What is ISO 27004 Standard, and Why Is It Required?



Mar 08, 2024

What is ISO 27004 Standard, and Why Is It Required?

Most organizations are aware of the ISO 27001 standard that lists guidelines for establishing and managing an Information Security Management System (ISMS). Businesses implement ISMS controls and devise new policies to improve security posture. So, what does an ISO 27004 standard have to do with all this? Is it a subset or security requirement that falls under ISO 27001? 

Not everyone is aware of this particular standard, but it is crucial for the effectiveness of an organization’s security standing. This blog aims to discuss ISO 27004 and why it is required. 


Goal: ISO/IEC 27004:2016 aims to establish effective measures for assessing and improving the performance of Information Security Management Systems (ISMS).

Tactic: The standard comprises eight clauses covering aspects such as scope, normative references, terms and definitions, structure, rationale, characteristics, types of measures, and processes.

Result: ISO/IEC 27004:2016 is a vital framework for enhancing ISMS performance. Sprinto provides automated compliance solutions, streamlines processes, and reinforces ISMS effectiveness for robust information security practices.

What is the ISO/IEC 27004 standard?

ISO 27004 is an international standard for measuring the performance and effectiveness of an ISMS. The standard focuses on determining what to measure in your security program and how to analyze the performance of your security systems in place.

ISO 27004 provides a standardized framework that measures the performance of the ISMS and helps assess whether your security systems and controls are working as intended.

History of ISO/IEC 27004 Standard

ISO 27004:2009 is part of an ISO 27000 family of standards established in 2009. Unlike ISO 27001, a certification standard for SMS, ISO 27004 provides guidelines for measuring the performance of an ISMS. Hence, it is not a mandate that can be certified against but works well with the other ISO 27000 standards.

Measuring the performance of the ISMS can be challenging, which leads organizations to employ various analysis methods. In response to these performance challenges, introducing the ISO 27004 standard rendered some of these processes obsolete.

The creators designed it to measure performance against a specifically defined set of criteria for accurate and standardized evaluation. Over the years, they updated and renamed the standard to ISO 27004:2016.

Also, check out: ISO 27001 and ISO 27002 standards

Why do you need ISO/IEC 27004?

In very simple terms, ISO/IEC 27004:2016 describes how to create and operate security evaluation systems for analyzing the performance and effectiveness of information security metrics. This is crucial for companies implementing ISO 27001:2013 to safeguard sensitive information from cyber-attacks.

Organizations need to understand whether their investment in information security management is successful. ISO 27004 helps organizations understand how well-suited they are to react to the latest cyber threats. Moreover, by measuring how effective your security metrics are, you can individually address any critical issues.

Leverage automation: Sprinto’s ISO 27004 compliance automation software enables you to streamline the requirements to achieve your ISO 27004 certification. With Sprinto, you can:

  • Integrate your existing tech stack and automatically assess risks
  • Review ISMS effectiveness with control checks running throughout the day
  • Leverage in-built policy templates, training modules, role-based access controls, and other capabilities
  • Collect evidence automatically and present it to an accredited audit partner on an independent dashboard
Case Study

“Sprinto’s timebound sessions and structured onboarding program were key to success,” Acknowledges Anurag Chutani,

Co-founder and CTO at Intellect.

The significance of these sessions becomes evident when compared to the experience with another platform. Discover how Sprinto empowered Intellect with the confidence to achieve its compliance goals in our detailed case study.

What are the clauses of ISO/IEC 27004:2016?

ISO/IEC 27004:2016 has a total of eight clauses. The first four clauses are introductory, and the next four are the key clauses.

Clauses of ISO/IEC 27004:2016

Here are the 8 clauses of ISO 27004:2016 standard:

Clause 1: Scope

The scope establishes the boundaries and applicability of the ISO 27004:2016 standard. 

This clause essentially outlines the boundaries within which the standard operates and defines the extent of the standard’s effectiveness.

Clause 2: Normative references

Normative references list and refers to other guidelines and standards that are essential to understanding and implementing ISO 27004:2016.

It serves as a comprehensive reference point and ensures that users have access to all relevant external documents necessary for comprehensive understanding and compliance.

Clause 3: Terms and definitions

The terms and conditions clause provides a list of key terms used within the ISO 27004:2016 standard, along with their definitions.

This clause mentions and defines all the key terms used within the standard, enabling a common understanding of terminology among all users.

Clause 4: Structure and overview

The structure and overview clause outlines the document’s purpose and structure and mentions the number of defined clauses.

