With 57% of companies worldwide being aware of ISO 27001 and the popular compliance measure showing a steady increase in popularity during recent years, we are constantly getting asked for more information about this security control. ISO certifications are just one of the main protection measures we offer at Creative Networks, with ISO 27001 being one of o the most requested. 

This ISO staple is adopted by thousands of organisations each year for many different reasons. The broad number of industries shows relevance to the process focus, which means no stones are left unturned; there are many different reasons why ISO 27001 is ideal for companies of all sizes. 

2022 saw approximately 2.39 million cybercrime instances in the UK alone, which ISO is aware of. Thankfully, companies that adopt ISO 27001 stand a brilliant chance at withstanding the negative impacts of these breaches due to the requirements outlined in the standard. Keep reading to find out what ISO 27001 is and learn about what the outline consists of.

What Are the Requirements of ISO 27001?

ISO 27001 is most commonly used to shape Information Security Management Systems for organisations of all sizes. We will outline the requirements below to create a succinct and robust method of fighting cybercrime whilst keeping teams protected through outlined processes. 

ISO 27001 consists of 114 controls, of which 7 are deemed as requirements to adopt for being formally awarded a compliance certificate. There are many different articles online, and the remit does change from time to time, so it is always recommended that you work closely with an IT expert to ensure the information you are working on is still relevant.

The requirements of ISO 27001 are as follows:

  • A Defined ISMS Project Scope

Every business will have an information security management system (ISMS) in place, no matter how professional security compliance measures are. In this scenario, ISO refers to the policies and procedures that manage sensitive data and highlight any risks posed to its safeguarding.

This should be a published set of guidelines, including how things are managed, the controls in place, the expectations for long-running adherence, and the disaster recovery plan in place should a breach occur.

An ISMS Scope document outlining all of the above should be published and provided to the ISO-approving body to meet the needs of this first requirement. This document is used for all future business activity and supports safe operations in times of change, such as scaling or introducing new stakeholders.

  • Commitment from Leadership

All business leaders should acknowledge and sign the policy from requirement one to show that the entire company is behind the procedures. 

ISO holds this as a requirement as it means that an entire business is on the same page, improving the chance of security breaches being dealt with professionally. This also sends a strong message to other stakeholders as promoting compliance from the top improves its overall effectiveness and stature.

  • Defined Security Objectives

Cyber security is a broad term that represents many different risks companies face. The order of priority will look different for each business, altering the processes that are ideal to adopt.

An example of this could include a healthcare setting and a consumer business. The top priority for healthcare would be to protect patient details, which are all extremely sensitive. Measures will have this as their main focus, with the objective being patient confidentiality. While a consumer business cares about consumer information, its main security objective will likely be offering a safe payment process and protection of banking information. 

Whatever the security objectives, they should be published within the organisation as they form the wider security measures required to be put into place. 

  • Resource Planning

Allocation and planning are intrinsically linked to a successful ISMS as they confirm who needs access and how that will be achieved. Whether related to all personnel on site or considering remote controls, resource planning is essential for eliminating human error, which is responsible for 82% of data breaches.

This should include competence training records, statements of team acknowledgement regarding their responsibilities, communication plans, and published procedures. All of these documents and associated records will be requested during audits, so keeping a strong record of everything is essential.

  • Operations and Strategy Published Procedures

This requirement outlines that businesses should produce a risk assessment procedure and a published calendar for when assessments will be carried out. Assignment of the task to current employees is also important to ensure the people element of ISO is being considered.

During said procedures, documentation should be completed and stored so that assessors can see a longstanding track record of activities being carried out in line with ISO-approved auditing.

  • Performance Measurement Outlines

This requirement means organisations must have published procedures for tracking and assessing the ongoing ISMS performance and adherence to the broader ISO 27001 control measures. Relevant to individual and top-level performance, this also forms part of the audit structure deemed essential by the company to keep everything on track.

Just like the other requirements, this will be slightly different for each organisation. Still, the main point is that performance and controls are being measured in a way that allows the data to be used for making suitable changes. Another benefit is that it anchors to the entire business the importance of ISO 27001, which helps create a uniform approach to managing measures.

  • Nonconformity Management Process

As much as a business tries to do everything perfectly, operating with issues is simply impossible. This could be due to human error, a failure in the process, or an external factor threatening overall security. No matter the issue, having a solid nonconformity procedure will ensure risks are minimised and disaster recovery is strong. 

This requirement is also one of the reasons that many consider ISO 27001 to be better than Cyber Essentials, as it encompasses all stakeholders within one process. Cyber Essentials is hinged on five controls, whereas ISO 27001 covers every element contributing to an ISMS, which extends across an entire company. 

Having a clear nonconformity process in place means that issue resolution can be more successful and that auditing documentation is more representative of all actions performed to protect a business. ISO doesn’t expect any issues but requires companies to resolve them swiftly with strong control measures.

Do Organisations Have to Meet Each Requirement to Achieve Certification?

Yes, the above-listed requirements must be adhered to for a business to become ISO 27001 and retain its certification. The rest of the controls are not compulsory and instead offer guidance for how broader operations can be carried out safely in line with ISO recommendations. The core requirements shape the entire certification for businesses, providing the solid foundations on which wider planning should be formed. 

They also require input from all stakeholders and adopted by the entire company, which the success of ISO 27001 is hinged upon.

If a business decides that ISO is required, it could be for several reasons, including improved competitiveness, strong cyber security, or financial growth. With the cost of ISO 27001 starting at £4,000, it is within the company’s best interests to ensure each requirement is met, as it can be a costly mistake to miss out on the core requirements.

What Is the Best Way to Manage ISO 27001 Requirements?

Considering how many requirements and controls go into creating this compliance standard, it is easy to see how the process can be overwhelming for some companies. As the main reason, Cyber Essentials is not the same as ISO 27001, it is clear to see how many benefits there are for the taking by businesses that comply with the certification. 

The best way to approach the compliance standard is with the support of professional ISMS experts who can configure your business. Contact us today to find out how Creative Networks can provide this service.

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