ISO 27001 explained: What is ISO27001?


Most organisations have some form of controls in place for effective management of their information security. Information being a valuable asset for any business, such controls are essential. However, it is also vital to determine the effectiveness of the business policy by analysing how well these controls are implemented and monitored. Here we explain what is ISO27001 and why it is essential.

Several companies introduce information security controls randomly either as a solution to some specific problems. Such random implementation will only address a few aspects of data security and can leave other assets vulnerable to threats. A more encompassing approach to security controls is the ISO 27001 standard.

Presented below is an introduction to the ISO27001 security standard and to help you understand why it is crucial for business.

What is ISO27001?

The full name of ISO27001 is ISO/IEC 27001, and it is one of the leading international standards used globally for the management of information security in organisations. Introduced by the ISO (International Organization for Standards) in collaboration with the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), the ISO27001 is a crucial part of the ISO/IEC 27000 series, which is a set of standards aimed at managing information security.

What is the purpose of ISO27001?

ISO27001 has been developed to help organisations, small and big, across different industries, protect their data in the most organised manner while saving costs. It makes this possible by encouraging the organisation to adopt a well-designed information security management system. Certification to ISO27001 allows businesses to prove to the stakeholders and clients that the organisation manages the security of their information well.

ISO27001 provides a set of standard requirements for the security management system. It adopts a process-based approach to establish, implement, monitor and maintain the system for information security in a company. As it is a formal standard, it means specific requirements are mandatory and should be fulfilled to comply. Organisations adopting this standard are formally audited and certified.

The Requirements

ISO27001 has specific requirements that any organisation adopting the standard should meet. It requires:

  • Systematic examination of the security risks for the information in the organisation, considering the vulnerabilities, threats and impacts.
  • Development and implementation of an efficient set of controls for data security and other risk management methods to handle the unacceptable risks.
  • Adoption of a management procedure to make sure the information security controls continue meeting the information security requirements of the organisation regularly.

The Function

ISO27001 is focused on protecting the integrity and confidentiality of the data within an organisation. The standard accomplishes this by establishing the risks and problems with the information in the organisation and then identifying the methods to prevent the occurrence of these problems.

This means the standard is based on the process of risk assessment and risk mitigation through the implementation of security controls. The goal of ISO 27001 is to provide a set of requirements for organisations to organise their data and information effectively. It serves as a guideline for any company interested in improving their information security policies and procedures.

The ISO27001 standard presents a framework to help organisations:

  • Protect the information of employees and clients
  • Manage the information security risks efficiently
  • Protect the brand image of the business
  • Achieve external regulations

Why is ISO27001 important?

The ISO27001 certification offers considerable benefits to a business. Not only does the standard help companies with the essential know-how of protecting their valuable data, but the adherence to standards gives a vital message to business partners and customers that the company protects data and has implemented best practices for information security.

ISO27001 is valuable for reviewing, monitoring, improving and maintaining a business’ information security. It undoubtedly gives the partners and customers a high level of confidence in the way they work together. Being an internationally recognised standard, ISO 27001 can improve the chances of getting business from different parts of the world.

The Benefits

There are many benefits a business can avail by implementing this information security standard. Here are the main advantages of ISO 27001.

  • Achieve competitive advantage – If a business gets certified with this standard before the competitors, it can get an edge over others and impress customers who are concerned about the safety of information. It can serve as a license to trade with businesses in specific regulated sectors.
  • Reduced costs – The fundamental concept behind ISO 27001 is to prevent the occurrence of security incidents in the company. Any such incident, whether small or big, incurs cost. By avoiding any such things, the business can save significant money. A crucial consideration is that the cost of implementing ISO 27001 is much less than the cost savings it achieves.
  • Comply with legal requirements – The number of regulations, legal requirements and laws governing the information security in businesses keeps on increasing with time. The implementation of ISO 27001 resolves most of these requirements and provides the right method to comply with all the laws.
  • Achieve better organisation – Quickly growing businesses generally don’t find time to stop to define their procedures, and this is why their employees, often don’t understand what is to be done, by whom and when. Implementing ISO 27001 helps deal with such problems by encouraging the organisation to define its vital processes. This helps them save time otherwise lost by employees.

Apart from these advantages, the ISO 27001 helps organisations reap numerous other benefits, some of which include:

  • Improved customer satisfaction leading to retention
  • Creation of a culture of security
  • Help with compliance with other regulations
  • Security of confidential information in the business
  • Minimised and managed risk exposure
  • Protection of the company’s assets and people
  • Consistency in the product or service delivery
  • Secure exchange of information
  • Better interoperability between organisations

How to become ISO27001 certified?

Getting an ISO27001 certification is a step-by-step procedure that involves internal as well as external stakeholders of the company. Before applying for the certification, it is vital to make sure your information security management system is powerful enough to cover different areas of risk.

The ISO27001 certification can be divided into three main phases:

Phase 1: Hiring an audit body to conduct a detailed review of the company’s security system to check against the documentation of the standard.

Phase 2: In-depth audits are performed by the certifying body to test each component of the standard against the system of the organisation. Evidence showing the proper implementation of procedures must be present.

Phase 3: Once the certification is achieved, follow-up audits are scheduled to keep the compliance in check.

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