed to upholding the highest security and compliance standards. We look forward to sharing our next SOC 2 report upon its completion, which is expected by [expected completion date].

Please do not hesitate to contact us for any queries or further information.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]
[Your Title]
[Your Contact Information]

Conclusion

The SOC 2 Bridge Letter is a vital tool in the arsenal of service organizations committed to demonstrating ongoing compliance with SOC 2 standards. By effectively communicating the continuous effectiveness of security controls outside of the formal audit period, organizations can reinforce their dedication to data protection and build stronger relationships with their clients.

FAQ:

Do SOC 2 reports have bridge letters?

Yes, organizations can issue SOC 2 bridge letters. These letters are a communication tool to inform stakeholders of the current status of the organization’s internal controls between the period covered by the last SOC 2 report and the present date. They are particularly useful when the next SOC 2 audit is in process or when it is necessary to assure clients and partners of continued compliance with SOC 2 requirements.

What is the purpose of a bridge letter?

The primary purpose of a bridge letter is to assure clients, partners, and other stakeholders that an organization continues to maintain the internal controls and comply with the standards outlined in its most recent SOC 2 report, even though the period covered by that report has ended. It bridges the information gap between the end of the last report and the current date, ensuring stakeholders that the organization’s commitment to security and compliance remains solid and unchanged.

What is the maximum period of a bridge letter?

No strict “maximum period” is defined for a SOC 2 bridge letter, depending on the organization’s audit cycle and specific circumstances. However, keeping the period covered by a bridge letter as short as possible is generally advisable. Typically, organizations undergo annual SOC 2 audits, so the bridge period might range from a few days to several months, depending on when the last audit was completed and when the next is scheduled. Extending beyond a year could raise concerns among stakeholders about the currency and relevance of the organization’s controls.

What is a SOC 1 letter?

A SOC 1 letter refers to a report generated from a SOC 1 audit, officially known as a Report on Controls at a Service Organization Relevant to User Entities’ Internal Control over Financial Reporting (ICFR). Unlike SOC 2 reports, which focus on non-financial reporting controls related to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy, SOC 1 reports specifically address internal control over financial reporting. SOC 1 reports are essential for service organizations that provide services which could impact their clients’ financial statements. There are two types of SOC 1 reports: Type I, which evaluates the suitability of the design of controls at a specific point in time, and Type II, which assesses the effectiveness of these controls over a defined period.