What is ISO 27001 and Why Should Businesses Use This Standard?
Written by: Marla Ovenden-Cooper
Businesses and organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of information security controls. The importance of protecting information is not only an ethical consideration but is an important component of brand management and in some cases required to avoid costly fines. Many businesses have attempted to develop security controls but have discovered that without a tried and tested standard or framework, the attempts can result in inefficiencies and poor use of resources. The ISO 27001 is an international standard that guides businesses and organizations on the requirements for an Information Security Management System (ISMS). It is a globally recognized standard that was developed in 2013, which is regularly reviewed, to assist in the implementation and maintenance of information security processes.
Businesses that are ISO 27001 compliant can request to be audited and be formally certified. However, some businesses may not choose to become certified and it is not mandatory. What is of greatest importance is that businesses adopt the ISO 27001 standard with a commitment to developing and maintain an effective Information Security Management System.
Understanding the Requirements
The requirements set out in the ISO 27001 standard are flexible and intended to be used for all types of businesses and organizations, allowing for it to be aligned with other systems of management that the business may use. The standard is divided into two components. The first is centered around practices to manage security. The second is a set of 14 controls that can be utilized when implementing an ISMS. The controls range from Human Resources Security to Cryptography. These controls are selected when implementing the ISMS as they apply to the organization.
Developing an ISMS and specifically adopting the ISO 27001 standard benefits companies in a multitude of ways:
- The standard manages company risk. At its core, this is the priority of the ISO 27001 standard. It manages the risk of losing key information and protecting both the business and the individual who works with the business.
- It demonstrates a commitment to information security. This commitment is important to your reputation. Now more than ever members of your supply chain and clients are expecting that businesses have plans, processes and procedures in place to protect data. Having an ISMS used to be seen as a competitive advantage, today it is an expectation.
- The ISO 27001 is internationally recognized. With third-party providers and supply chains expanding beyond national borders, using a standard that allows you to grow your business into other nations, even if you are not currently international, provides you with the opportunity to scale without having to change processes and procedures.
- The standard provides a clear framework to comply with current or future national and international security regulations.
- It provides a clear structure regarding Information security, setting out who is responsible for various roles, providing employees with structure and accountability.
Education and Certification
Once you have decided to adopt the ISO 27001 standard, it is important to ensure your team is trained on how to successfully implement and maintain this standard. Members of your team can participate in training such as the PECB ISO 27001 Lead Implementer training course or PECB ISO 27001 Lead Auditor training course and can take individual certifications through PECB examinations to prove and demonstrate their competencies. PECB recently signed a partnership with TechnoEdge Learning, to support businesses that are looking to simplify the integration process. Once your team is in place, has successfully completed their PECB courses and you have implemented the framework, your business may choose to apply to be audited and become certified.