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Let’s begin with the complete title of what’s referred to as ISO 27001. It is officially known as “ISO/IEC 27001." If you're looking to have your company certified, you'll need to meet ISO 27001 criteria of eligibility. The ISO 27000 family of standards includes ISO 27002, ISO27005, and ISO 27001; it has an extensive reference library of associated guidance materials.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) developed this Information Security Management standard in 2005. It ensures organizations successfully manage data security concerns and helps them establish and sustain an effective ISMS through continuous improvement. Upon certification, you'll quickly identify information security risks and implement procedures and policies to handle them.

Is ISO 27001 new to you? Do you want additional information about the information security standard? ISO27001 certification has grown in popularity due to the rising tide of public concern over data security breaches. In a 2017 ISO study, researchers noted a 19 percent rise in certifications.

If you want to know more about ISO and how to get an ISO 27001 certification, keep reading below.

Differences Between ISO 27001 And NIST CSF

The differences between ISO 27001 and NIST CSF are significant. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides federal agencies and enterprises guidance to manage risk better. 

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) is a technique for self-certification, if applicable, namely “Certificate of Analysis and a Material Safety Data Sheet” with every SRM. To qualify for NIST certification, your product will be tested against NIST SRM (standard reference materials). 

ISO 27001, on the other hand, is a method for developing and maintaining an information security management system (ISMS) that has gained international recognition. Audits and certification bodies are required to meet the requirements of ISO 27001, while the NIST CSF is optional.

A variety of control catalogs and five functions allow NIST frameworks to tailor cybersecurity controls to the organization's needs. Alternatively, ISO 27001 emphasizes risk-based management and provides best practices to keep information secure. The ISO 27001 standard comprises 14 control categories, 114 controls, and ten management clauses in Annex A.

Operational maturity firms might consider the ISO 27001 certification. NIST CSF is best suited for firms in the early phases of building a cybersecurity risk policy or attempting to minimize breaches.

Effectiveness Of ISO 27001

ISO 27001 prevents or reduces real-world information security incidents. When a framework has been adopted and certified, it aims to identify its practice areas, leading to high stakeholder certainty. It also focuses on loopholes that contribute to information security risks and incidents even when the framework is followed and certified. 

Companies with ISO 27001 certification and audits benefit from a better risk-based approach to cybersecurity management, focusing on proactive countermeasures and increasing their overall security through extensive ISO testing. By using one system instead of two, organizations can demonstrate effective internal control over financial operations and improve information security concerns.

The Advantages And Disdavtanges Of Obtaining ISO 27001 Certification?

The only disadvantage of obtaining ISO 27001 certification is the additional cost of the extra work. On the other hand, it has numerous advantages for your company. The following are some of the benefits that your company will receive:

  • Ensured organizational safety by closing any security gaps.
  • Decreased volume of cyberattacks.
  • Streamlined compliance with regulations
  • A significant advantage over competitors
  • New opportunities.
  • Reputation protection
  • Decreased frequency of audit requirements 
  • Help with retaining customers
  • Quality assurance

Step-By-Step Process Plan Of The ISO 27001 

You must pass audits to get ISO 27001 certification. Here's how to prepare and pass your certification exam.

Step One: Prepare A Project Plan

Check who oversees the process, sets expectations, and manages milestones? How will you convince company leaders? Are you seeking an ISO 27001 consultant to help?

A significant element of this procedure is learning ISO 27001's 114 controls. 

Step Two: Determine The Scope Of Your ISMS

Every company is different and has its respective statistics. Your ISMS will need to safeguard specific types of data, which you will need to identify beforehand.

Some companies' ISMSs cover the whole company. Others limit it to a single department or system. Your team must decide what to include in the ISO 27001 scope statement.

Begin by questioning yourself: "Which service, product, or platform are our clients most interested in for ISO 27001?"

Step Three: Analyze Risks And Gaps

ISO 27001 needs a formal risk assessment. You should document every step of your risk assessment.

Start with your security baseline. What legal, regulatory, and contractual duties does your firm have? The ISO consultant can help identify gaps and provide a remedy plan.

Experts who have worked with enterprises like yours can help you comply. They can also assist you in creating security best practices.

Step Four: Policy And Control Design And Implementation

Now that you've recognized threats, determine how your organization will respond to them: which risks can you afford to ignore and which must you address?

Your auditor will analyze your risk management decisions during your ISO 27001 certification assessment. As part of your audit evidence, you'll need to provide a Statement of Applicability and a Risk Treatment Plan.

The Statement of Applicability indicates which ISO 27001 controls and policies apply to your company. A certification audit begins with an examination of this document.

A Risk Treatment Plan is an ISO 27001 requirement. It details how your company will deal with a threat identified in your risk assessment.

As per ISO 27001 standard outline, these are the steps:

  • Define your risks
  • List all Information assets
  • Check for weaknesses and threats
  • Evaluate risks
  • Lower risks by preventing their occurrence
  • Generate risk report
  • Review risk reports, make audits, and monitor perceived risks

After that, you'll develop rules and procedures to address identified threats. Your policies should require multi-factor authentication and locked workstations when employees leave.

Step Five: Employee Training

Organizations must train all employees in ISO 27001 requirements and information security best practices. This step ensures everyone in your company knows data security and their role in attaining and sustaining compliance.

Step Six: Document And Collect Evidence

Obtaining your certification requires demonstrating that you have implemented the appropriate processes for an ISMS that complies with ISO 27001.

