CyberSecurity

What Is ISO 27001 Certification

Information security is one of the biggest challenges that corporations face nowadays. Although technological breakthroughs have significantly reduced security threats such as data breaches, they are not enough.

Securely handling information requires a robust risk assessment strategy that organizations must implement to enhance their security posture.

Global businesses handle tons of data every day. From employee records to financial information to vendor databases to intellectual property, they must process all kinds of data securely and effectively.

Failure to do so would lead to multiple business risks such as monetary losses, legal action, and loss of reputation. Therefore, to minimize such risks, the ISO 27001 certification was developed.

Founded in 1946, the International Standard Organization put forth a comprehensive guide for information security and data handling, known as the ISO/IEC 27001. This international information security standard was created to help businesses consolidate, integrate, supervise, and conserve their ISMS.

Unlike other standards, such as HIPAA, which solely focuses on managing specific data, ISO 27001 inculcates all forms of organizational data.

This includes handling digital information, physical records such as files and folders, and business data preserved by third parties. Besides, the ISO 27001 certification applies to any business, regardless of its type or size.

To give you deeper insights, here is everything you should know about the ISO 27001 certification.

What Is An Information Security Management System?

An information security management system is a business framework that organizes and accomplishes security controls required to ensure information security.

Corporations implement them to maintain discretion, accessibility, and integrity of information assets from identified risks.

Likewise, ISO 27001 information security management systems comprise all the security measures and access controls that involve individuals, business processes, and technology.

Its purpose is to ensure corporations stay updated through information security risk assessments and safeguard their databases via a risk management process.

What Are The Primary Foundations of ISO 27001?

The ISO 27001 standard safeguards individuals, processes, and technology through its three cornerstones: confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality refers to the protection of computer systems and organizational databases from unauthorized access. It encompasses all security controls that corporations implement for data protection. These include multi-factor authentication, data encryptions, and firewalls.

Integrity

Integrity translates to the verification of organizational data that it is accurate, credible, and complete. Typically, integrity inculcates all the processes that organizations deploy to ensure that the data is free of errors.

Availability

Availability refers to the upkeep and supervision of management systems that deal with data security. It includes all the efforts of removing holdups in security systems to keep them up and running.

In addition, availability also involves reducing vulnerabilities in security techniques by continuously making software and hardware upgrades. Decreasing data losses by creating reliable back-ups and implementing recovery solutions is also a part of this cornerstone.

What Are The ISO 27001 Clauses And Controls?

The ISO 27001 standard comprises ten management system clauses. The purpose of these clauses is to facilitate the deployment and maintenance of an ISMS. These include

  • Scope
  • Normative References
  • Terms And Definitions
  • Context
  • Leadership
  • Planning And Risk Management
  • Support
  • Operations
  • Performance Evaluation
  • Improvement

Apart from the primary clauses, the ISO 27001 mandate also documents a list of control objectives as a reference to ensure the best rehearses. These are

  • Information Security Policies
  • Organization Of Information Security
  • Human Resource Security
  • Asset Management
  • Access Control
  • Cryptography
  • Physical And Environmental Security
  • Operations Security
  • Communications Security
  • System Acquisition
  • Supplier Relationships
  • Information Security Incident Management
  • Information Security Facets of Business Continuity Management
  • Compliance

What Are Some Steps Organizations Can Take To Accomplish IS0 27001 Certification?

Achieving ISO 27001 certification can be challenging for many corporations. They must be compliant with all ISO 27001 certification requirements before becoming certified organizations.

Similarly, businesses must also implement necessary access control measures to protect their information assets. Not to mention continuous risk assessment efforts along with legal and regulatory obligations that must be followed.

Once the organization believes it has fulfilled all the ISO 27001 certification requirements, it must conduct an internal audit. Be mindful that internal audits should be undertaken before the certification audit as it allows them to commence corrective action if required.

Once certified, the corporations must conduct an annual surveillance audit to ensure they are ISO 27001 certification compliant.

