The International Organization for Standards (ISO) creates and publishes industry standards intending to respond to customer satisfaction concerns regarding a lack of consistency and quality in manufacturing. Since their conception, the ISO standards have evolved to incorporate a variety of industries, including information technology. The standards established by the certification body are often used by governments and other organizations as founding principles for their compliance requirements.

One of the primary ISO standards is ISO 9001, part of the ISO 9000 series. ISO 9001 defines the requirements for creating a quality management system (QMS). The QMS is a process approach for documenting procedures and responsibilities governing quality and control objectives to ensure continual improvement.

Although voluntary, ISO certification creates documentation that gives upstream suppliers and downstream customers confidence over an organization’s processes and procedures governing quality control. To be ISO certified, an organization must use a third-party assessor who provides an independent opinion that the company met the requirements. Once certified, organizations can incorporate the ISO certification on their website or in their marketing materials. However, since ISO incorporates so many standards, “ISO 9001 Certified” means that the company is certified only for that standard, not any others.