You'll need to provide your auditor with proof that the company and its employees followed the procedures. In this list, you'll find:

  • The Information Security Management System's scope
  • Methods for evaluating and treating potential risks
  • Policy and ambitions for information security
  • Treatment Strategy for Potential Risks
  • Applicability Statement
  • The definition of security jobs and responsibilities
  • Risk evaluation and treatment report
  • Policy for limiting access
  • A list of all the things you own
  • Acceptable asset utilization
  • Security measures implemented by the supplier
  • IT management operating procedures
  • Principles of secure system engineering
  • Processes for ensuring business continuity
  • Procedure for handling incidents
  • Results being monitored and measured
  • Compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and agreements
  • Records of education, training, work experience, and other credentials
  • The findings of a management review
  • The outcomes of the internal audit program
  • User activity logs, as well as exceptions and security incidents
  • Measures to remedy unsatisfactory performance

Step 7: Conduct An Audit For ISO 27001 Certification

Your organization must conduct an internal audit before submitting to an ISO audit by an external auditor. An internal audit comprises a thorough assessment of your company's ISMS. It is one of the most effective methods to guarantee that your company’s ISMS is running successfully and is in compliance with the ISO 27001 standard.

Two stages form the external audit. The auditor will first check your ISMS documents to ensure you have the appropriate policies and procedures. After that, an external auditor will examine your ISMS to ensure it satisfies ISO 27001 requirements in this phase. In Stage 2, the auditor will review business processes and security measures.

After Stages 1 and 2, you'll receive a three-year ISO 27001 certification.

Step Eight: Maintain Consistent Compliance

ISO 27001 emphasizes improvement. You must analyze and review your ISMS to ensure its effectiveness. And as your firm grows and new vulnerabilities will emerge. So, you'll need to update processes and controls.

As part of ongoing monitoring, ISO 27001 requires internal audits. Before an external audit, internal auditors search for process and policy gaps and improvement possibilities.

Cost And Timeline For ISO 27001 Certification

As with a SOC 2 audit, the cost of attaining ISO 27001 certification depends on the number of employees and the organization's size since it affects the audit's duration. ISO 27001 certification expenses can range from $6–10K for small businesses to upwards of $25K for big corporations.

Implementing an ISMS based on ISO 27001 might be a lengthy process involving numerous activities and individuals, depending on the organization's size. Structured approaches and well-defined scopes of work will help your firm implement ISO 27001 promptly and sustainably.

You must complete a full ISO 27001 audit every three years to maintain your accreditation. For your ISMS and deployed controls to continue to work effectively, ISO expects surveillance audits in years two and three. An external audit firm must conduct your organization's ISMS during those years. Once you establish your ISMS, you must maintain and improve it or risk compromising your ISO certification and blowing your surveillance audit.

ISO 27001 certification doesn't end information security management. It can develop and adapt with your organization, helping to keep your information secure as it evolves and potential challenges emerge.

Comparison Between ISO 27001 and CMMC

If your organization participates in Department of Defense (DoD) contracts, you presumably know about the new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) requirements, which will launch in 2025. The CMMC will substantially impact their ability to meet many companies' NIST 800-171 self-attestation requirements.

Here is a comparison between ISO 27001 and CMMC compliance.

Key Differences

The ISO and the IEC jointly developed the ISO/IEC 27000 series as an international standard for various organizations, not just the government sector. As a result, there are government-specific needs in CMMC, but ISO/IEC 27000 family does not have any of those criteria.

Commonalities

An organized security program, a codified risk assessment methodology, and customized security controls are all part of these guidelines. Given that such a significant portion of CMMC is derived from the NIST controls, it is inevitable that there will be a substantial amount of overlap with the ISO/IEC 27000 family.

Should You Have Both Or Choose Between Them?

Many organizations find it best to pursue both of them, mainly because the ISO 27001 certification can serve as a basis for implementing essential CMMC components and best practices.

To fulfill the standards of the CMMC, you could require more resources, along with more tools and technology, and there will be a large amount of overlap between CMMC and ISO 27001. As a result, many businesses may find that making a parallel certification effort saves them both money and time. However, it takes significant planning on your part.

Comparison Of CMMC, NIST, and ISO/IEC 27001 Differences

With the CMMC standard, you ensure your firm is protected while working with government agencies and handling sensitive data. The NIST CSF and ISO/IEC 27001 standards cover non-sensitive data, which any enterprise can use.

The NIST framework is more adaptable than CMMC and ISO standards because it has a highly segmented structure that makes it simple to learn, customize, and implement. This system focuses on voluntary compliance and self-certification, with no formal certification of conformity required.

Compared to ISO/IEC 27001 and NIST standards, CMMC is far more secure and stringent. When it comes to data security, CMMC is unique in that it demands different security levels based on the intensity of the data that a contractor is responsible for handling.

The ISO/IEC 27001 standard is a well-established security architecture that has gained widespread acceptance worldwide. NIST initially designed its framework to help U.S. agencies and businesses better manage risk. In the same way, the DoD established the CMMC framework to enhance the security of regulated data in the United States.

Connect With CyberSaint To Achieve ISO 27001 Compliance

Even though these leading organizations primarily created these security frameworks to secure various data, they share standard security rules. You can determine the best framework for your business by the regulations that apply to it.

The good news is that by making adjustments and establishing methods for compliance with one framework, you'll also be bringing your firm closer to meeting numerous other cybersecurity criteria.

CyberSaint has a proven track record of conducting risk assessment and remediation activities and access to the automation necessary to increase efficiency in compliance programs.

To help our customers acquire certification, we work closely with them to develop and implement plans to remedy any ISMS deficiencies we discover. It's a win-win situation for your organization if you collaborate with CyberSaint for all of your ISO 27001 preparation and certification requirements. For more information on how CyberSaint can streamline your compliance, contact us.

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