Organizations depend on data and have processes and tools to transmit, access, and store it, but seldom take effective measures to secure it. Internal safeguards often fail to protect it and prove inadequate against major attacks.
Bad actors and hackers often exploit these inadequacies. Organizations in their attempt to secure their business environment go a mile wide and a meter deep instead of identifying and prioritizing their data protection efforts.
ISO 27001 compliance is a great first step towards achieving compliance and security.
In this article, we learn what ISO 27001 compliance is, why it is important, its crucial components (controls), how it enables security, and more.
What is ISO 27001?
ISO 27001 is a comprehensive international framework that guides organizations to manage, monitor, review, implement, and maintain information security. It enables organizations to ensure the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of their information security management system (ISMS).
ISO 27001 is a part of the broader 27000 family of mutually supporting standards that collectively offer cyber security best practices for organizations of all types and sizes. Together, it facilitates holistic infosec management of a wide range of data.
Why is ISO 27001 compliance required?
Whether you want to improve your overall security posture or gain stakeholder trust by showing certification, ISO 27001 is the globally recognized gold standard for information security. ISO 27001 framework is not compulsory but is necessary for good reason – keep reading to know what these are.
Business growth and continuity: Running an organization means you have a ton of things on your plate – leaving no time for incidents that make your life harder.
Security breaches mimic the domino effect – once it enters your system, multiple systems and processes become vulnerable. Take Toyota for example, when they were forced to halt production following a cyberattack.
ISO 27001 framework helps you identify vulnerabilities, assess existing risks, and implement corrective controls to ensure uninterrupted growth. It requires you to continuously evaluate risks, so your team can address them before it causes damage.
Control 17.A in Annex A, which is concerned with information security continuity. It requires organizations to plan their requirements, implement and maintain processes, and verify those at regular intervals for continued security in the event of a disaster.
Better reputation: “Data security is not a concern for me and malicious actors can access it all they want” – said no business owner ever.
Data is a valuable asset for every business. More businesses are looking for partners who take information security seriously and there is a good chance that you won’t be chosen unless you demonstrate confidence.
An ISO 27001 certification is a good path to gaining their confidence. This gives you a competitive advantage over those who offer the same services but fail to show sufficient proof of strong security measures.
Coordinated controls: Organizations have a number of security controls to detect, block, mitigate, and respond to threats. These controls often tend to lack coordination as they are implemented as a corrective measure to solve a specific issue. As a result, it primarily focuses on data deployed on the cloud and fails to protect non IT assets like paper documents.
With an ISMS you take control of every aspect of security, including physical security. ISMS requires you to implement a comprehensive suite of controls to protect data in any format.
What are ISO 27001 framework controls?
ISO 27001 includes 114 controls divided into 14 categories. Its goal is to provide a framework for businesses to manage risks to information security. You can choose the control specific to your organization. Below is a list of 14 controls and its objective.
- Information security policies (A.5): Management guidelines and infosec support as per requirements, laws, and regulations.
- Organization of information security and assignment of responsibility (A.6): Establishes management framework to control implementation and operation of information security. Secures teleworking and mobile devices.
- Human resource security (A.7): Ensures employees and stakeholders understand and fulfill their security obligations. Requires employees to communicate security roles after change of employment.
- Asset management (A.8): Concerned with asset identification, protection, and unauthorized access.
- Access control (A.9): Limits access to data and data processing facilities, ensures authorized access, and holds users accountable to safeguard data.
- Encryption and management of sensitive information (A.10): Ensures efficient use of cryptography to maintain data confidentiality and integrity.
- Physical and environmental security (A.11): Prevents unauthorized physical access to data and its processing facilities. Prevents loss, theft, damage to assets, and interruptions to business operations.
- Operations security (A.12): Ensure secure operation of data processing facilities from malware and data loss. Requires organizations to record events, evidence, prevent exploitation of technical vulnerabilities, and reduce audit impact of systems.