Here are certain steps enterprises can adopt to maximize their chances of accomplishing ISO 27001 certification.

Bring Stakeholders On The Same Page

To achieve ISO 27001 certification, organizations must abide by all the established ISO rules and regulations. For this purpose, they must perform several changes to comply with those standards.

These changes happen from top to bottom. Therefore, determining the right stakeholders is key. The corporation’s top management has a major role in becoming ISO certified. So, they must be taken into confidence before proceeding any further.

Similarly, organizations must develop a consensus including all employees to ensure collaboration. Including employees in the decision-making process can help during the transitioning phase. Therefore, ensuring the staff is part of the implementation process and gaining feedback is necessary.

Categorize And Highlight Vulnerabilities 

Maintaining information security requires organizations to commence a comprehensive risk assessment of their ISMS. They must map out all the security controls following the ISO 27001 standard.

The idea behind risk inquiry is to highlight potential data security threats for various systems, along with any existing security lapses. The identified risks then must be ranked depending on the level of threat they pose.

Develop A Framework

After identifying and classifying potential risks, numerous security protocols must be considered to minimize them. These protocols must be stated in the organization’s security policy to guide stakeholders. Besides, it also lays the foundation for a strategic framework for information security procedures.

Establish Aims for Information Security

Conforming to the ISO 27001 standards requires organizations to establish achievable goals for information security.

They must set benchmarks and expectations while developing key performance indicators to focus on their end goals.

Deploy Security Controls

After carefully assessing potential risks, controls, and business aims, corporations must deploy security controls. This encompasses the integration of new security systems and processes within the workplace.

Remember that staff members might resist change, so organizations must encourage employees to attend security awareness training programs for successful transitioning.

Supervise And Optimize Security Processes

The evolution of business is inevitable. This evolution also translates to the systems and risks. Henceforth, corporations must supervise and optimize security processes to mitigate potential risks.

Conducting a preliminary review before the certification audit is a good practice since it unearths security lapses that might undermine the final audit.

Continue Refining The ISMS

Being compliant with the ISO 27001 certification is not a one-time show. Rather, it is a continuous process requiring businesses to constantly monitor and optimize their ISMS.

ISO 27001 requires third-party audits at predefined intervals to check if the organization conforms to the ISO standards. Be mindful that the certification only refurbishes if the external audits are successful.

What Are The Various ISO 27001 Requirements?

The ISO 27001 standard is one of the most widely accepted risk management benchmarks worldwide. Any organization that wishes to accomplish ISO 27001 certification must fulfill all the requirements that this standard mandates. These include

Documentation

Documentation is the basic requirement for organizations before achieving certification. The ISMS must document everything that it is supposed to do.

A third-party auditor can only evaluate an ISMS precisely if it states the defined goals. Therefore, it is essential that organizations must document what they do, their customer needs, and the scope of their ISMS.

Management Support

ISO 27001 standard demands that a deployed ISMS have top management support to ensure its effectiveness. To score ISO 27001 certification, auditors often assess the involvement of the top management in implementing the ISMS. Hence, corporate leaders must be assigned dedicated roles to optimize various aspects of the ISMS.

Risk Management

Organizations must document their capabilities to determine and evaluate information security risks and how they would respond to them.

The ISO 27001 certifications demand that organizations identify their goals and highlight their current plans to achieve them.

Availability Of Support Resources

Another requirement that organizations must fulfill to conform to ISO 27001 standards is ensuring the availability of support resources. This includes human expertise responsible for deploying and optimizing the ISMS regulations.

Risk Assessment

The ISO 27001 certification requires corporations to develop a framework for conducting risk assessments. It involves all the strategies and measures the organization may adopt to evaluate potential risks.

Continuous Improvements

Documenting how an organization plans to optimize its ISMS overtime is yet another requirement for conforming to the ISO 27001 mandate. Typically, it involves various steps that organizations might take to measure the effectiveness of their ISMS and correct their nonconformities.

