How to Get ISO 27701 Certified? Everything You Need To Know

Meeba Gracy

Meeba Gracy

Oct 12, 2023

ISO 27701 certification

Bruce Schneier says, “Data is the pollution problem of the information age, and protecting privacy is the environmental challenge.”

This quote double-clicks the importance of keeping data and privacy on the highest pedestal of protection. This is where the ISO 27701 certification comes in.

ISO/IEC 27701:2019 serves as an essential tool for organizations. It is a data privacy extension to ISO 27001, a well-established information security standard. ISO/IEC 27701 offers guidance for companies that aim to establish systems that ensure compliance with regulations like GDPR and other data privacy requirements.

Let’s dive in to know what the ISO 27701 certificate stands for and how you can achieve that!

What is an ISO 27701 Certification?

ISO 27701 certification, also known as the Privacy Information Management System (PIMS), plays a pivotal role in managing Personally Identifiable Information (PII), whether you’re the custodian or processing it on behalf of others.

Purpose of ISO/IEC 27701

ISO/IEC 27701 steps onto the stage as an extension of the well-respected ISO/IEC 27001 standard. Its primary mission is to fortify data protection and information security.

Even when your company already holds ISO 27001 certification, ISO/IEC 27701 adds an additional layer of data privacy and security.

ISO 27701 introduces this enhanced privacy layer to secure existing measures. It provides your company with a comprehensive framework, almost like a set of challenges, to ensure the utmost care and diligence in handling sensitive information.

ISO 27701 certification

What are ISO 27701 certification requirements?

ISO/IEC 27701 Certification follows a structured approach known as the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, adopting the Annex SL framework. This framework consists of 10 sections, where the first 3 are just introductory, while the remaining 7 talk about the auditable requirements for implementing ISO 27701 PIMS.

Context of the Organization (Section 4)

Identifies all relevant processes and activities related to ISO/IEC 27701 Certification, meaning it ensures a well-defined privacy management system.

Leadership (Section 5)

Highlights the role of top management and auditors in the implementation process. It clearly outlines their responsibilities to prevent conflicts.

Planning (Section 6)

Sets objectives for the management system and analyzes risks for their elimination from the organization.

Support (Section 7)

Ensures the organization has the tools, technologies, and resources for PIMS implementation. It also addresses competence, awareness, maintenance, and control of documented data.

Operation (Section 8)

Focuses on the operational processes and monitors progress toward objectives. Key requirement: regular risk assessment.

Performance Evaluation (Section 9)

Involves regular reviews of the management system, ensuring arrangements, processes, and controls are effective. Periodic monitoring of all processes and activities for proper privacy management.

Improvement (Section 10)

Drives continual enhancement of the privacy management system to mitigate risks effectively.

Also learn the difference between ISO 27001, ISO 27002 and ISO 27701 from this video:

Experience Sprinto: Achieve ISO Compliance, Talk to our experts now

What are the 5 categories of controls in ISO 27701?

There are 184 controls included in ISO/IEC 27701, but here, we have divided them into 5 categories. You need to address the security gaps in these 5 categories to create an effective PIMS and achieve ISO 27701 compliance. The five categories are:

Security management

This is where it all begins. These controls are responsible for creating and maintaining a robust security management system. It’s the foundation for data protection under the ISO 27701 certification requirements.

Information security incident management

When it comes to data, sometimes things don’t go as planned. These controls tell you how to manage incidents that threaten data security according to ISO 27701 certification requirements. It’s the plan for when the unexpected happens.

Information security controls

They include technical standards that safeguard your information from unauthorized access, usage, disclosure, and/or destruction.

Business continuity management

This is here to ensure your company can keep running even when you face unexpected incidents.

Information security risk management

Every journey has risks, and this category identifies, evaluates, and responds to those data security risks. It’s like having a map to navigate through the hazards of the information landscape.

Also check : Best Risk Analysis Tools in 2023

Steps to get ISO 27701 certified along with ISO 27001

These steps must be followed if you are not ISO 27001 certified yet. If you are considering getting the ISO 27001 certification, you should get ISO 27701 certified to improve your Privacy Information Management System. Here are the steps you need to take:

Get a green light from your stakeholders

First, you need the green light from your stakeholders – the decision-makers who hold the keys to your organization’s future. ISO 27001 isn’t a solo expedition; it’s a team effort that spans across departments and levels of management.

So, gather your team, from the top-tier managers to the frontline staff. Brief them about the tasks ahead and the significance of their roles. 

Conduct a risk assessment

Risk assessment gives you a clear picture of your business’s security status. It’s a snapshot of your security posture. With this snapshot, you can spot vulnerabilities and, more importantly, prioritize them based on the risk they pose to your business.

Do a gap assessment with regards to 27001 and 27701

You need to conduct a gap assessment regarding ISO/IEC 27001, ISO/IEC 27002, and 27701 to find which controls are missing. 

