IT organizations and those dealing with digital assets often face many information security challenges. They must protect sensitive data from unauthorized access, as a crack in security can result in unimaginable losses.
To keep information security risks minimal and optimize protection for organizations, ISO/IEC 27001 compliance was designed. What is ISO/IEC 27001 compliance? How does it work, and why does it matter?
Read on to uncover answers to all your questions and more in this guide.
What Is ISO/IEC 27001?
ISO/IEC 27001 is an internationally accepted standard for data security. It is one of the standards jointly published by the ISO (International Standardization Organization) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) in 2015.
ISO/IEC 27001 aims to provide organizations with a framework for information security management, thereby protecting digital assets. Implementing the standard helps organizations minimize and effectively manage information security risks, such as hacks, data leaks or theft, and cyber attacks.
Digital assets like intellectual property, software, employee information, and personal data are often a target for malicious actors. And that’s why asset management is crucial to companies and digital service providers. It demonstrates that the certified organization’s information security system is efficient as it follows the best practice.
Any ISO/IEC 27001-certified organization can display its certification online (e.g., on its website, social media platforms, etc.) and offline. As a result, they get the trust and respect they deserve from partners, investors, customers, and other organizations.
Evolution of ISO/IEC 27001
The International Standardization Organization (ISO) is a global federation of national standards bodies established in 1947. It is a leading organization that develops standards for ensuring the security of business systems.
Since its emergence, ISO has published several standards, such as:
ISO 27000 – Information Security Management Systems
ISO 22301 – Business Continuity
ISO 14000 – Environmental Management System
ISO 45001 – Occupational Health and Safety
ISO 9000 – Quality Management System etc.
Although ISO/IEC 27001 was officially published in 2005, ISO had been providing measures for protecting digital systems and information before then. The rapid spread of the internet in the 1990s gave rise to the need for data security to prevent sensitive data from getting into the wrong hands.
ISO 27001 was the first standard among the ISO 27000 series of standards for cybersecurity. Since its release, the standard has undergone revisions to tackle new and evolving cyber threats in the industry.
The first revision took place in October 2013, when new controls were introduced, and the total controls numbered up to 114. This version is referred to as ISO/IEC 27001:2013 version.
The second and latest revision of ISO/ICE 27001 was published in 2022 and enumerates 93 controls grouped into four sections. This revision was initially referred to as ISO/IEC 27001:2022 but is now known as ISO 27001.
Another notable development in the latest version is the change in title. The new version’s complete title is – ISO 27001 (i.e., ISO/IEC 27001:2022) Information Security, Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection.
Business Benefits of ISO/IEC 27001
Achieving ISO/IEC 27001 certification offers organizations several business benefits, especially for service providers handling people’s sensitive financial and personal data. Examples of such organizations are insurance companies, banks, health organizations, and financial institutions. Some of the business benefits of ISO 27001 are:
1. It prevents financial penalties and losses from data breaches
Organizations that do not comply with the global security standard are at great risk of a data breach. Data breaches often attract financial penalties and cause companies to lose significant amounts. By implementing the best network security practices, organizations can prevent unnecessary financial losses and record more significant revenue in the long run.
2. It protects and enhances a company’s reputation.
Partners, investors, and customers often prefer companies with a good reputation for handling data. In fact, the World Economic Forum states that reputation affects a quarter of a company’s market value.
ISO/IEC 27001 certification can help businesses with an existing reputation to preserve their image. Companies with a previous record of security challenges can enhance their reputation and earn the trust and respect of others by becoming certified too.
3. Wins new business and sharpens competitive edge
Certified companies stand a better chance of winning new businesses and recording more sales and profits than their competitors. That’s because clients want to feel safe knowing their data enjoy maximum protection. Also, certain organizations must attain other certifications like GDPR, HIPAA, NIST, etc., before commencing operation. And having ISO certification makes it easier to achieve such requirements.
One major indicator that an organization can be trusted for security management is acquiring a worldwide certification. It sharpens its competitive advantage and propels the brand way ahead of others.
4. Improves structure and focus
As businesses expand, new responsibilities arise, and it can be challenging to determine who should be responsible for what. But with ISO 27001 compliance, companies will have a clear structure to mirror. From authentication to network traffic management, the standard has an outlined structure that companies can apply to establish robust operations security. As a result, they can tackle rising needs while staying focused and productive.
5. It reduces the need for frequent audits.
Organizations usually spend heavily performing frequent internal and external audits to generate valuable data about the state of their security. The data is deployed to improve cybersecurity so that threat intelligence and other security aspects are optimized.
And even though it costs more and wastes more time, it doesn’t guarantee as much protection as implementing ISO 27001 standard. By becoming a certified name, companies can rest assured that the best cybersecurity practices protect them against attacks. Plus, frequent audits won’t be needed, thus saving cost and time.
ISO/IEC 27001 Compliance
Organizations looking to achieve ISO/IEC 27001 compliance must ensure the following:
1. Clearly Outline the Risk Assessment Process
- Develop your risk assessment process to detect vulnerabilities.
- State the categories of risks your organization is facing
- Outline your approach to tackle vulnerabilities.
2. Make Sure Executives Set the Tone
- Top management must be involved in the information security program.
- They should show financial support and be available to make strategic decisions that will help build robust security.