It also indicates the number of defined clauses, offering users a quick overview and context for the subsequent sections.

Clause 5: Rationale

Rationale defines the need for measuring performance, the benefits of the same, and how it fulfills the ISO 27001 requirements.

It provides the reasoning behind the performance measurement in the standard and its significance and lays the foundation for the ensuing discussions.  

Clause 6: Characteristics

This clause outlines the aspects of performance monitoring, measurement, and analysis, specifying what, when, and who is involved in these activities.

It provides a deeper understanding of the characteristics and components of the performance measurement process.

Clause 7: Types of measures

This clause categorizes measures into two types: performance measures and effectiveness measures.

This clause categorizes and clarifies the different aspects of measurement within the context of the standard.

Clause 8: Processes

This clause describes the steps to evaluate ISMS performance and effectiveness. 

It defines procedures to monitor and measure controls, analyze results, evaluate measures, review processes, and retain documented information.

Experience the Sprinto advantage

Expedite your ISO 27004 certification journey with Sprinto’s compliance automation. Navigate the intricacies of ISO/IEC 27004 seamlessly, address security risks, and implement internal controls effortlessly. Sprinto offers automated workflows, control mapping, and training modules. It identifies gaps in your security posture and enables you to develop corrective action plans.

Talk to our experts today to understand how Sprinto can help you become ISO 27004 compliant in weeks rather than months.

Benefits of ISO/IEC 27004 standard

Benefits of ISO/IEC 27004

ISO 27004 establishes frameworks for monitoring the performance of an organization’s information security management systems and helps them achieve the desired security posture. Some of the benefits of ISO/IEC 27004 are listed below:

Improved information security performance:

Implementing ISO/IEC 27004 can help organizations assess and improve the effectiveness of their information security measures.

Increases Transparency:

Compliance with ISO/IEC 27004 can strengthen stakeholder confidence in an organization’s ability to protect sensitive information, resulting in increased trust from customers, partners, and other stakeholders.

Effective Risk Management:

ISO/IEC 27004 provides a framework for identifying and assessing potential risks and cyber threats and monitoring the success of different risk mitigation solutions.

Improved decision-making:

ISO/IEC 27004 delivers statistics and insights to help make better decisions about information security investments, priorities, and resource allocation to mitigate security incidents effectively.


Organizations can avoid potential legal and financial fines by demonstrating compliance with information security best practices and regulatory requirements by implementing ISO/IEC 27004.

Overall, ISO/IEC 27004 strengthens organizations’ information security posture and demonstrates their commitment to sensitive data protection.

Experience the Sprinto advantage: Sprinto works by putting your compliance program on autopilot. It seamlessly integrates with your existing tech stack to map internal security controls and has built-in checklists, editable policy templates, evidence collection, risk assessments, and auto-run checks for compliance audits. The platform offers a comprehensive health dashboard that streamlines your tasks and helps you maintain a robust ISMS.

Get ISO 27004 compliant in record time with Sprinto

Closing thoughts

The importance of ISO 27004 is clear—the standard is crucial for companies that aim to meet the ISO 27001 requirements. The best part about ISO 27004 is it not only helps you comply with ISO 27001, furthermore it also allows you to tighten the overall security posture of your organization.

Are the ISO standards’ requirements getting overwhelmed? If you are looking to automate and streamline the ISO 27001 compliance process, let’s introduce you to a simpler solution—Sprinto. As the compliance automation platform named the leader of Cloud Compliance in G2’s Spring 2023 report, we’ve helped numerous organizations get compliance-ready within a matter of weeks. Let’s show you how it’s done. Speak to our experts today.


What is the primary purpose of ISO 27004?

The primary purpose of ISO 27004 is to assist businesses in evaluating the performance of information security management systems.

What is ISO 27003 vs. ISO 27004?

ISO 27003 defines ISMS implementation guidelines, while ISO 27004 defines ISMS performance and effectiveness measurement guidelines.

Is ISO 27004 a mandatory standard?

No, ISO 27004 is not a mandatory standard. It guides organizations in evaluating their information security performance and helps them comply with the ISO 27001 standard.



Gowsika is an avid reader and storyteller who untangles the knotty world of compliance and cybersecurity with a dash of charming wit! While she’s not decoding cryptic compliance jargon, she’s oceanside, melody in ears, pondering life’s big (and small) questions. Your guide through cyber jungles, with a serene soul and a sharp pen!

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