If your ISMS is still taking baby steps, doing the gap assessment right at the beginning is smart. This way, you’ll get a clear picture upfront of where you stand and how big your compliance gap is.

The gap assessment will reveal which ISO 27001 controls you’ve already implemented. Your risk assessment will likely highlight many of these controls as essential for mitigating identified risks. It’s all about making sure you’re on the right track.

You can use the help of a compliance automation platform to find the missing controls. Sprinto is a compliance automation platform that will help you find the missing gaps in your system and address them promptly. It even sends an alert notification to the admin to fix it as soon as possible.

Implement missing controls

The next step is to implement the missing privacy controls so you know where the gap is.

Do you have the right information security policies in place? Does your system cover proper human resource security?

Not only these, there are 114 controls in ISO 27001, and ISO 27701 has 184 controls in total. Start planning your implementation for this.

Create an implementation plan

Implementation isn’t just about numbers and spreadsheets. It’s often a company-wide transformation, and change can meet resistance, especially for privacy management.

Before implementing, familiarize your team with the best practices for creating a secure business environment. One effective way to do this is through periodic security training programs.

These programs equip your team with the knowledge and skills to embrace the changes, contribute to a safer, more secure work environment, and build towards  ISO 27701 certification requirements.

Also check: ISO 27001 Training Program

Evaluate performance

Remember to check in on your performance regularly while you’re in the thick of implementing your security measures for privacy management.

Periodically analyzing your performance reports.

This step helps you understand where you might still be at risk. Why is this important in the certification process? Because these vulnerabilities can directly impact your final audit with an external auditor.

Conduct an internal audit

Now that you’ve set up all your systems and assigned the right people to manage them, what’s next? Well, keeping a close eye on your compliance efforts is important. You can bring in an external expert or a qualified internal auditor to check things out.

This internal audit will give a reality check for your business. It gives you an unbiased view of how well you’re doing with your security systems. Also, it helps you see where you need to make improvements.

Once you get the results from the audit, use them to fine-tune your security controls, public cloud, code of practice, and internal requirements.

Select a third-party auditor

This is when you select a good third-party auditor to conduct your final audit. It happens in the following way:

Preliminary check

First, an ISO-certified auditor takes a close look at your organization. They dive into the legal requirements, how things operate, administrative processes, and all the technical details. It’s a thorough inspection to see if your organization aligns with ISO 27001 standards.

During this stage, they review your ISMS, Statement of Applicability (SOA), security risk reports, and plans to fix any issues or risks. They move on to the next security techniques if things look good. But if they still need to, they’ll ask you to improve specific areas before you start.

In-depth assessment

In the second stage, the auditor goes even deeper into a code of practice. They assess how well your ISMS is implemented. They check how applicable it is to your organization’s needs and how effectively your security techniques safeguard against cyber threats.

With the help of certification services, the auditor meticulously matches the controls you’ve put in place to the evidence they find. They want to ensure that what’s written down on paper matches what’s happening in your real business environment.

Issuance of audit report and certificate

If the auditor is satisfied with your ISMS in the certification audit, protective and corrective plans, and the evidence they’ve gathered, and if they don’t spot any major issues, you’re on your way to getting ISO 27001 certified with the right security management standard.

Employ constant monitoring

Dealing with compliance and privacy standards can be a real headache if you only think about it once in a blue moon. It often leads to a last-minute frenzy to follow the requirements of ISO, where you rush to check all the boxes, fix any issues, and hope nothing unexpected happens to your business processes as profit organization.

That’s why we’re here to stress the importance of continuous compliance monitoring or surveillance audits as a crucial part of your process.

This is where Sprinto comes in and takes away your effort in doing manual processes.

Sprinto connects with your systems and monitors your controls, ensuring you follow the requirements of ISO and see if they align with ISO 27701. It runs compliance tests, gathers evidence, and even alerts your security teams when something goes amiss.

This way, you’ve got plenty of time to fix any issues and keep your compliance program on track 24/7.

Need ISO 27001 fast? We can help

Steps to get ISO 27701 certified when you’re already ISO 27001 compliant

Now, if you are already ISO 27001 certified, the steps to ISO 2771 certification become much easier as you have already implemented many controls. Here are the steps to achieve the certification:

Know your basics

First things first, figure out the scope of your PIMS. This means outlining exactly what parts of your company this system will cover. Make sure it aligns with the ISO 27701:2019 Standard requirements.

Also, identify and evaluate the operational risks connected to your PIMS’s scope. In this step, you’re just looking for potential privacy hazards within your organization.

Do a gap assessment regarding 27701

Start by doing a gap assessment. This will take a snapshot of where you currently stand with your ISMS and how it aligns with the ISO 27701:2019 and ISO 27001:2022 requirements.

Now, it’s time to dive a bit deeper. Perform a gap analysis. This means comparing your existing ISMS to the standards set by ISO 27701:2019 and ISO 27001:2022. See where you’re in sync and where gaps need attention.

