Every company faces a variety of unique information security challenges. To answer these challenges, ISO 27001, one of the world’s most popular information security standards, was created. Formally known as ISO/IEC 27001:2005, it is an information security management system or ISMS. It provides a framework of procedures and policies which include the legal, physical, and technical controls for an organization’s information risk management processes. The goal of ISO 27001 is to provide a model for implementing, operating, monitoring, maintaining, and updating an ISMS.
Completing ISO 27001 certification will have numerous benefits for your company. It will demonstrate a robust business model, a future-proofed organization, and superior ISMS.
A growing number of customers and other stakeholders care about how their sensitive and important information is handled. The risks of a data breach are high. Your customers cannot ‘take your word for it.’ They need assurance that their data will be handled with the utmost care and security. ISO 27001 certification provides that assurance. It will help you retain your customers and give you a competitive advantage when pursuing new business.
If you are a global company, chances are you are doing business in regions like Europe that impose steep fines for data breaches. For example, under GDPR, you could face up to a 4% fine over the annual turnover for security lapses. While a hefty fine can be ruinous, even a small fine or a warning can cause harm to the reputation of your company.
Going through the process of ISO 27001 will help improve your security-related documentation and ensure your staff has clear procedures to follow to keep data safe. It requires you to put the framework in place procedures for change management, development, testing, and operations environments, malware controls, and data backup. ISO 27001 demonstrates you have planned for any possible attacks and have a business continuity plan in place.
Your organization will have regulatory and contractual obligations to the data it stores on customers’ behalf. ISO 27001 requires you to document how your organization approaches these obligations. Thus, letting stakeholders know the business is future-proofed.
The process for ISO 27001 certification can take up to several years and involve multiple stakeholders both within your organization and externally. You will need a formal approach, and before beginning the process, your ISMS must be fully mature and cover all areas of risk. You must build trust before and throughout the certification process. The process itself is divided into three phases:
ISO 27001 is broken down into 12 separate sections, including scope, leadership, planning, performance evaluations, improvement, and more. Fourteen different controls are then audited for certification.
This covers and reviews how policies should be written in the ISMS.
The parts of your organization that are responsible for what tasks and actions must be demonstrated.
This covers how to inform employees about cybersecurity when starting, leaving, or changing positions.
You must describe your processes for managing data assets and how they are protected and secured.
This provides guidance on employee access to different types of data.
Best practices for encryption must be put into place and will be reviewed.
Show how your organization secures buildings and internal equipment.
You must show that your data is collected and stored securely.
This covers the security of all the transmissions, email, chat, or videoconferencing, in your network.
Your systems must be managed in an environment with a high standard of security.
Interactions with third parties must be secure as well.
You must demonstrate how your organization will respond to security issues and have best practices in place.
You must show how major change and business disruptions will be handled.
Government or industry regulations relevant to your organization must be identified, and you must be in full compliance.
While the ISO 27001 certification can be arduous and take many years, most companies find it is well worth it. There is a significant ROI once completed, especially when customers rely on your business to secure their data, or you must meet a regulation.
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