ISO 27001 Guide

By Scott Dawson
March 7, 2019

As business technologies rapidly advance, so does the need for greater information security. Data is every company’s most valuable asset, and one that no organization can afford to lose. That’s why it’s crucial to implement the proper measures and controls to minimize the risk of data loss. With ISO 27001 security, you can.

 

What Is ISO 27001?

ISO/IEC 27001, better known as ISO 27001, is a standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) that sets a globally recognized guideline for maintaining and securing information systems. The ISO 27001 framework combines various policies and processes to help organizations of all sizes and industries protect their assets in a systematic and cost-efficient way by acquiring an information security management system (ISMS). 

 

Why Is ISO 27001 Important?

The ISO 27001 overview provides companies with the knowledge and instructions needed to protect their most valuable business data in a cost-effective way, including everything from intellectual property to financial data to employee information. By developing information security management systems through ISO 27001 standards, organizations can manage their data more proactively, enabling them to drive their businesses forward, support critical operations and fulfill regulatory requirements and obligations. These accomplishments lead to continuous growth and long-term success.

In addition to its helpful guidance and process improvements, ISO 27001 also allows businesses to become ISO certified, enabling them to prove their trustworthiness and credibility to their customers by displaying their dedication to information security. ISO 27001 certifications are recognized worldwide, making them excellent tools for improving your business’s reputation.

 

What Are the Benefits of ISO 27001?

Adhering to ISO 27001 requirements brings many significant business advantages, including:

  • Risk identification: ISO security helps you identify any potential risks and vulnerabilities within your organization and implement processes that will better minimize these risks. With an ISO 27001 ISMS in place, you can systematically prevent breaches and data loss, resulting in greater overall security.
  • Improved processes and policies: Maintaining ISO 27001 compliance means incorporating policies and processes into your business designed to streamline operations while promoting optimal information availability, confidentiality and integrity.
  • Teamwork encouragement: When you implement an ISMS into your organization, you’ll need every one of your team members behind you to ensure its success. Developing these systems requires excellent teamwork and accountability among your staff as they uphold new or modified practices.
  • Improved reputation: Your stakeholders and current and potential customers will notice your ISO 27001 compliance efforts just as much as your internal team. These standards prove your commitment to data security, increasing stakeholders’ confidence in your business practices and improving customer trust.
  • Continuous improvement: Maintaining your ISMS requires continuous improvements that enable you to boost cost savings, improve your reputation and minimize security incidents, resulting in greater business growth. 

 

What Is an ISMS?

An information security management system is a set of detailed policies and processes that companies must follow to manage their organizational data to acceptable security risk levels. These ongoing risk assessments help businesses pinpoint potential vulnerabilities and threats that require continuous management and employ mitigation methods to prevent sensitive data from being compromised. ISO 27001 defines the minimal requirements for an ISMS.

ISMSs have three primary security objectives for protecting a company’s information:

  1. Confidentiality: This principle verifies that only authorized individuals are able to access an organization’s data, increasing information privacy for companies as well as their customers and partners.
  2. Integrity: ISO 27001 promotes data integrity by requiring internationally recognized safeguards to maintain data safety and accuracy, ensuring that only authorized persons can change this information.
  3. Availability: The ISO 27001 framework protects information availability across your organization, ensuring that authorized individuals have access to data when they need it.

 

ISO 27001 Certification

ISO 27001 certification demonstrates that your company has invested in the processes and technologies needed to safeguard its data through enhanced security. To achieve ISO certification, a third-party certification body must perform a series of audits, where they will review your ISMS practices, procedures and policies to verify that they met ISO 27001 standards. Then, you will receive your certification, which will last for three years before you must requalify.

 

How to Meet ISO 27001 Requirements

To successfully meet ISO 27001, your organization must comply with all requirements set forth by the standard.

 

1. Evaluate Your Security Posture

Beginning with the context of your business, you must evaluate what information and cybersecurity trends affect you and your industry. As you determine the factors that influence your security risks, you will be required to outline how your business compares to industry best practices and determine what aspects you will address through your ISMS scope.

Following the process of other ISO standards, this determination is to be led by the executive management team. Proving top-down direction and improvement of your information security systems is something that auditors specifically look for when they evaluate your ISMS for certification.

 

2. Assess and Treat Security Risks

As you move forward with the development of your ISMS, the process of whole-team engagement mirrors that of other standards. ISO 27001 requires a close focus on the methods used to collect, store and protect vital company information. 

Your team will be required to become familiar with your company security policy and will follow the process of assessing and treating information security risks. You will also be responsible for the careful documentation of your methods, the results of your risk assessments and the decisions regarding the treatment of those risks.

 

3. Monitor and Measure Your ISMS

Monitoring and measuring your ISMS will help you evaluate its effectiveness and determine the commitment and competency of your team. When issues arise, you will perform trainings and audits to uncover root causes and make decisions for the correction of nonconformities. Internal audits and corrective action plans prepare your company for the third-party audit to evaluate your system for certification.

Again, careful monitoring and measurement of your system is crucial, as is the careful control of documentation and records related to its development and audits.

 

4. Include All Necessary Information

Information security controls more than just written information related to products or services. It encompasses all the information that drives your business forward. Be sure to include personnel information, email, supplier information, customer information, and records of the laws and regulations you must follow in your ISMS. Then, manage this information with the utmost care to ensure their protection. 

Educating your team on the importance of the initiative and on all the ways in which a security breach can occur is vital to the long-term effects of your system.

 

5. Apply ISO 27001 Controls

Companies should apply any controls listed in ISO 27001 Annex A that are relevant and are audited to these controls. You can exclude irrelevant controls upon justification.

Controls within Annex A include:

  • The acceptable use of information and assets.
  • Control of access to information.
  • Confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements.
  • Systems engineering.
  • Security of information in supplier relationships.
  • Procedures and policies in the event of a security incident or breach.
  • Standard operation procedures.
  • Compliance and permanence of information security procedures.

Annex A provides a structure that allows companies to ensure they are meeting all the requirements of control within their ISMS.

 

What Are the ISO 27000 Standards?

ISO 27001 is the main standard within ISO 27000, a group of ISO standards that provide guidance for implementing an ISMS. While ISO 27000 currently comprises over 40 standards, some of the most common ones include:

  • ISO 27000: ISO 27000 provides terms and definitions within this series of standards.
  • ISO 27001: This standard defines the requirements for an ISMS.
  • ISO 27002: ISO 27002 provides detailed instructions for implementing the controls defined within ISO 27001 Annex A.
  • ISO 27004: The ISO 27004 standard outlines various guidelines for measuring information security and determining whether an ISMS has accomplished its intended objectives.
  • ISO 27005: This ISO standard outlines directions for managing information security risks, including how to perform risk assessments and treatments. 
  • ISO 27017: ISO 27017 provides guidelines for executing information security specifically for cloud environments. 
  • ISO 27018: This ISO 27018 standard lists recommendations for privacy protection in cloud environments. 
  • ISO 27031: The ISO 27031 standard provides a list of things to consider regarding business continuity for information and communication technologies (ICTs), a concept that connects well with information security.

 

How CORE Can Help You Achieve ISO 27001 Certification

You can optimize your information security efforts by earning your ISO 27001 certification with services from Core Business Solutions. We’re dedicated to helping small businesses implement and maintain ISO management systems to prepare them to become ISO certified. We employ a unique approach that combines our user-friendly web-based platform with professional assistance from our expert consultants. When you partner with us, we’ll provide you with the tools you need while delivering ongoing service every step of the way.

Contact us with any questions you may have about our CORE Compliance Software today!

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