In 1946, representatives from 25 countries gathered to discuss formalizing industrial standards to govern emerging technologies. On 23 February 1947, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) was founded to coordinate and unify the diverse requirements previously established by national standards organizations. As part of this initiative, the international standard-setting body focused on a wide array of industries including food safety, environmental management, and manufacturing. As technology changed, ISO continued to create new worldwide proprietary commercial standards, including some that apply to information technology.

Today, international standards enable businesses to provide business partners and customers quality assurance by obtaining ISO certification. For example, in manufacturing, companies can leverage ISO 14001, consisting of environmental management standards, to reduce waste and more efficiently use resources.

Similarly, companies can use the ISO 9000 series, most importantly ISO 9001, to create a quality management system (QMS). The QMS documents the procedures and responsibilities for ensuring quality and establishing control objectives thus allowing businesses to leverage the ISO standards to prove ca continual improvement.