How Businesses Can Become ISO 27001 Certified

Accomplishing the status of ‘ISO 27001 certified’ as a corporation can be a long and challenging process. It might take years for organizations to fulfill all the requirements necessary to become ISO certified.

Interestingly, the International Standard Organization is not responsible for determining whether an enterprise complies with the ISO management system standards.

Rather, third-party auditors would be assessing compliance to ensure that the company has effectively integrated all the policies by the set standards.

Be mindful that the process of becoming ISO 27001 certified is pre-established. Once the organization is ready to call upon third-party auditors or a certification body, the subsequent proceedings involve three phases.

Phase One

In the initial phase of the certification process, the external audit team carries out an extensive review of the corporation’s information security management systems.

During this phase, the external auditors or certification body determines various information security aspects of the organization.

These include key documentation such as Risk Treatment Plan, management support, and pre-defined metrics if the corporation lacks any of these aspects.

Phase Two

Once the initial information security criteria are fulfilled, the auditors move on to the next phase of the certification process. They perform a comprehensive audit that encompasses all the information security controls the organization deploys following the ISO 27001 standards.

The third-party auditors would seek evidence to ensure that the corporation effectively deploys what they documented earlier.

Phase Three

This is the final stage before the organization can become ISO 27001 certified. According to ISO, organizations must undertake annual surveillance audits to uphold ISO 27001 defiance after they achieve certification.

Although this audit process is not as arduous, non-compliance with any ISO requirements can result in the annulment of the corporation’s ISO 27001 certification.

Organizations undergo a series of regular internal audits and external assessments before they can achieve certification. Despite being a time-consuming process, ISO 27001 compliance is extremely beneficial for any organization in the long run.

Apart from mitigating information security risks, corporations can also benefit from the increased attraction of investors and overall reputation.

What Is The Cost Of Becoming ISO 27001 Certified?

The cost of becoming ISO 27001 certified varies significantly for every organization. Typically, the size and scope of the corporation and its ISMS determine the overall costs for conducting an ISO 27001 audit.

Be mindful that ISO 27001 conformity is often associated with additional costs, such as security training and hiring new employees. Not to mention the costs incurred for commencing the audit.

On average, organizations spend up to $40,000 on pre-certification arrangements. These expenses are further extended by $10,000 required for audit while an additional $15,000 for surveillance audits and maintenance.

What Are The Benefits Of ISO 27001 Certification?

Organizations that are ISO 27001 certified can enjoy multiple benefits. These are

  1. ISO 27001 certification facilitates businesses in determining security lapses and vulnerabilities in their security system. It allows them to safeguard confidential data, minimize information security costs, and enhance cybersecurity.
  2. Organizations that comply with the ISO 27001 standard convey a strong message to their stakeholders. It gives the impression that the corporation is considerate about data handling and implements a systematic approach to data protection. Consequently, it increases a sense of trust among their clients and customers.
  3. Being ISO 27001 certified means, the corporation is professionally and regularly assessed by certification bodies to ensure that the deployed security system is extremely effective.
  4. Businesses that comply with the ISO 27001 standard find it easier to conform with other risk management frameworks. These include GDPR, HIPAA, and NIST SP 800 series.

Bottom Line

Conforming to the ISO 27001 standard is no less than a challenge. However, the reward can be sweet. Clients and customers nowadays are increasingly fretful about the data handling capabilities of organizations. Therefore, by accomplishing ISO 27001 compliance, businesses can display their dedication toward data security, thus increasing their credibility.

Derik Belair

As President and CEO, Derik leads the vision, strategy and growth of Augmentt. Prior to founding Augmentt, Derik was the Vice President at SolarWinds, leading the digital marketing strategy for SolarWinds’ Cloud division. Derik has been working in the channel for over 20 years, starting his career as a channel sales rep at Corel Corp. and eventually becoming the first employee at N-able Technologies in April of 2000.

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