Also check: ISO 27001 Gap Analysis: What is it And How to Get Started

Implement missing controls

Now that you have a clear record of the gap assessment results, start documenting all the areas where your security controls don’t quite meet the mark according to your standards.

With your gap assessment results, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. You’ll need to implement new controls or update existing ones to address those gaps. These controls safeguard the organization’s information and ensure compliance with your standards.

Readiness review

Consider getting an external expert or a qualified internal auditor to review readiness. This internal audit provides a fresh, unbiased perspective on how well your security systems work. You’ll find out where you’re doing great and where there’s room for improvement.

Don’t just let the audit results gather dust once you have the audit results. Use them to fine-tune your security controls and internal requirements. This is how you make real progress and keep your compliance efforts in tip-top shape.

Prepare for audit

First, you’ll bring in an auditor certified in ISO standards. This expert closely examines various aspects of your organization, including the legal requirements, operations, administration, and technical facets. Their goal is to align your setup with ISO 27701 requirements.

The auditor will check your ISMS, your SOA, security risk reports, and your plans to fix any issues. They scrutinize everything carefully. Depending on how well this stage goes, the auditor will either move on to a deeper assessment or suggest improvements to the initial evaluation before proceeding further.

In the deeper assessment, auditors assess how effectively your ISMS is implemented, how applicable it is to your organization, and its ability to defend against cyber threats. They match your control measures to the evidence they find to ensure that what’s on paper is what’s happening in your real business environment.

Certification time

If the certification auditor is satisfied with your ISMS, your protective and corrective plans, and they don’t spot any major issues (nonconformities), then your path to ISO 27701 certification is clear.

Effortless ISO 27001 Compliance, Around the Clock

Benefits of ISO 27701 certification

Data privacy poses a lot of issues today. The sheer amount of data you collect and use has made governments develop stringent regulations. Here is where having an ISO 27701 certification makes it stand out in safeguarding the data privacy of the clients who trust you. Here are some of the benefits:

  • ISO 27701 aligns your PIMS with standards, lowering non-compliance risks and showing respect for data privacy laws
  • It demonstrates due diligence and GDPR compliance by integrating with your existing ISMS
  • Certification streamlines responses to security questionnaires and inquiries, reducing audit fatigue
  • ISO 27701 helps identify and map relevant controls, along with generating and retaining compliance evidence for regulatory needs
  • ISO 27701 mandates consistent documentation of personal data handling and breach protection measures, which is helpful for privacy management
  • It showcases your organization’s commitment to respecting data privacy laws

What is the ISO 27701 certification cost?

The cost of getting ISO 27701 depends on a case-to-case basis, depending on several factors. It depends on the size of your company and how many controls you need to set up. That being said, the ISO 27701 certification cost starts from $2000 – $5000, depending on who you choose to work with.

ISO 27001 vs. ISO 27701 Certification

ISO 27001 and ISO 27701 certifications serve different purposes for your IT management.

  • ISO 27001 focuses on strengthening information security management systems and helps you fortify your overall security posture
  • On the other hand, ISO 27701 is specifically tailored to guide you in constructing privacy information management systems. It enables you to align with and adhere to privacy regulations and standards
  • In essence, while ISO 27001 enhances general security measures, ISO 27701 addresses the unique challenges of privacy compliance

What’s Next?

With this article, did you understand how important it is to safeguard your data privacy, as a whole framework is dedicated to it?

Sprinto has been a valuable partner for hundreds of businesses and has efficiently facilitated ISO 27001 and 27701 compliance. With Sprinto’s compliance automation solution, many have achieved compliance in just 4-6 weeks, at a fraction of the cost quoted in the compliance market. 

Sprinto’s Ignite Program offers even more favorable deals if you’re an early-stage startup. To learn more, you can book a demo using the link below or visit Sprinto today!


Is ISO 27701 mandatory?

No, ISO 27701 is not mandatory as it is not a law or a regulation. So, no company is legally obligated to attain ISO 27701 certification; it is also a privacy extension of ISO 27001 certification.

How many controls does ISO 27701 have?

ISO 27701 has 184 controls in total. Here, 135 controls modify or amend ISO 27001, and the remaining 49 controls outline the guidance regarding PII.

What’s covered by ISO 27701?

ISO 27701 is your go-to guide for managing privacy information effectively. It has two key goals: safeguarding private information assets and showcasing your commitment to complying with privacy and data protection regulations.

What is the difference between ISO 27001 and ISO 27701?

ISO 27001 and ISO 27701 serve different purposes:

  • ISO 27001: Creating an ISMS to safeguard sensitive data
  • ISO 27701: Establish and oversee a PIMS to manage privacy-related matters
Meeba Gracy

Meeba Gracy

Meeba, an ISC2-certified cybersecurity specialist, passionately decodes and delivers impactful content on compliance and complex digital security matters. Adept at transforming intricate concepts into accessible insights, she’s committed to enlightening readers. Off the clock, she can be found with her nose in the latest thriller novel or exploring new haunts in the city.

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