Step into the world of unparalleled security and discover the golden standard of compliance: ISO 27001. Picture James Bond of infosec, equipped with the latest technology and expertise, ready to safeguard your business against the relentless threats of cyberattacks.
Introducing the golden standard of security compliance and the James Bond of infosec - ISO 27001. We’re looking at one of the leading security standards and why businesses are adamant about having it on their side in the fight against cyberattacks. Could it benefit your business? Of course, you know our answer - but just in case you need any more convincing, here’s everything you need to know about the golden boy of information security.
FYI, don’t forget to download our ultimate ISO 27001 whitepaper, The ISO 27001 Bible to get a super deep dive into everything ISO 27001 certification. Or perhaps, you just want to get a quick glimpse into ISO 27001 with our ISO 27001 Snapshot.
ISO 27001 is the leading global standard for information security and the quintessential framework for managing and safeguarding data. Although not considered a regulatory requirement, it does hold significant value (which we’ll get to a bit later).
ISO 27001 is a comprehensive program considering personnel, systems, and an organization’s technologies. It follows a systematic approach that reviews and assesses all aspects of an organization’s data security, including any gaps, risks, and vulnerabilities.
The ISO 27001 standard is widely accepted as the most globally-recognized information security standard. This is primarily due to its specific scope and applicability across business sectors.
So that’s the standard - but what does it mean to be ISO 27001 compliant?
ISO 27001 compliance refers to an organization’s ability to adhere to the rules stipulated by the standard. To become ISO 27001 certified, a company must comply with the guidelines of the standard.
In brief, this includes developing an Information Security Management System (ISMS) and undergoing an independent audit to confirm compliance. However, getting compliant isn’t always easy, and ISO 27001 didn’t get its stellar rep by taking shortcuts.
Unsure if you need to be ISO 27001 certified? Take a look here for all your answers.
If, by now, you think that ISO 27001 sounds like a pretty big deal, you’d be 100% correct. If not, buckle in - you’re in for a wild ride. In a nutshell, there are a few critical reasons why you need ISO 27001 compliance, the most important being that ISO 27001 compliance will enable your company to:
It frees up your teams to focus on other critical business areas.
An ISO 27001 certification improves an organization’s cyber resilience by identifying security gaps, protecting data, and strengthening your security posture to proactively prevent breaches.
An ISO 27001 certification demonstrates that an organization has implemented its due diligence when it comes to protecting data. It enhances brand credibility and improves the trustworthiness of an organization.
An ISO 27001 certification means a business proactively assesses and reviews all relevant third parties. It assures an organization and its clients that third parties are vetted and monitored to align with ISO 27001 security standards
Establishing an ISMS creates a solid foundation for other frameworks, standards, and legislation, such as SOC 2, GDPR and HIPAA. This can streamline the process when undergoing these further frameworks and regulations.
Establishing a foothold in the global market highly depends on whether or not you comply with specific security standards. An ISO 27001 is the needed proof that your business needs to compete on a global scale.
Here’s a breakdown…
ISO 27001 requires an organization to develop an appropriate Information Security Management System (ISMS). An ISMS includes all the policies, procedures, and controls set in place for managing sensitive data. This ISMS is then compared against ISO 27001’s quintessential standard and how it aligns with it’s three core pillars of information security: Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability.
ISO 27001’s three core pillars of information security
All data and systems must be protected against unauthorized access. Albeit people, processes, or applications.
Data integrity refers to the certainty that the data is not tampered with or degraded during or after submission.
The information is available to authorized users when needed.
A system must have properly functioning computing systems, security controls and communication channels.
Fortunately, ISO 27001 doesn’t simply leave you to fend for yourself when it comes to developing an appropriate ISMS. To get ISO 27001 certified, your organization must include a set of controls that is clearly defined within ISO 27001 requirements and Annex A.
However, there is an updated version of ISO 27001, known as ISO 27001: 2022. The 2022 updates apply to the security controls of ISO 27002 and therefore, Annex A of ISO 27001 is updated accordingly.
The previous version of Annex A contained 114 controls across 14 families, while the new version contains 93 controls across 4 families (People, Organizational, Technological and Physical). The decrease in the number of controls is due to many controls being merged.
However, 11 new ISO 27001 controls have been added to Annex A:
An internal audit is an ongoing process in order to gauge compliance. It’s conducted by an organization (either via its internal staff or a hired third party). Internal audits review and assess compliance with ISO 27001. These internal audits are required by ISO 27001, and most organizations work alongside a certifying body to determine the frequency of their internal audits. In brief, your internal audit should include the following tasks:
An external audit is where the stakes get significantly higher. This is conducted by accredited certifying bodies to confirm your compliance and certify your organization. The internal audit is ultimately in preparation for the external audit. However, it’s important to note that there are four types of external audits.
During this audit, the auditor reviews your ISMS design and scope. This includes reviewing and assessing all documentation, processes, and procedures to ensure that your chosen controls and design meet ISO 27001 standards.
This stage is where you’ll (finally) get certified! An auditor will review your processes and controls and confirm whether they meet ISO 27001 requirements. Remember those primary controls from Annex A? This is where they come into play. The external auditor will assess if they’ve been implemented correctly. If approved, you’re eligible for your full ISO 27001 certificate – congratulations!
After the certification process, certifying bodies still conduct periodic audits, known as surveillance audits. This is to ensure that companies maintain compliance after they have been certified. The audit process involves taking random sample data to ensure it still follows the processes defined in the ISMS documentation.
Got certified? Job’s far from over, we’re afraid. Organizations are subject to mandatory recertification audits every three years. This ensures they maintain their certification eligibility and stay aligned with a changing threat landscape.
Considering everything that goes into getting (and staying) ISO 27001 compliant, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, the task isn’t as daunting as it seems with the right partner by your side. Our sidekick of choice? Automation, baby!
Collects evidence on auto-pilot, removing the need for manual administrative tasks.
It frees up your teams to focus on other critical business areas.
Tracks all ISO 27001 workflows in a centralized place.
Stays current with changing requirements in ISO 27001 landscape.
Monitors all controls 24/7 for continuous compliance.
Removes the risk of human error.