Getting ISO 27001 certified is a great opportunity for SaaS companies and tech businesses to develop impeccable data security credentials and accelerate growth.
Of course, ISO 27001 certification is also a complex process that requires a coordinated effort across your organization. We’ve helped many businesses get more value out of their compliance, with less time, effort, and expense. Based on our experience developing real-world ISO 27001 strategies, here are five of our insider tips to help you get the most out of your compliance when getting certified.
Is ISO 27001 the right choice for your business?
In today’s tech world, more businesses than ever need robust data security strategies. The cost of a data breach is too high to ignore. And users and clients increasingly demand proof that suppliers take information security seriously.
But how do you choose between the two leading standards, SOC 2 and ISO 27001?
They both provide an excellent framework for managing risk. And they are both effective ways of demonstrating your high levels of security to clients.
Ultimately, you won’t go wrong either way. However, ISO 27001 tends to be more recognized in Europe. It can offer an important competitive advantage, as many companies will only do business with suppliers that have an effective information security protocol in place. In Europe, in particular, ISO 27001 certification is the gold standard in data security. So, if you are looking to increase your presence in European markets, ISO 27001 is likely to be the better option for your business.
Getting more out of your ISO 27001 report
Getting ISO 27001 certified involves a careful and comprehensive process of planning. You need to make sure you take the appropriate steps to get ready for the audit. It can turn into a daunting process otherwise. And considering the investment of time and resources, you want to get it right the first time.
To help guide you through the process, we have created five pro tips for getting your ISO 27001 certification right the first time.
Tip 1: Start with a plan
Successfully implementing ISO 27001 depends on good planning. Perhaps that sounds obvious. Any ambitious project needs a careful plan. But planning is not incidental to ISO 27001. After all, becoming ISO 27001 compliant is all about developing a systematic approach to data security that eliminates critical risks.
That means deciding, at a high level, what you want to achieve with ISO 27001, setting clear timelines, and assigning roles and responsibilities. Ultimately, ISO 27001 is about creating a comprehensive system to manage information security rather than scrambling to address data security issues as they happen to come up. An effective plan is, therefore, an indispensable part of the certification process.
Tip 2: Get the team together
Plans are only as good as the people implementing them. When implementing ISO 27001, you should have a project manager, most likely a compliance manager, security engineer, CISO or similar. In addition, the plan needs to clearly delineate who is responsible for each particular action.
In startups and growing SaaS companies, there’s a good chance ISO 27001 certification will involve the whole organization. Everyone needs to know what the roles are and what to expect.
Of course, Tip 1 and Tip 2 are part and parcel of each other. Ultimately, your plan will succeed or fail based on the input of each responsible person. And each person can only play their role if your plan has clearly and carefully detailed each person’s role, and assigned adequate authority to all relevant personnel.
Tip 3: Pay attention to the latest update
Data security is constantly evolving. So it makes sense that our response to them needs to adapt.
2022 saw a number of updates to the ISO 27001 protocol. The changes are to be found in Annex A of ISO 27001, which details the controls for managing risks. Significantly, a number of new controls have been added to Annex A.
If you are unsure of how these updates affect your business, get in touch with an ISO 27001 compliance expert to guide you through what needs to be done.
Tip 4: Finding the perfect balance
Ultimately, ISO 27001 is about establishing an information security management system (ISMS). The ISMS is the framework for the policies, processes, and tools you will use to manage data security risks across your organization.
ISO 27001 certification is so respected precisely because it takes into account a holistic, integrated ISMS.
However, that also raises a compliance challenge for each business. How broad should your ISMS actually be? Can you cover every conceivable risk and prepare for every possible eventuality? Indeed, many risks may not even be relevant to your business.
At the same time, your ISO 27001 scope (covered in your ISMS and Statement of Applicability) needs to cover all relevant risks. If your scope is too narrow, you could be overlooking crucial security risks, or leaving aspects of your organization vulnerable. Getting the scope right is, therefore, an important strategic decision that requires careful deliberation.
Tip 5: Automate for accuracy and efficiency
As part of the certification process, you are required to provide your auditor with sufficient evidence that your controls have been effectively implemented.
Collecting sufficient evidence had traditionally been one of the most complex and time-consuming elements of the compliance process. Indeed, the cost and complexity of the process put certification out of reach of many new businesses.
Getting to grips with the fine details: ISO 27001 checklist
We compiled these 5 ISO 27001 tips to help make your ISO 27001 certification experience richer and more rewarding. After all, it shouldn’t feel unreachable or impossible. At best, ISO 27001 will transform your organization, helping you adapt more efficiently to risks and customer requirements.
Be sure to check out our complete ISO 27001 checklist for a detailed guide to the practical measures you need to take to get ready for certification. Or even better, take a look at what some of our customers have to say about using our automation technology to fully optimize their compliance.