- ISO 27001 is a globally-recognized information security standard that sets out specifications for an information security management system. It helps organizations handle information security by involving people, processes, and technology.
- ISO 27001 certification assures customers and partners that a service organization is aligned with best practices in information security and conducts regular risk assessments.
At our previous company, Recruiterbox, our priority was to protect user data and ensure information security. To assure our customers that we took data protection seriously, we needed ISO 27001 certification.
However, getting the certification requires a substantial investment of time, money, and resources. We spent several months and thousands of dollars to get certified while having to deprioritize product development.
We realized that many other businesses like ours struggled to get the certification, too. So we built Sprinto to help businesses get ISO 27001 certified without the nightmare and undergo hassle-free audits.
In this article, you will learn everything about ISO 27001 certification and the requirements to get the certificate for your organization.
What is the ISO 27001 Standard?
The ISO 27001 certification is an international standard to handle information security that lays out specifications for an information security management system. It assures customers and partners of an organization’s data protection capabilities.
The standard is published by the International Organization for Standardization (IOS) in partnership with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
The ISO 27001 standard assists organizations to “establish, implement, operate, monitor, review, maintain, and continually improve an ISMS.”
The most current version of the standard was published in 2013, which replaced the 2005 iteration. Hence, it’s also called ISO/IEC 27001:2013.
Why is ISO 27001 Important?
Independently accredited ISO 27001 certification is recognized globally. It is the most popular information security standard currently.
By implementing the standard, you also meet the requirements of EU GDPR laws and the NIS Regulations. Thus, organizations can reduce the cost of data breaches.
Cloud computing companies can demonstrate to their partners and customers that their information security management system is aligned to global standards for data protection. It also helps increase business opportunities and partnerships.
What are ISO 27001 Requirements?
ISO 27001 has 10 management system clauses. It is mandatory to meet the below ISO 27001 requirements to get the certification.
- Terms and definitions
- Process approach impact
- Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle
- Context of the organization
- Performance evaluation
Along with Annex A (which lists 114 information security controls), the clauses help to implement and maintain the ISMS of an organization. However, note that all 114 Annex A controls aren’t mandatory to implement. A risk assessment exercise determines which controls are required.
We’ve described each clause briefly to help you understand what they entail.
Clause 1: Terms and definitions
- Information security – processes, methodologies, and technologies used to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.
- Confidentiality – property of the information that can only be accessed or disclosed to authorized persons, processes, or entities.
- Integrity – property of the system that is free of error and complete.
- Availability – property of the information that is accessible and usable only by authorized persons, processes, or entities.
- Information security management – management of processes that deal with the identification of vulnerabilities that may put information at risk, and the implementation of controls to address the risks and protect the organization from them.
- Risk – the effect of uncertainty on desired outcomes.
- Risk assessment (RA) – a process that helps identify, analyze, and evaluate risks.
- Risk treatment plan – a set of procedures, methodologies, and technologies used to modify risks.
- Residual risk – the value of risk or the amount of remaining risk after risk treatment.
Clause 2: Process approach impact
Compliance alone does not guarantee that an organization is capable of protecting information. It needs to use a process approach to implement its information security management system, which organizes and manages information security processes to create value.
The organization also gets a better view of how each step has a part in protecting information, and it can quickly identify problematic points in performing the process.
Clause 3: Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle
Since a business changes and evolves due to internal and external influences, the information security management system should also be able to adjust and remain useful. This is achieved by adopting a Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle.
- Plan – Defining policies, controls, and processes and performing risk management to support the delivery of information security aligned with the organization’s core business.
- Do – Implementing and operating planned processes.
- Check – the monitoring, evaluation, and review of results against the information security policies and objectives so that improvements can be made.
- Act – the performing of authorized actions to ensure that the information security delivers the desired results and can be improved.
Clause 4: Context of the organization
The organization should identify all internal and external issues that can affect the achievement of the objectives of the information security management system. It should assess which parties are interested in the ISMS and what their needs and expectations are. It also needs to assess which legal and regulatory requirements and contractual obligations are applicable.
The scope, boundaries, and applicability of the information security management system are defined keeping in mind the identified issues, interested parties, and dependencies.
Clause 5: Leadership
The commitment of top management and line managers, evidence of their involvement, and objectives must be established in accordance with strategic policies and the overall direction of the organization.
Some other aspects that must be ensured are:
- Providing resources so the information security management system can be operated efficiently
- Achieving the management system’s objectives
- Supporting the management system throughout its lifecycle considering a PDCA approach
Clause 6: Planning
The organization should have an information security risk assessment process with defined information security risk and acceptance criteria.
It should select proper risk treatment options and controls.
It should also establish and communicate information security objectives at appropriate levels and functions in alignment with the information security policy.
Clause 7: Support
The organization should make available the resources, employee competence, awareness, and communication required by the information security management system to support the stated objectives and make continual improvements.
Information should be documented according to the ISO 27001 standard.
It should create and update information within the scope of the management system and it should be reviewed and approved.
The organization should make proper provisions for the control of documented information.
Clause 8: Operation
The organization should plan, implement, and control its processes and retain documented information to ensure that risks and opportunities are treated properly, security objectives are achieved, and information security requirements are met.
Risk assessments should be done at planned intervals and the resulting data should be documented.
Risk treatment plans should be implemented and resulting data retained as documented information.
Clause 9: Performance evaluation
The organization should establish and evaluate performance metrics for management system effectiveness and efficiency. It should conduct independent internal audits at planned intervals. Any necessary corrective measures should be implemented on time.
Top management review should also be conducted at regular intervals to ensure that the information security management system is adequate, suitable, and effective to support information security.
Clause 10: Improvement
Nonconformities and corrective actions should be taken on the basis of outputs from management reviews, internal audits, and performance assessments.
Continual improvement is a critical aspect of the information security management system to ensure that information security is adequate and effective.
The PDCA cycle is recommended because it is highly beneficial within ISO 27001.
ISO 27001 certification establishes the core controls and principles of a service organization’s business model for information management. Certification to the standard establishes that your information security management system follows information security best practices.
You’re able to increase your cyberattack resilience and respond to evolving security threats, both internal and external.
FAQ: ISO 27001 Requirements
What is the ISO 27001 Standard?
The ISO 27001 standard is a framework for information security that addresses people, processes, and technology. It mandates risk assessments at regular intervals and uses a risk-based approach with technology neutrality to keep information assets secure.
What are the requirements for ISO 27001?
The requirements for ISO 27001 include 10 management system clauses and 114 information security controls (Annex A). The implementation of the clauses is mandatory for certification, whereas a risk assessment determines which controls are needed.
What are the benefits of using ISO 27001 requirements?
You get the following benefits when the requirements for ISO 27001 are met:
- You can protect all forms of data – cloud, digital, or hard copy
- You can increase your organization’s resilience to cyberattacks
- You can implement only the security controls you require, thereby decreasing information security costs
- Your organization is prepared to deal with evolving security risks by adapting to changes in both the internal and external environment
- You demonstrate your organization’s commitment to data security and increase your business opportunities
- You can improve your organizational culture by ensuring that everyone adopts security as a part of their day-to-day working practices