Guide to ISO 27001 for Small Businesses

Ayush Saxena

Ayush Saxena

Jul 23, 2023

iso 27001 for small business

Your small business is important for continued economic prosperity. About 90% of the world’s businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises, and they are innovating,  creating employment, and stimulating growth. This guide to ISO 27001 for small businesses is designed to help you navigate the complexities of ISO 27001 compliance.

With many SMEs competing with larger enterprises for supplier contracts, especially in the public sector, differentiation and resilience are winning factors. Being agile and small is great, but if you’re trying to attract more customers or compete for tenders, you will need an extra boost.

The ISO 27001 certification helps SMBs improve customer satisfaction, enable marketing, drive sales, reduce expense on Questionnaires, unblock deals, get that competitive edge, and increase turnover.

ISO 27001 for small business

Information security presents a key challenge for small business owners. With the latest technologies enabling small businesses to collect and transmit large volumes of valuable information quickly, small businesses are struggling to:

  • Securely process and store the information 
  • Implement a system to identify and manage information security risks,
  • Focus on information security with dedicated resources

If you are a small business owner facing similar challenges, the good news is that Sprinto is here to automate all your ISO 27001 requirements.

This video gives a comprehensive view of ISO 27001 if you’re just starting out:

Importance of ISO 27001 for small business

The key importance of ISO 27001 is that it can be used by businesses of any size to set up an information security management system(ISMS) that is in line with international standards. So, this implies that your systems, as well as the data you collect, are organized, safeguarded from all types of threats, and also protected against future threats.

ISO 27001 is designed to enable organizations to protect their sensitive information from internal and external risks. Apart from security, an ISO certification helps in moving the needle in other aspects as well.

We’ve listed a few of them here:

1. Guard Against Data Breaches

Strengthen your security posture by complying with the ISO 27001 standard. Identify and remediate risks, and define the processes and people responsible for managing risks to avoid the high costs of data recovery, loss of business, remedial actions, and regulatory fines.

2. Stay Compliant With Data Privacy Laws

Although ISO 27001 certification doesn’t offer perfect compliance with every global data security regulation, it is a big step in the right direction to adhere to data privacy compliance goals.

3. Close More Deals

ISO 27001 certification shows customers and partners that your company takes information security seriously,  putting you ahead of the competition, particularly among international customers, organizations with strict security requirements, and enterprise clients.

4. Improve Risk Management

The ISO 27001 standard directs organizations to establish accountability for information risk. This transparent chain of command, with the proliferation of information assets, aids you in clarifying roles and processes and maintaining appropriate access control so no vulnerabilities are left unaddressed.

5. Reduce Frequent Audits

As data breaches and attacks become more common,  to ensure that their supply chain is safeguarded, more businesses are auditing their vendors’ ISMSs. An ISO 27001 certification can help reduce the costs and number of these audits for existing customers during the sales cycle.

An easier way to get ISO 27001 certified.

How to Implement ISO 27001 into your small business?

There are many do-it-yourself options available out there for implementing ISO 27001 for your small business, normally from non-UKAS accredited bodies, promising certification in a matter of days. These options are limited in nature, often not tailored to the specific needs of your business or those of your customers. 

We believe each ISO implementation,  whilst working closely around the resources and budget available within the business, should be bespoke and developed to ensure maximum effect. 

If you are looking to automate ISMS and achieve ISO 27001 certification, get in touch with us today to know how we can support your small business.

The key steps to implementing ISO 27001 in a small business are as follows:

1. Conduct a comprehensive Gap Analysis

Gap analysis helps assess the information security management system in place and map it against the compliance requirements as laid out by ISO 27001.

2. Provide an end-to-end plan and roadmap 

Your ISMS should provide end-to-end to achieve compliance as well as certification.

3. Undertake Risk Management and Analysis 

Risk Management and Analysis help develop an asset register as well as the information security risk assessments required, including the production of a Statement of Applicability (SoA) – a primary requirement of ISO 27001.

4. Implement incident management processes 

Incident management processes help identify – and effectively rectify – any cyber security incidents that might occur.

5. Develop a robust Governance and Compliance structure.

Review and draft new procedures and policies while measuring the effectiveness and maturity of the cybersecurity program.

6. Create Cybersecurity Awareness among Employees

Provide training for staff and security awareness materials, as well as specific training for IT security roles.

How much does it cost to get ISO 27001 for a small business?

The cost of the entire process, starting from preparation to certification, will depend on your organization’s current security posture, the resources you choose to devote to it, and the number of employees. The cost of ISO 27001 certification audits ranges between $14,000 and $16,000 for Stages 1 and 2 for small companies inclusive of controls and policies. 

As per ISO/IEC recommendations, the audit itself should approximately costs between $5,400 (for a business with under 50 employees) and $27,000 (for a business having up to 2,000 employees).

Also, you’ll need to account for the costs associated with providing employee training, hiring external assistance, updating technologies, creating documentation, and of course, the certification audit.

Is it compulsory to have ISO 27001 for small businesses?

As a small business, you need to realize the importance of information security as well as the implications of a data breach or cyber attack that may result in some businesses being closed down. 

The costs of failure, In today’s information-intensive climate, in this field can be substantial in terms of fines, fraud, loss of trade secrets, lawsuits, harm to reputation, and intellectual property – the list goes on. This is without mentioning the potential lost business in the future.

During 2020 we saw a lot of larger organizations, such as Marriot and BT, fighting hackers and trying desperately to restore the damage done to their business and reputation. Despite all this, many SME IT directors still do not see ISO 27001 as relevant to them.

The fact is ransomware attacks and hackers hit organizations of all sizes, and as a small business owner, you need to take steps to reduce security risks.

Automate ISO 27001 Certification with Sprinto

An ISO 27001 certification aids you in scaling the quality of your products and services while cultivating trust among clients and customers.

As a small business, navigating the complexities of the ISO 27001 compliance requirements can be a daunting task. We understand your time and resources are better spent towards the growth of your company.

Sprinto puts all your compliance requirements on autopilot while strengthening your cybersecurity posture. Implement security controls, monitor entity-level risks, and create cybersecurity awareness among your employees, all from a single dashboard.


What is the Statement of Applicability of ISO 27001?

A Statement of Applicability is a document that states the Annex A controls determined to be necessary for mitigating information security risk for ISO 27001 certification as well as the Annex A controls that were excluded.

How long does it take to get ISO 27001 certified?

It depends on the size of your organization as well as the complexity of the data you maintain. In an average of four months, a small-to-medium-sized business can expect to be audit-ready and then through the audit process in six months.

Does my company need ISO 27001?

If your business focuses much of its work outside of North America, ISO certification may be required. Additionally, if your prospects and clients have sought proof of your organization’s security against an internationally accepted standard, then ISO 27001 certification may also be necessary.

Ayush Saxena

Ayush Saxena

Ayush Saxena is a senior security and compliance writer. Ayush is fascinated by the world of hacking and cybersecurity. He specializes in curating the latest trends and emerging technologies in cybersecurity to provide relevant and actionable insights. You can find him hiking, travelling or listening to music in his free time.

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