Today, businesses of all sizes deal with vast amounts of important information. This can be relating to the business’s internal functions, its customers, or the industry overall. Unless managed accordingly, large volumes of information can pose a security challenge for business owners.
ISO 27001 serves as a framework for businesses on how to securely process and store information. Businesses can obtain certification to prove they have implemented and follow the best practice, information security guidelines. But why is ISO 27001 important for businesses? In this guide, we’ll cover what the ISO 27001 is, its benefits and how to become certified.
What is ISO 27001?
ISO 27001 is a list of specifications that sets out an international standard for information security. Within, are guidelines on what measures businesses should take to ensure they construct an effective information security management system (ISMS).
The main principles of information security the ISO 27001 are:
- Confidentiality: Information is only accessible by certain people when it’s held by the organisation.
- Information integrity: Business data is stored securely to reduce the risk of erasure or damage during processing.
- Data availability: Relevant data is readily available where it’s needed to satisfy consumer expectations and facilitate business operations.
The ISO 27001 standards are outlined by the International Organisation for Standardisation. This independent body has over 800 committees to set standards for areas within manufacturing, technology, and management. You might see ISO 27001 referred to as ISO/IEC 27001, as it’s a joint publication by the ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission. These both concern the same standards.
The current version of ISO 27001 was published in October 2022 by the information security, cybersecurity and privacy protection committee. Be warned! If your business receives the ISO 27001 certification it is valid for three years. During this time, ISO auditors will make annual visits to check the quality of your ISMS.
The benefits of ISO 27001 certification
A business that achieves ISO 27001 certification demonstrates that they have implemented a reliable and effective ISMS. In addition to implementing best practices, certification can also provide competitive advantage. Taking these factors into account, there are many business benefits associated with getting ISO 27001 certification.
Avoid potential penalties
Data breaches pose a greater financial risk to businesses than ever before. The breach of Optus in September 2022 is testament to this. A class-action lawsuit has recently been filed against the telecommunications company as a result of customer information becoming compromised. This shows how even large corporations are still poorly prepared for cyber-attacks. A 27001 certified ISMS helps a business protect valuable data.
Improve brand reputation
Data breaches can also be damaging for a business’s reputation. Consumers want to feel they’re personal information is being well taken care of. However, a public lack of information security can create negative feelings towards a brand. This can in turn have a detrimental effect on conversion rates. The ISO 27001 certification shows potential customers your brand is committed to protecting itself. This helps build trust not only within a business’s audience but in its partners and shareholders.
Manage information risks more effectively
Many ISO 27001 measures act as an early warning ‘net’ that can detect information risks before they manifest. Threats to business data can be more easily identified, prioritised and neutralised. This makes your cybersecurity team’s job a lot easier, thereby freeing up resources and creating savings.
Sometimes businesses will entrust third parties with assets such as employee data and financial documents. Adhering to the principles of the ISO 27001 ensures this information is also protected from threats.
Businesses that prove they’re ISO 27001 compliant can benefit from a competitive edge. Good security practices can improve existing customer relationships, while at the same time opening the door to new business opportunities. An ISO 27001 certification can be leveraged by the sales team to generate sales. It can be used to entice new clients, stand out from competitors who lack the certification, and support tender submissions.
Ensure compliance with regulations
There are legal and contractual obligations for businesses when it comes to information security. ISO 27001 standards are designed to help meet these regulatory requirements.
- GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation is a pair of laws that outline data protection principles in the UK and EU. They control how businesses and organisations use people’s personal information.
- ISO 27701 – An extension to ISO 27001 published in August 2019, this document contains recommendations for privacy information management systems(PIMS). These systems are closely linked to business ISMS.
- NIS – Network and Information Systems regulations are designed to improve the overall level of UK cybersecurity.
As a business grows, it can be difficult to maintain efficiencies and stay organised. ISO 27001 measures make sure a proper structure is in place for managing security risks. Responsibilities are clearly allocated to reduce confusion and create a strong knowledge base. This can allow a business to improve decision making and productivity while lowering costs.
ISO 27001 is a globally recognised security standard, meaning information security audits can be conducted less often.
The ISO 27001 clauses
There are 10 total clauses that make up the ISO 27001. Of these, clauses 4-10 outline the requirements of a successful information security management system. ISO 27001 clauses 1-3 simply contain definitions, references and terms that will be used elsewhere in the document. Think of it like an application. You need to prove your business’s ISMS has been created with the following in mind.
Clause 4 – Context
Confirms the scope of information security issues for the business. Covers internal or external factors that might impact the objectives of the ISMS.
Clause 5 – Management
How those high-up in the organisation will support the development of the ISMS. This includes creating policy and assigning roles for implementation, measuring and monitoring.
Clause 6 – Actions
Set information security objectives and identify risks. These should be listed with corresponding actions that will address risks and work towards objectives.
Clause 7 – Resources
In consideration of the previous clauses, what business resources are needed to maintain and manage the ISMS. Assets include people, materials, and infrastructure.
Clause 8 – Implementation
A clear outline of how the ISMS plans will be put into practice. Some processes will have documentation associated with them, which should be recorded here.
Clause 9 – Monitoring
How the organisation will ensure the ISMS is performing consistently over time.
Clause 10 – Improvements
Record any corrective actions and make allowances for future improvements to ISMS.
How do I get ISO 27001 certified?
You can get ready for certification by ensuring your ISMS meets all the standards of ISO 27001. An audit will then be carried out, after which a certification will be awarded if the requirements are met. The process of getting ISO 27001 certified therefore starts with an analysis of the organisation’s ISMS. This is something that the expert information security consultants at CyberWhite can help with.
Our team has lots of experience implementing ISO 27001 for businesses. We recommend undertaking a gap analysis to identify areas where your organisation’s ISMS may require development. CyberWhite go on to help you train staff accordingly, develop a comprehensive system plan and update documentation. The framework for an effective information security management system will differ from business to business. As such, it’s beneficial to work with a security partner to provide objective assessments on your security posture and how you meet the requirements of the standard.
Want to know how secure your information systems are? Request a security check today.