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



Oct 04, 2023

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

Most organizations are aware of the ISO 27001 standard that establishes guidelines pertaining to 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. 

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.

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.

History of ISO/IEC 27004 Standard

ISO 27004:2009 is part of an ISO 27000 family of standards established in 2009. It was later amended in 2016 and was renamed as ISO 27004:2016. Both standards are guidelines and not requirements. Hence it is not a requirement or can be certified against, but they work well with the other ISO 27000 standards.

It was not easy to measure the ISMS performance; therefore, organizations used different methods to analyze performance. In response to these performance challenges, the introduction of the ISO 27004 standard invalidated some of these processes.

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

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

ISO 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 clause defines the extent of the standard’s effectiveness

Clause 2: Normative references

Mentions all the other guidelines and standards referred to within the ISO 27004:2016 standard.

Clause 3: Terms and definitions

This clause mentions and defines all the key terms used within the standard

Clause 4: Structure and overview

Outlines the document’s purpose and structure and mentions the number of clauses defined within it.

Clause 5: Rationale

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

Clause 6: Characteristics

Defines what, when, and who monitors, measures, and analyzes performance.

Clause 7: Types of measures

This clause defines the two measures: performance and effectiveness.

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.

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 that can help make better decisions about information security investments, priorities, and resource allocation.


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.

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 your 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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