Protect Your Business and Gain a Competitive Edge: Why ISO 27001 Compliance is a Must-Have
In today’s digital landscape, data breaches and ransomware attacks are becoming more common and can cause significant damage to individuals and businesses.
Confidential information may be leaked, databases may be corrupted, and intellectual property may be stolen. Besides the potential immense costs of interrupting business operations and curing the effects and causes of such attacks, there are additional impacts on reputation and regulatory requirements to notify and compensate those affected.
In a 2022 cybersec report from Gartner, 88% of company executives consider cybersecurity to be a direct threat to their business operations rather than just a technical IT problem. A separate study showed that companies that have experienced a breach underperform the market by more than 15% even three years later.
As a result, securing IT infrastructure and sensitive information should be a top priority for any organization!
To mitigate the risk of data breaches, the implementation of an information security management system compliant to ISO 27001 is an excellent solution.
What is ISO 27001 all about?
ISO 27001 is an international standard for information security management systems, providing a framework which helps organizations to protect sensitive information and processes from cyber threats. Unlike specific technical solutions, ISO 27001 is based on a holistic process-based approach that enables organizations to implement the standard in a way that is tailored to their needs and risk profile.
ISO 27001 is divided into two main sections: Firstly, mandatory basic elements for an information security management system (ISMS) and secondly, an extensive and proven list of common security topics which must be addressed by security enabling measures in a specific risk-adjusted way if present in a company’s IT environment.
Information security management system (ISMS)
An Information Security Management System (ISMS) guarantees preventive and detective measures, as well as awareness of the levels of protection implemented for sensitive information processes and assets. It includes various policies, procedures, technical and physical checks designed to protect the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of an organization’s sensitive information and process assets.
Overall, an ISMS addresses employee behavior and processes as well as data and technology handling.
To become ISO 27001 certified, the ISMS requirements include:
- A systematic approach to managing sensitive company information, assets and processes so that they remain secure
- regular risk assessments to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities,
- implementation of relevant controls to manage identified risks,
- and regular monitoring and review of the ISMS to ensure it remains effective.
What are the benefits of an ISO 27001 certification?
Although implementing an ISO 27001 accreditation may seem complicated, there are numerous benefits to it. If you’re concerned about the cost of compliance, consider the potential costs of a data breach or business service interruption instead.
So, let’s focus on the benefits of an ISO 27001 certification:
- Improved security:
This is the most obvious benefit, as the standard provides a framework for managing sensitive information, IT assets and processes, and helps organizations protect themselves from cyber threats. By implementing the standard, you can substantially reduce the risk of cyber attacks and protect your company’s reputation.
ISO 27001 helps organizations to better comply with various laws and regulations related to information security, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Its best-practice approach to information security means it is a suitable starting point for any number of regulations.
- Business continuity:
The standard includes requirements for business continuity management, which helps organizations prepare for and recover from disruptive events such as natural disasters or cyber attacks.
- Competitive advantage:
Being certified for ISO 27001 enhances your value proposition and can provide a unique point of differentiation between you and your competitors. Since many clients require ISO 27001 as a prerequisite or at least security controls equivalent to ISO 27001, organizations with ISO 27001 certification can expect to have greater success when submitting tenders to potential clients.
- Customer confidence:
Achieving ISO 27001 compliance demonstrates to customers, partners, and regulators that you take the security of their sensitive information seriously. It boosts customer confidence and can help organizations win new business and retain existing customers.
- Cost savings:
Implementing the standard can help organizations identify and eliminate IT infrastructure and process inefficiencies, resulting in cost savings. Additionally, implementing ISO 27001 can help avoid the costs associated with cyber attacks, such as business losses, efforts for cure, legal fees, and reputational damage.
- Continuous improvement:
Continuous improvement: Regular internal audits and management reviews are mandatory in the standard, which helps organizations continuously monitor and improve their information security posture. Additionally, implementing security managing roles and responsibilities and awareness over all employees improves organizational IT structures a lot, by creating a preventive, detective and reactive system ensuring that everyone maintains their focus on information security tasks
So how to get started?
To implement ISO 27001, organizations must first conduct a comprehensive assets and risks assessment to identify the total landscape of assets, information and processes and their potential threats and vulnerabilities. Once these have been identified, the best-practice security controls must be assessed and implemented in a risk-adjusted extent. This might be technical measures, such as firewalling, endpoint protection and encryption, as well as organizational measures, such as security policies and employee security awareness and behavior training.
Implementing ISO 27001 requires considerable efforts, but it is guided by best-practice experience and the standard in clear steps:
- Conduct a gap analysis: This involves comparing the organization’s current information security practices to the requirements of the standard. The gap analysis will identify areas where the organization needs to improve in order to meet the standard.
- Develop the statement of applicability: This document outlines why, whether and how the controls from the standard will be implemented. It also would explain any controls that will not be implemented and the reasoning behind this decision.
- Implement the controls: This step involves putting in place the security measurements identified in the statement of applicability.
- Document the ISMS: Organizations need to document their ISMS, including all policies, procedures, and records that comprise the system. This includes the asset repositories, risk assessment, statement of applicability, incident management and response procedures and many more.
- Conduct the first internal audit: This step involves planning regular internal audits of the ISMS and do a first-time run to ensure that nothing is left out and it is operating effectively.
- Conduct management review: Organizations must conduct a first and afterwards regular management reviews of the ISMS to keep up management awareness, assess its performance and identify and budget any areas that need improvement.
- Obtain certification: Once the organization has implemented the formentioned steps, they can be certified by an accredited certification body.
It’s important to note that the implementation of the standard is not a one-time event, but a continuous process improving a company’s security posture more and more over time. Certified organizations must regularly monitor, review and improve their ISMS to ensure it remains effective and adapts to changes in the organization and its environment.
It is crucial to involve all stakeholders, especially management and employees, in the implementation process. This will help ensure that the ISMS aligns with the organization’s goals and objectives and that it is supported throughout the organization.
To wrap up, ISO 27001 is an internationally recognized and highly esteemed standard in the field of information security. Organizations that successfully implement the standard and pass an independent audit are awarded the certification, which requires them to undergo regular audits to maintain compliance.
To ensure successful implementation, organizations must develop a comprehensive implementation plan that takes into account all necessary resources, timelines, and responsibilities. It is crucial to communicate the program and its benefits to all stakeholders, including employees and management, to gain their support and commitment. In addition, seeking guidance from an experienced external consultant will help organizations effectively implement and maintain the standard.
What’s the situation like for adorsys?
At adorsys, we fully understand the importance and advantages of obtaining an ISO 27001 certification for our organization, our customers and partners. As a result, we are actively working towards achieving the certification to ensure high level of information security for all parties involved.
We expect this to be completed over the next couple of months. Stay tuned!
Interested in more details about ISO 27001?
Mouhammad Khier Abdoh, Backend Developer and expert for ISO 27001 is happy to answer any questions. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.