ISO 27001 compliance can be confusing because the sheer volume of standards is overwhelming, but the right program can ensure business continuity. If using an ISO audit software tool to achieve ISO certification is on your compliance roadmap, here’s a quick primer to get you up to speed and jumpstart your ISO compliance efforts.

What is ISO 27001?

The ISO 27001 family, published by the International Organization for Standardization, includes a set of standards for information security. Deciphering the various numbers can be confusing at first, but each standard is numbered and deals with a specific facet of managing your company’s information security risk management efforts.

At a minimum, you need to know ISO/IEC 27001 and 27002. The 27001 standard provides requirements for businesses to implement and operate an Information Security Management System, or ISMS. The ISMS provides tools for management to make decisions, exercise control, and audit the effectiveness of InfoSec efforts within the company.

ISO 27002 provides a library of control objectives for InfoSec, which can be used within the framework of your ISMS (e.g., conducting an inventory of assets, securing networks, etc.). The same controls also appear in ISO 27001, Annex A, which can lead to confusion but don’t worry, a good GRC tool will provide you with the appropriate objectives from both 27001 and 27002!

What are the Different ISO Certifications?

Within the ISO 27001 family, there are many other vital documents. If you’re new to compliance or an ISO program, you can likely ignore these, but it is essential to know they exist. They include:

  • ISO 27005: Information security risk management these standard guides companies that are maturing their ISMS and controls programs. Rather than implementing controls as a checkbox activity, risk-driven organizations proactively choose controls that best mitigate their risks.
  • ISO 27006: Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of information security management systems The auditor’s blueprint for conducting a certification audit against the ISO 2700n standards.
  • ISO 27017: Code of practice for information security controls based on ISO 27002 for cloud services. This one’s got a tough name, but it’s essential! This standard provides additional guidance on the 27002 controls specific to cloud service providers and consumers.
  • ISO 27018: Code of practice for protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) in public clouds acting as PII processors. If you’re dealing with PII, chances are the cloud is a scary but soon-to-be-necessary part of your life. This standard provides additional guidance on the 27002 controls to secure PII in a cloud environment.

Getting Certification for ISO 27001

Implementing ISO 27001 requires time and effort, but it is less costly and complicated than you may believe. There are several approaches to implementation, each with its own set of expenses. Here are some factors to consider when pursuing ISO 27001 certification:

Learn about ISO 27001 and ISO 27002.

Before enjoying the many advantages of ISO 27001, you must first become acquainted with the standard and its critical criteria.

Your primary reference points will be ISO/IEC 27001:2013, ISO/IEC 27002:2013, and ISO/IEC 27000:2018.

Form a Project Team

You must first pick a project leader to oversee the project. Second, you must conduct an information-gathering exercise to assess senior-level objectives and establish information security goals. Third, create a project plan and a project risk register.

Perform a Gap Analysis

A gap analysis gives you a high-level summary of what needs to be done to attain certification and allows you to examine and compare your organization’s current information security arrangements to the ISO 27001 standards.

Examine the Scope of the Information Security Management System (ISMS)

You must select which information assets to ring-fence and secure during scoping. Doing this right is critical because a scope that is too large will increase the project’s time and expense, and a scope that is too narrow may expose your firm to unanticipated hazards.

Launch High-Level Policy Development

You should design high-level policies for the ISMS that specify roles, duties, and continuous improvement standards. You should also examine how to raise ISMS project awareness through internal and external communication.

Conduct a Risk Assessment

Risk assessments are at the heart of every ISMS and include five critical components:

  • Putting in place a risk management framework
  • Identifying possible threats
  • Analyzing risks
  • Evaluating risks
  • Choosing risk-reduction treatments

The risk assessment also determines whether your company’s controls are required and cost-effective.

Select and Apply Controls

You should implement controls to manage or mitigate risks identified in the risk assessment.

ISO 27001 requires enterprises to compare any controls to their list of best practices, which is included in Annex A. Creating documentation is the most time-consuming aspect of deploying an ISMS.

Develop a Risk Documentation

The Risk Treatment Plan (RTP) and Statement of Applicability (SoA) are critical papers for an ISO 27001 compliance project.

The SoA lists all of the controls described in ISO 27001, specifies whether each control has been implemented, and explains why it was included or removed. The RTP outlines the measures to address each risk identified in the risk assessment.

Staff Training

Human error has often been identified as the weakest link in cybersecurity. As a result, all personnel should be trained regularly to strengthen their understanding of information security risks and the purpose of the ISMS.

Internal Audit Assessment, Review, and Execution

ISO 27001 needs frequent audits and testing. This guarantees that the incident response plans and controls are operating as intended. Furthermore, top management should annually evaluate the ISMS’s performance.

Opt for a Certification Audit

If you choose certification, be sure that the certification body is appropriately certified by a recognized national accrediting organization and the International Accreditation Forum member.

Your chosen certification authority will analyze your management system documentation, ensure that you apply adequate controls, and perform a site audit to put the processes to the test.

Compliance Management with Reciprocity ZenComply

While the ISO 27001 family is a complex and confusing body of standards governing your business and third parties, having a good Compliance management tool can alleviate some of the compliance burden, including managing the risk assessment process and creating a security policy.

All ISO 27001, 27002, 27017, and 27018 content is available in ZenComply, an ISO compliance software tool that more than 200 customers use as part of standard licenses. In addition, the team of experts at Reciprocity has created consolidated objectives mappings, which can help you leverage your existing compliance work to meet ISO 27001 objectives.

You may begin your first audit using ZenComply in less than 30 minutes. A prescriptive workflow walks you through picking frameworks and scoping requirements and controls step by step. You may prevent audit fatigue while maintaining an efficient and uniform process by employing a “ask once and comply with many” approach to sharing and reusing rules across frameworks.

ZenComply removes ambiguity and gets you up and running quickly, allowing you to arrive at your first audit conclusion and achieve immediate benefits.

Get a free demo today and explore the Reciprocity ROAR Platform’s Power.