ISO 27001 Biggest Challenges for Certification

By Scott Dawson
May 10, 2019

What are the ISO 27001 Certification Challenges? 2023 Update

Please Note: ISO 27001 had some changes and additions.  See what those changes are: ISO 27001:2022

Working toward ISO certification for any standard is challenging. Fortunately, most of the time, challenges lead to growth.  Many organizations view ISO certification as an opportunity to improve their businesses in multiple ways.

Some of the challenges faced by organizations when they work towards compliance are difficult to control.  

ISO 27001 consultant

When pursuing ISO 27001 certification, the primary hurdles are not related to the requirements of the standard itself, but rather the company-wide adoption of policies and best practices essential to demonstrate compliance with the standard.

The most common misconception is that cybersecurity is solely the responsibility of the IT department. But it’s so much more than that. Creating a truly secure system of information management requires the attention of every team member.

Our ISO 27001 consultants work with organizations to address the big hurdles associated with the people responsible for the success of the program and approach the primary challenges in three targeted areas.

1.  Leadership Buy-in

First, the program manager must acquire sincere commitment from the leadership team regarding the essential concepts and processes necessary to successfully implement an Information Security Management System (ISMS).

Additionally, as with all ISO standards, the leadership team will be required to hold regular management meetings to assess the effectiveness of the system and address any problems that may arise. 

ISO 27001 certification consultants having a meeting

Therefore, their commitment to the initiative must be unwavering and fully informed.

Once the leadership team has committed to the ISO 27001 certification process, companies must then begin the task of educating their teams on the program’s significance and readying them for the integration of new safeguards and protocols.

2.  Program Adoption

Perhaps the hardest struggle related to ISO 27001 is that implementation teams have their work cut out for them as they approach greater team engagement.  Cybersecurity is often mistakenly identified as an IT initiative. Because of this, employees can become annoyed by the seemingly over-complication associated with increased information protection.  Anyone who has attempted to deploy new software throughout an organization will understand the challenge of getting people on board with new ideas, systems, and protocols.

ISO 27001 consultants with client

Educating an organization’s employees about the full extent of information security issues can present equally significant challenges. Often, employees associate information security solely with digital data and networks.  They overlook the importance of safeguarding tribal knowledge, printed documents, and access to company information through personal devices.  These aspects of information security are equally as important as maintaining strong passwords.

3.  Human Error Control

Once the education has been completed and the leadership and teams understand the impact a strong ISMS will make, organizations are then tasked with creating processes to protect information. Even with the most foolproof protection measures in place, they must always take into account the possibility of human error.

Despite implementing the most stringent education and training policies, companies remain vulnerable to simple mistakes made by employees. When an employee fails to prioritize the ISMS initiative, security can be overlooked.

ISO 27001 certification meeting

Additionally, even the most aware team members can be caught off guard by phishing emails, out-of-network attacks, and potential loss or corruption of files. Organizations must be diligent in their follow-through of ISMS-related education. Leadership should also be persistent about training and awareness programs so they can protect the organization from a breach due to human error.

Core Business Solutions Can Help

When our customers encounter compliance challenges, we can help. Our expert consultants can provide out-of-the-box solutions, key educational information, and action-driving statistics to help our customers succeed. As it is with any standard, working toward ISO 27001 compliance creates positive changes and significant improvement in any company or organization.

To learn about ISO 27001 requirements visit  or contact us at 866.354.0300.  We are happy to answer any questions you may have.

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