What Is ISO 27001? The Ultimate Guide To Certification

ISO 27001 Certification: The Complete Guide to ISO

What Is ISO 27001? The Ultimate Guide To Certification

Information security breaches can be extremely dangerous to businesses both in terms of financial loss and reputational damage. 

Implementing a robust security system can help mitigate the security risks, making the company more reliable and reputable in the eyes of potential customers, suppliers and business partners.

In recent years multiple guidelines have been launched to raise awareness regarding the risk to information systems and networks. 

Here is everything you need to know about ISO 27001 and a guide to certification.

What Is ISO 27001?

ISO 27001 is an information security management standard designed and regulated by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which proves an organization has structured its IT system to protect its information systematically and cost-effectively.

ISO 27001 tends to ensure that adequate controls (addressing confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information) are in place to safeguard the information of ‘interested parties. These include your customers, employees, suppliers, and the needs of society in general.

Why Do You Need ISO 27001 Certification?

Customer Retention: An ISMS compliant with ISO 27001 can help you demonstrate to both suppliers and customers that you take information security seriously. It is a powerful demonstration of your organization’s commitment to managing information security effectively.

Compliance With International Standards: In addition to the normal commercial need to protect confidential information there are recent events in the regulatory and corporate governance fields that have placed ever more demanding requirements on the integrity of information. Implementing an ISMS is evidence of your compliance with information security to international standards.

Improved Competitive Edge: ISO 27001 certification shows that your organization takes information security seriously and provides a competitive edge to win new business.

8 Steps To ISO 27001 Certification

Implementing ISO 27001 within your organization can be a challenge. But as the saying goes, nothing worth having comes easy, and ISO 27001 is worth having.

However, to make it easier for you, – here is a list of 8 steps summarizing how to implement ISO 27001.

1. Obtain Management Support

If you are implementing these processes for the first time, consider the overall intent of these management requirements. Top management is ultimately responsible for the effectiveness of the management system – obtaining their buy-in is crucial.

Adequate resources (people, equipment, time, and money) should be allocated to the development, implementation, and monitoring of the ISMS. Internal audits identify opportunities for improvement and verify that the management system is operating as intended. 

Management review provides the opportunity for top management to assess and understand how well the management system is operating and supporting the business.

2. Define The Scope

It is essential to accurately define the logical and geographical scope of the ISMS so that the boundaries of your ISMS and security responsibilities can be identified.

The scope should identify the people, places, and information covered by the ISMS. Once you have defined and documented the scope, the information assets covered by the scope can be identified, along with their value and owner.

3. Write Your Information Security Policy

The requirements relating to the ISMS policy are addressed in both ISO 27001 (5.2) and ISO 27002. There are also references to the policy in other requirements of ISO 27001 and in Annex A, which indicates what the policy should contain. For instance, the ISMS objectives must be consistent with the ISMS policy. Other policies will be required to meet certain control objectives.

4. Establish A Risk Assessment & Management Process

Risk assessment lays the foundation for ISMS. It provides the focus for the implementation of security controls, and ensures that they are applied where they are most needed, are cost-effective, and, just as important, are not applied where they are least effective.

The risk assessment process involves identifying and valuing information assets. This valuation is not solely financial. It also takes into account other factors, such as reputational damage or compromised regulatory compliance. This is where your context has an important influence. 

The process should consider the threats and vulnerabilities and any opportunities associated with the assets and their exploitation. Finally, you must ascertain the level of risk and identify the controls to be applied to handle those risks.

5. Implement A Risk Treatment Plan

The risk assessment identifies risk levels, which are then compared to the acceptable level of risk determined by the organization’s security policy. Appropriate actions are taken to manage risks that are above the acceptance level, with the possible actions being: 

  •  Implementing security controls selected from Annex A to reduce the risk to an acceptable level. 
  •  Accepting the risk according to management’s policy and criteria for risk acceptance. 
  •  Removing the risk by changing the security environment.
  •  Transferring the risk by taking out appropriate insurance or outsourcing the management of physical assets or business processes. 

The risk treatment plan is used to manage the risks by identifying the actions taken and planned, plus the timescales for the completion of outstanding actions. The plan should prioritize the actions and include responsibilities and detailed action plans.

6. Implement Training & Awareness Programs

All personnel are responsible for the security of information systems and networks. Employees should be aware of the need for security of information systems and networks, plus what they can do to enhance security. They should be trained to adopt and implement all new procedures and policies.

7. Measure, Monitor & Review Your ISMS

You won’t be able to tell if your ISMS is working as expected unless you monitor and review it. Annually, you should evaluate and monitor if the achieved goals are met by the set objectives or not.

If you are not achieving goals as per your set standards then it indicates that there is something wrong and you should perform some rectification to make it right.

Responsible personnel should review and reassess the security of information systems and networks, plus make appropriate modifications to security policies, practices, measures, and procedures.

In addition to this, you should conduct regular internal audits of your ISMS.

Internal audits can enable you to discover nonconformities that would stay hidden otherwise, preventing significant losses in productivity.

The results of your internal audit form the inputs for the management review, the management must make some crucial decisions based on the report.

8. Certify Your ISMS

Once you have implemented the ISMS successfully in your organization, you may go for ISO 27001 certification, in which case you need to prepare for an external audit.

Normally, certification audits are conducted in two stages.

The initial audit performed by a third-party auditor determines whether the organisation’s ISMS has been developed in accordance with ISO 27001’s requirements. If the auditor is satisfied, they’ll perform a more thorough investigation.

This ensures that the review is actually in line with ISO 27001, as opposed to uncertified bodies, which often promise to provide certification regardless of the organisation’s compliance posture.

The end result of this review is either a pass or a fail. If you pass, you achieve that highly valued certificate, fail and you will have work left to do around non-conformities before you can re-submit for another audit or a specific review of the non-conformity.

ISO 27001 Certification is done over a 3-year cycle, so it generally works as follows:

  • Stage 1 and 2 then issue of the certificate.
  • Surveillance audit 1 (usually annually or maybe more frequent).
  • Surveillance audit 2.
  • Third-year recertification and more detailed evaluation.

Where Should You Get Certified?

You must make sure that the certification body you go for is accredited by a national certification body, which should be a member of the IAF (International Accreditation Body).

IRQS is accredited by National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB) and Raad voor Accreditatie (RvA) accreditation boards for ISO 27001 certification. ISO 27001 certificate issued under NABCB and RvA is accepted everywhere being IAF member.

Reduce the risk your company faces and improve your company’s reputation by working with IRQS for all of your ISO 27001 preparations and certifications.

Contact us today for a free quote.