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What is ISO 27001? Ultimate Guide for 2022

iso 27001

According to The Economist, a well-known British news source, data has officially become the most sought-after asset and is considered the most valuable resource in the entire world. 

Cybercriminals are taking advantage of this opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities within companies to gain access and retrieve the much-desired information to include things such as personal identifiable information (PII), financial data, or intellectual business property. Implementing policies and standards within a business can drastically reduce the risk of a cyberattack and ensure that the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive data remains intact. 

On an international scale, the ISO 27001 series can assist with the information security management processes and procedures to maximize information protection.  

What is ISO 27001 

ISO is the International Organization for Standardization. The main purpose of its existence is to simplify a variety of concepts and standardize it on an international scale. The 27001 series focuses primarily on the development and ISO 27001 requirements for an Information Security Management System (ISMS) along with the implementation techniques necessary. The ISMS is a set of rules in the form of policies, procedures, and documentation that a company should create to identify and mitigate known risks, set clear company security objectives, achieve controls, and strive to make continued improvements towards security.  

ISO 27001 works in a “Plan, Do, Check, Act” format. This is a continuous lifecycle that allows for businesses to proactively manage the risk to key information assets. It also outlines various approaches for management of information systems and their overall security. The concept provides a point-to-point connection between aspects of technology and the processes.  

How to Implement the Security ISO 27001 Controls 

During the implementation of ISMS, it is crucial to start out with a security risk assessment to determine the initial health posture of the network before determining which objectives and controls to address first. If necessary, some businesses may want to consider cybersecurity-as-a-service, which is a third-party cybersecurity solution that can save businesses time, money, and transfer all associated cyber risk to an alternate entity.  

There are various types of controls, and each can be implemented in different ways.  

Technical controls focus on the hardware, software, and firmware aspects to include patching, firewalls, intrusion detection, and authentication mechanisms. It utilizes technology, opposed to people, to reduce the number of vulnerabilities 

Organizational controls primarily are approved by management and revolve around policy and documentation. These pieces of documentation set the standards for what the organization will require regarding security, cybersecurity, and information security 

Legal controls are expected behaviors that an organization must abide by. Examples include items such as non-disclosure agreements and contracts.  

Physical controls should be implemented in tandem with a facilities office or facilities manager. The physical controls focus on the physical security of the organization. As an example, think of badges, door codes, and video monitoring for sensitive areas like a datacenter to see who is coming and going.  

Human resource controls are all about the employees and the training provided to the staff. Specialized training such as security awareness training, internal auditor training, and generalized skills needed to be successful with cybersecurity practices are all items to focus on in this category.  

 

Benefits of Being ISO 27001 Certified and Implementing ISMS  

The primary goal for businesses that implement ISMS measures is to reduce the risk of potential cyber threats and attacks. However, there are additional benefits that may not be quite as obvious from the start. 

With a proper ISMS in place, an auditor can verify controls are met and certify the organization. When a business becomes ISO 27001 certified, there is a positive shift in perception from potential clients, customers, stakeholders, investors, and competitors. Each of these groups begin to view the company as a trustworthy entity knowing sensitive information is being protected to standards that are recognized on a global level.  

Another big advantage from a financial perspective is the avoidance of fines. When a company does not safeguard information and is careless with the procedures for sensitive information, in many places a government organization oversight can intervene and fine the company. For instance, in Europe, a failure to protect PII can result in prosecution under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The fines can range in various amounts but are often 4% of global turnover or €20M, whichever is higher. With this fine comes negative publicity and the brand becomes tarnished, which in turn leads to a negative impact on profit margins and the growth of the business. 

One notable item that comes as a benefit to achieving ISO 27001 certification is the cybersecurity culture shift within the organization. Employees will have a different outlook and be more mindful of the importance of cybersecurity and any risks associated. It grows the organization’s reputation and helps build a sense of digital trust.  

 

Conclusion 

ISO 27001 is a wonderful and powerful document that simplifies concepts and focuses on the development and requirements needed for a strong Information Security Management System. Although there are various steps required, it is organized into different controls that can be implemented at the most convenient intervals. When doing so and successfully achieving the ISO 27001 certification, there are many positive aspects attached to include the mitigation of cyberattacks, trust amongst customers and investors, avoidance of fines, and the growth of cybersecurity culture within the organization. 

Although ISO 27001 is not a legally mandated requirement, it does ensure that the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the most valued asset on earth remains intact.