Storing and processing clients’ personal data has always been a delicate part of any company’s functioning. It is only getting more challenging due to tighter legal regulations in many countries. To become a reliable and trustworthy resource for your clients, your company needs to ensure that their confidential information is appropriately protected.
It is nearly impossible to limit an entire organization’s security to a couple of safety measures in today’s world. For this reason, international organizations and leading experts in information security create superior security standards, like ISO 27001, that offer a comprehensive methodology for implementing security controls in organizations.
Below, you will find everything you need to know about the most common and widespread security standard alongside some benefits for your business that could lead to you signing up for an ISO 27001 consultancy session.
ISO/IEC 27001 Standard Basics
ISO/IEC 27001 is a standard for managing and regulating information security in the modern information world. It was published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in 2005, to which it owns its full name – “ISO/IEC 27001:2013”.
This standard contains descriptions of the world’s best practices in the field of information security management. It sets requirements for an Information Security Management System (ISMS) to demonstrate an organization’s ability to protect its information resources. The ISO 27001 standard has been prepared as a model for developing, implementing, operating, monitoring, analyzing, supporting, and improving an ISMS.
The safeguards (or controls) that a company must implement are usually policies, procedures, and technical implementation (such as software and hardware). However, in most cases, companies already have all the necessary security controls at their disposal, but they are not always correctly applied.
Since such an implementation will require managing many policies, procedures, people, and assets, ISO 27001 describes how to link all these elements together in an ISMS design. Therefore, ISMS’s whole concept is not only about IT security (like firewalls and antiviruses). These are also processed management, legal protection, human resources management, protection of physical assets, and many more.
ISO 27001 certification comes in two types – for organizations and individuals. Organizations can issue a certificate to prove that they meet all the necessary points of the standard. Individuals can attend courses and take an exam to become certified lead auditors or lead implementers.
In order to achieve a certification, the organization is obligated to implement the standard and then pass the certification audit conducted by a certification body. Audit stages include:
- Review of documentation.
- The primary on-site audit. It checks whether all the company’s activities are compatible with the ISO 27001 standard and the ISMS documentation.
- Inspection visits. The auditors or Audit Company check whether the company maintains its ISMS practices after issuing the certificate during its 3-year validity period.
As part of the audits, the auditors evaluate the company’s numerous processes in different departments – Human Resources, IT, Research and Development, Security. They prepare a report, which other independent experts analyze to further confirm the objectiveness and determine whether the audit was conducted correctly. A certificate is issued only after that, indicating that the information security management system is at a high level.
Benefits of Implementing ISO 27001 for Companies
The international standard ISO 27001 can be implemented in any organization (non-profit or commercial), with any form of ownership (public or private), regardless of its size and the number of employees. Any company can use and benefit from this certificate while seeking to achieve the following objectives:
- Reducing a company’s infrastructure management costs.
- Creating a reputation of a reliable organization that deserves trust at an international scale.
- Simplifying relations with foreign clients and partners who have high requirements for the availability of an effective ISMS.
- The systematization of information policy.
- Identifying the main threats to information security and prevent or reduce and unwanted effects.
- Making decisions and identifying risks based on the company’s business goals
- Determining and eliminating weaknesses and possible vulnerabilities in the field of information security.
- Facilitating the application of other critical international audits, such as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) or NIST Special Publication 800-53.
Obtaining the ISO 27001 certificate, you will be able to declare that your company meets international performance standards, thereby strengthening suppliers’ and shareholders’ confidence that data protection is an essential part of the structure of your company’s functioning.
Although ISO is responsible for developing the standards, they are not involved in certification. To issue a certificate, you will need to choose a reputable certification body by following the next steps:
- Find and compare several certification bodies.
- Ensure that a certification body uses a relevant CASCO Standard.
- Ensure that a certification body is accredited. Although it is not compulsory, it will confirm the body’s compliance.
ISO 27001 standard improves not only the interaction between your company and its suppliers, shareholders, partners, or investors but also with your clients. Advantages of obtaining a certification that positively impacts customer experience and satisfaction include:
- Secure exchange of information.
- Guarantee of protection of intellectual property and personally identifiable information.
- Confidence in a comprehensive risk assessment and management.
- Assurance of compliance with legal obligations.
- Minimized error correction costs and risk exposure.
Due to its precise, straightforward structure – identification of risks and implementation of protective measures – ISO 27001 allows your company to achieve marketing superiority among competitors, reduce costs by preventing the majority of threats, and improve organizational processes.
The ISO/IEC 27001 standard sets out requirements for organizations to protect their information resources by creating a reliable information infrastructure. Companies with ISO 27001 certification prove that the security of financial information, intellectual property, employee data, or third-party information is successfully managed and continuously improved under the best international practices.
Implementation of this standard in your organization will move your business relationships to a whole new level, with your company being officially recognized as being safe to do business with. It gives you a significant advantage over your competitors and, at the same time, ensures your clients will continue to put their trust in your organization.