We live in uncertain times where information security breaches are a regular practice. Security teams and professionals all across the globe are duty-bound to take measures to decrease the risk associated with security breaches.
One of the best and most effective ways to reduce the risk of security breaches is by complying with ISO 27001. You might ask: what is ISO 27001? ISO 27001 is an international standard for managing information security, created to help organizations, regardless of industry or size. It demarcates stipulations for Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) and aims to provide certification claiming that the company’s ISMS meets ISO 27001 standards. It is one of the most popular information security standards where independent accredited certification is recognized globally. The number of certificates has shown a spiking 450% increase in the past ten years.
Answering questions like “how to get an ISO 27001 certification” and “implementing an ISO 27001” requires an in-depth understanding of information security systems. Please note that gaining ISO 27001 certification isn’t an easy process but rather challenging for most interested parties. But earning ISO 27001 certification is worth the effort. If your company wants to invest and improve its information security position, then it must understand ISO 27001. This guide will explore all the necessary background information about standardization and ways of implementing ISO 27001.
What Is ISO 27001?
ISO 27001 is an international standard published jointly by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 2005. Its officially known as ISO/IEC 27001:2013. After eight years, in 2013, the standard was revised with elements focusing on improving the information security management system (ISMS) and ultimately replaced the 2005 iteration. An ISMS offers a framework of various procedures and policies designed to cover all aspects of a business’s technical, physical, and legal controls and helps manage risk.
Moreover, according to the certification, the ISO and IEC created ISO 27001 to equip companies with a prototype covering the ISMS’s monitoring, developing, implementing, operating, reviewing, and improving aspects. Additionally, risk management forms the cornerstone of an ISO 27001, providing risk valuations outlining which security controls and tools to implement and sustain.
In a nutshell, ISO 27001 certification ensures a company’s information systems and assets are secure and fully protected. Companies interested in earning ISO 27001 certification must comply with the standardization rulebooks and pass a stringent audit. Its best practices allow organizations to identify significant risks in their information system. Furthermore, it enables the business to implement a structured approach to achieving external assessment and certification compliance.
Integrating frameworks and standards like the NIST RMF (Risk Management Framework) and NIST CSF (Cybersecurity Framework) can extend the ISO 27001. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory agency supporting the promotion and preservation of security measures. These methods boost the overall business and cyber and IT risk management processes. All of the NIST frameworks are pretty flexible and voluntary; hence, it's much easier to implement them together with ISO 27001. Moreover, they have several mutual ideologies, such as continuous improvement procedures, risk-based methodology, and senior management support.
How To Get An ISO 27001 Certification
Indeed, ISO 27001 standard has a risk-based approach to information security where companies must detect significant risk factors and choose appropriate tactics to address those risks.
Successful implementation of the ISO 27001 standards involves PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) process. This method is excellent for identifying external and internal challenges, discovering remediation gaps, and implementing ISMS policies, controls, processes, and procedures. Here’s how to get an ISO 27001 certification:
ISO 27001 Compliance
The ISO 27001 is a rigorous and comprehensive specification enabling the protection and preservation of information under integrity, availability, and confidentiality.
To achieve the ISO 27001 compliance, the company’s ISMS must include:
Document The Scope Of Your Project
Define the information system and assets that need to be protected, the location where the information is saved, and identify data already stored on your information security systems. It helps understand the security environment, complete audits, approach particular risks and address critical parts of the business that are being overlooked.
Identification Of Information Asset
Of course, building an effective ISMS and achieving ISO 27001 compliance requires companies to create an inventory of their information systems and assets, including the store location, procession requirements, and accessibility. Physical and information assets are both included in the inventory. All assets must present a classification to meet the need.
Execution Of Risk Assessment
A risk assessment helps companies detect, evaluate, and analyze weaknesses or loopholes in their information security procedures. It also identifies scenarios where ISMS may be compromised and ranks risk scenarios.
Development Of A Risk Treatment Plan
Once the risk assessment is complete, it’s time to develop a risk treatment plan which documents the actions to address the risk identified in the previous stage. The company must determine which controls must be implemented and which are most beneficial in managing the defined threats.
Complete The Statement Of Applicability (SoA)
The Statement of Applicability is a crucial element of ISMS and is most important for attaining ISO 27001 certification. It helps the auditor understand your organization, the controls implemented, and what areas must be addressed during the audit. It encompasses a long list of recommended controls allowing mitigating the identified risks; hence, it’s suitable to obtain management support for the implementation.
Create An Information Security Policy For ISMS
The ISMS security policy is an internal document providing a framework for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and improving ISMS.
ISO 27001 Benefits
ISO 27001 helps companies with:
- Reducing risks associated with data breaches and information security
- Protecting your sensitive data
- Enhancing your resilience to cyberattacks
- Embracing a security organizational culture
- Constantly evolving to respond to security threats
- Staying robust, relevant, and effective
- Avoiding nonconformities
ISO 27001 Certification Requirements
The difficulty of ISO 27001 reflects the nature and size of your organization. ISO 27001 certification, once earned, is valid for three years and needs to be renewed. Companies interested can simplify compliance by following an ISO 27001 ISMS documentation toolkit.
The required documents and records for ISO 27001 include:
- Scope of the ISMS
- Information security policy and objectives
- Information risk assessment and treatment plan
- Risk assessment report
- Risk treatment plan
- Competence evidence, including performance reviews, training records, and others
- Internal audit program evidence, report, and results
- Measurement and monitoring of metrics (KPIs) and results
- Evidence of management reviews, including meeting schedules, notes, and presentations
- Correction action plan for the identified nonconformities
- Acceptable use of assets
- Supplier security policy
Controls Of ISO27001
The standard in no way commands that all 114 Annex A controls are implemented; instead, a risk assessment determines which controls are required. It also explains why other controls were exempted from the ISMS.
Here is the list of control sets:
- A.5 Information security policies
- A.6 Organization of information security & assignment of responsibility
- A.7 Human resource security
- A.8 Asset management
- A.9 User access control
- A.10 Encryption and management of sensitive information
- A.11 Physical and environmental security
- A.12 Operational security
- A.13 Communications security
- A.14 System acquisition, development, and maintenance
- A.15 Supplier relationships
- A.16 Information security incident management
- A.17 Information security aspects of business continuity management
- A.18 Compliance
Ready To Streamline Your Information Security System?
ISO 27001 is a global gold standard ensuring the security and protection of an information security management system.
Companies that are externally audited and achieve the accredited certification of ISO 27001 create a higher level of trust among investors and customers. As a result, the company successfully attains specific contracts by meeting the prerequisite. It also helps them prove security practices to clients across the world.
Besides this, the ISO 27001 is a great way to demonstrate that your company meets the current information security practices while ensuring the complete protection of sensitive and confidential information. An ISO-certified company has a higher standard for its information security mechanisms when compared to other companies.
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