ISO 27001 Audit Checklist (5 Easy Steps)



Jan 17, 2024

ISO 27001 Audit Checklist

Much like the fear of examinations, the fear of audits can be pretty real if you haven’t put in the necessary work. Even after extensive preparation, it isn’t uncommon to have a fear of having missed doing something critical to ensure successful certification. Having ISO 27001 audit checklist will help you ensure you have met all the requirements and can help allay these fears. 

In this article, we give you an overview of the ISO audit and provide you with an ISO 27001 audit checklist of specific to-dos to complete before you appear for a certification audit.

ISO 27001 audit checklist overview

ISO 27001 audit checklist helps organizations prepare for an inspection to get certified as per the international standard for Information Security Management Systems (ISMS).

It helps you, as an organization, in identifying gaps or places where their ISMS may not be fully compliant. Moreover, the checklist provides a set of questions and criteria that cover the standard’s requirements. Although an ISO 27001 audit checklist is a valuable tool to ensure that the organization’s ISMS complies with the standard’s requirements, it cannot replace a thorough audit.

ISO 27001 Audit checklist

There are two types of ISO 27001 audits:

  • Internal Audit
  • External Audit

The external audits comprise the annual periodic surveillance audits and the recertification audit that’s carried out at the end of three years (from certification).

The ISO 27001 standard mandates organizations to conduct an internal audit before they present themselves to an accredited external auditor for certification.

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Is ISO 27001 audit required?

Yes, the ISO 27001 standard mandates you conduct regular internal audits (typically once a year) and periodic surveillance audits in the interim period. Unlike other frameworks, such as SOC 2, the certification audits for ISO 27001 aren’t an annual affair. Once certified, your next certification audit would happen only at the end of the third year. But don’t let out that sigh of relief just yet. 

While these aren’t as extensive as your certification audit, they require you to be on top of your compliance game. Here’s why audits are needed.

Significance of ISO 27001 audit

Is ISO 27001 audit required

Maintain and monitor ISMS

Audits help you maintain and monitor the effectiveness of your ISMS per the standard’s requirements and implementation roadmap.

Provide insights on your ISMS

A lot can change in a business environment. Audits help identify whether such changes have a bearing on your security posture, and help you stay on your compliance course throughout.

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Assess for information security risks

In the course of business, new information assets get created. Audits ensure your asset inventory is updated, and all new information assets are assessed for security risks, and eventually protected using relevant risk treatment plans.

Find out more about asset management under ISO

Ensure staff awareness

Audits and preparation for audits help educate and empower your staff to understand and imbibe an organization-wide security culture and follow processes.

Automate ISO 27001 Audit Checklist with the Help of Sprinto. Talk to Us Now!

5 steps ISO 27001 audit checklist

The ISO audit checklist ensures adherence to information security standards. The list streamlines the audit process and enables organizations to assess their ISMS for continuous compliance. Be it an internal or an external certification audit, here’s a simple five-step process to get audit-ready.

1. Set up an internal team

Create a team of internal resources to spearhead the compliance process in your organization, and later run point during the certification audit. This team can comprise relevant function heads, Security Officer & IT heads, and People Ops, among others.

This team would be involved in the different stages of designing, building and monitoring the ISMS. Therefore, is best placed to answer the queries raised by the external auditor during the certification audit.

2. Ensure ISMS scope and plan are in sync

Collaborate with function heads and review the scope of your ISO 27001 certification. This could be based on the information, products, processes, services, systems, functions, subsidiaries, and geographies your organization needs to protect through its ISMS. Ensure the scope covers all the information your organization wants to protect through its ISMS. Look for internal audit findings on this aspect and incorporate the suggestions.

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3. Review documentation

Go over the many ISO 27001 documents, such as Statement of Applicability, Risk Treatment Plan, and Information Security Policy, to name a few, and ensure management has reviewed and approved them all. Also, document all policies and allow all staff to view the same via company intranet.

Recommended: Guide to ISO 27001 Gap Analysis

4. Evidence collection

Ensure there is evidence collection and a trail of documents and records to demonstrate compliance with the ISO standard requirements. For instance, document policies such as Vendor Risk Management Policy, Change Management Policy, Data Backup Policy, Business Continuity Management Policy, Vulnerability Management Policy, and Data Retention Policy, to name a few, and allow all staff to access it on the company intranet.

5. Incorporate internal audit findings

Review the internal audit report to incorporate all the findings, recommendations, and corrective actions. Your internal audit report would be one of the first things your external auditor would look for during the main audit.

Internal Audit Checklist Sample

These are some questions to ask during the audit:

– Is user access to your application secured using HTTPS (TLS algorithm) and industry-standard encryption?

– Does your senior management review and approve all company policies annually?

– Do all your staff complete Information Security Awareness training upon hire, and undergo Information Security Awareness training annually?

Here’s an exhaustive ISO 27001 audit checklist that helps you know your audit readiness before internal and external audits.

Remember, it is not enough that you have these processes and policies in place. What your auditor needs are demonstrable proof of compliance.

Also check out: How ISO 27001 can be automated

What to do during the audit? 

Once the audit has begun, you cannot alter the course of your compliance decisively. You can, however, ensure the auditor has all the documentation, evidence, and other details in the format they seek. Have a list of staff they can talk to (if need be) and ensure their availability.

Your work, however, doesn’t stop with the final audit.

You must ensure you incorporate all the suggestions/feedback from the Audit Report as per the ISO 27001 audit checklist. You must rectify all major nonconformities (if any) and share evidence of correction with the external auditor.

ISO 27001 Audit checklist
A sample checklist of the work that’s cut out for you

Get audit-ready the smart way

As you would have realized by now, ISO 27001 isn’t an easy compliance to get certified for. It requires a whole lot of work! The framework is exhaustive and heavy on documentation. This makes it progressively challenging to shake off the fear of something critical slipping through the crack. 

Make the switch to Sprinto, an intelligently-built compliance automation platform to breeze through your ISO 27001 certification audits. With inbuilt checklists, editable policy templates, management reviews, evidence collection, and risk assessments, Sprinto makes it effortless to keep tabs on your audit preparedness. The dashboard shows complete and pending tasks, and helps you stay on top of your to-dos. 

ISO 27001 certification process isn’t a ‘one-and-done’ exercise. It requires continuous monitoring and continual improvement, and a slew of audits every year. See how to do it. Speak to our experts today.

Choose the smart way to ISO 27001. Talk to us today!


What is the audit cost for ISO 27001?

The audit is an integral part of the ISO 27001 certification process, and the audit alone can cost you between $5000 and $35000, depending on the auditor and the complexity of your business.

Who needs to comply with ISO 27001?

Any business or service provider who handles, manages, or transmits client data should comply with ISO 27001. While it is not a compulsion, operating without a robust security framework is increasingly getting harder.

What are the five audit checklists of ISO 27001?

The five steps to conduct internal audits for ISO 27001 are:

  1. Set up an internal team
  2. Ensure ISMS scope and plan are in sync
  3. Review documentation
  4. Collect evidence
  5. Incorporate internal audit findings


Anwita is a cybersecurity enthusiast and veteran blogger all rolled into one. Her love for everything cybersecurity started her journey into the world compliance. With multiple certifications on cybersecurity under her belt, she aims to simplify complex security related topics for all audiences. She loves to read nonfiction, listen to progressive rock, and watches sitcoms on the weekends.

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