- Senior management should also conduct frequent assessments of the company’s ISMS to ensure it’s in sync with the globally agreed security standard.
3. Design an Information Security Policy (ISP)
- An ISP essentially functions to ensure that all the users and networks of your organization’s IT structure stick with the standard practices of digital data storage.
- You must design an effective ISP to achieve compliance as it governs information protection.
- Your ISP should encompass the A to Z of your organization’s IT security, including cloud security.
- You need to state who will be responsible for implementing the designed policy.
4. Write Out Your Statement of Applicability (SoA)
- Your SoA should carry core information about your ISMS.
- It should state the controls that your organization regards necessary to combat information security risks.
- It should document the controls that were not applied
- The SoA should only be shared with the certification body.
5. Create Your Risk Management Strategy
- Develop an effective risk management plan to address the possible risks of your chosen security controls.
- Ensure there’s an efficient security operations center (soc) to help detect cyber threats and forward notifications to the right systems.
- Design an information security incident management strategy to respond during threat detection.
- State who will implement specific security controls, how, and when they will deploy them.
What does ISO/IEC 27001 stand for?
ISO stands for International Standardization Organization, while IEC represents International Electrotechnical Commission. ISO/IEC 27001 is an internationally accepted standard for information security management, which ISO and IEC first created.
What are the ISO 27001 Requirements?
Every organization looking to apply for certification must prepare themselves and ensure to meet the requirements. These requirements are summarized in Clauses 4.1 to 10.2 below:
4.1 Understanding the organization and its context
4.2 Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties
4.3 Determining the scope of the ISMS
4.4 Information security management system (ISMS)
5.1 Leadership and commitment
5.2 Information Security Policy
5.3 Organisational roles, responsibilities, and authorities
6.1 Actions to address risks and opportunities
6.2 Information security objectives and planning to achieve them
7.5 Documented information
8.1 Operational planning and control
8.2 Information security risk assessment
8.3 Information security risk treatment
9.1 Monitoring, measurement, analysis, and evaluation
9.2 Internal audit
9.3 Management review
10.1 Nonconformity and corrective action
10.2 Continual improvement
What are the ISO/IEC 27001 controls?
The latest version of ISO 27001 Annex A enumerates 93 security controls divided into four sections or themes. The ISO 27001 controls are designed to simplify information security management such that digital assets get the best protection against security threats.
These 4 sections are labelled A5 to A8 and are as follows:
A.5 Organizational controls – containing 37 controls
A.6 People controls – containing 8 controls
A.7 Physical controls – containing 14 controls
A.8 Technological controls – containing 34 controls
How Does ISO/IEC 27001 ensure data protection?
ISO/IEC 27001 ensures data protection by providing a framework through which companies can store sensitive data and have full access control. This standard can be adapted to suit each organization’s specific needs and structure, thereby offering optimized protection.
ISO/IEC 27001 aims to ascertain that three core information security aspects are taken care of, which are:
Confidentiality: this guarantees that only authorized individuals can access information. Also, because organizations deal with different categories of data, each employee must only be given the degree of access required to execute their tasks efficiently.
Integrity: this ensures that only authorized individuals can change information on the system. So even in the event of a security breach, the risks are minimal. This is due to the change management plan that ensures unauthorized persons can not alter information.
Availability: information security becomes a problem if the secured information isn’t accessible when needed. ISO 27001 enables authorized persons to have access to information whenever required to ensure that business operations are uninterrupted.
By maintaining these guidelines, companies can put in place an effective information security system and risk management plan to prevent data leaks, theft, or hacks.
How does my firewall management help with ISO 27001?
Firewalls are the software in your organization’s IT structure managing the connection between different networks. Effective firewall management can help in designing the right Information Security Policy (ISP).
In turn, your organization will be able to achieve ISO 27001 compliance. Thus, your firewall policies can help with ISO 27001 by enabling organizations to design an Information Security Policy that agrees with the standard required for compliance.
What is the Importance of ISO 27001 Certification, and how can I gain it?
ISO 27001 certification offers several advantages to businesses and organizations. It demonstrates to partners, investors, and customers that the certified business has a reliable information security management system, thus winning their trust. Also, it enhances communications security so that third parties do not interfere with your company’s operating system. You also get to reduce the risk of security failure, saving you from financial losses and penalties.
Once you’ve met the compliance requirements, you may gain an ISO 27001 certification by registering with an accredited certification body
How can AlgoSec Help with ISO 27001 Compliance?
Organizations must regularly conduct audits and prepare compliance reports to attain and maintain ISO 27001 certification. The data generated from event logs are equally helpful in enhancing threat intelligence and overall operations security. This process is often time-consuming and cost-demanding, and that’s where AlgoSec comes in.
Being an ISO 27001-certified vendor, AlgoSec understands the challenges of ISO 27001 compliance and is dedicated to providing affordable and effective solutions. AlgoSec automatically generates pre-populated, audit-ready compliance reports for ISO 27001 and other leading industry regulations like SOX, BASEL II, GLBA, PCI DSS, and FISMA.
This technique helps companies reduce audit preparation efforts and costs and uncovers loopholes in their ISMS. As a result, businesses can take proper measures to ensure full ISO 27001 compliance, thus becoming worthy of the certification.