- Communications security (A.13): Protect data deployed on the network and its supporting facilities and ensure security of shared data.
- System acquisition, development, and maintenance (A.14): Ensure security across the life cycle of information.
- Supplier relationships (A.15): Maintain service level agreements on information security service delivery.
- Information security incident management (A.16): Ensure effective and consistent management of information security incidents.
- Information security aspects of business continuity management (A.17): Ensure continuity of security by including it in the continuity management systems and its availability in processing facilities.
- Compliance (A.18): Prevent breach of legal and contractual obligations related to security. Ensures security implementation and operation align with business policies and procedures.
ISO 27001 Implementation Checklist
ISO 27001 certification is a written document to prove that your system meets the requirements. It is from external certification bodies and not ISO itself.
However, if you are planning to get certified, ensure that the certification body uses the relevant CASCO standard. CASCO, ISO’s Committee on Conformity Assessment provides guidelines on the certification process.
We have discussed the implementation process in brief below. You can check the detailed step by step guide to implement ISO 27001.
- Scoping: Create a scope based on the data you wish to secure. This depends on your business structure, requirements, processes, and products.
- Risk assessment: This is a long checklist of policies, procedures, and documents to control and mitigate risks to your ISMS. Analyze and identify the risks that threaten your critical data based on the level of severity.
- Statement of applicability: The SOA is a list of applicable controls. It should include the selected controls and a justification for choosing or excluding them.
- Policies and controls: Here you identify threats, implement controls, review its effectiveness, and continue improving them.
- Address gaps: Add resilience to your ISMS by using a cycle of monitoring, analyzing, and fixing gaps.
- Internal audit: Your internal team will review documents, conduct penetration tests, work on the internal audit report, and analyze non conformities.
- External audits: External auditor reviews and checks your documents, provides audit report and certification. This is followed by stage 2 audit that verifies if your systems are operating as per the requirements. The auditor provides a report on the findings.
- Continual improvement: Conduct risk assessment, analysis, and take corrective action at regular intervals to keep up with the continuously changing nature of threats.
How to get ISO 27001 certification?
ISO 27001 certification is a multi-step process, especially if you are getting compliance for the first time. You can check an in-depth explanation of each step in detail.
- Stakeholder collaboration: Discuss your requirements with the stakeholders and get a briefing from them.
- Assess risks: Assess, analyze and prioritize your risks.
- Patch gaps: Work on your areas of weakness, gaps, and blockers.
- Evaluate: Frequent performance assessment helps to keep everything running smoothly.
- Audit and certification: Post implementation, your ISMS will be reviewed by external auditors and lead to certification.
Strong security posture is not easy to achieve. But the good news is that it is not impossible either – especially with the right tools. A combination of people and processes are the key ingredients to make your organization safe and secure.
Sprinto is a well thought out tool built keeping ease of use, consistency, people, process, and requirements in mind. It automates everything on your compliance checklist, monitors for previously encountered and new threats, and creates an audit trail – all you need for easy and fast certification.
With Sprinto, you gain integrated risk assessment, control mapping, and in-house support from our experts at any time!
Want to know what we can do for your business? Talk to us today for an easy compliance journey.
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, it is increasingly getting harder to operate without a robust security framework.
What are the three main principles of ISO 27001?
The three main principles of ISO 27001 are confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. Confidentiality means you should keep data private and allow only authorized individuals to access it. Integrity means data is not altered, tempered with, or damaged when transmitted. Availability means authorized people should be able to access data as and when required.
What are ISO 27001 requirements?
Organizations are required to fulfill clauses 5 to 10 and implement the necessary controls specified in Annex A.
What are the new security clauses in ISO 27001 2022?
ISO 27001 2022 security clauses are
- Threat intelligence
- Information security for use of cloud services
- ICT readiness for business continuity
- Physical security monitoring
- Configuration management
- Information deletion
- Data masking
- Data leakage prevention
- Monitoring activities
- Web filtering
- Secure coding