There is no denying that being data-led improves accuracy, reduces spend and improves the success of risk management. Despite the benefits, many companies need to take time to reflect on their operations in light of wanting to make tangible changes.

The ISO 27001 standards have all been carefully designed to ensure all areas of ISMS frameworks are succinct and deliver protection, no matter the risks. One of the ways that companies are kept accountable for their performance when ISO accredited is by a robust auditing strategy.

One of the ways to become ISO 27001 certified is by completing regular audits that provide insights into performance and recommendations for improvements. Knowing you need to conduct audits is the first part of the battle. In this article, we will tell you how you can carry out ISO-worthy audits to obtain and retain this award-winning certification.

What is An ISO 27001 Audit?

An ISO audit is the testing of a policy and/or process associated with the ISMS defined by one of the requirements of ISO 27001. As a mandatory step of the award; the audit investigates the performance of the framework that has been implemented. It also improves the effectiveness of policies by testing each defined process in detail.

Audits are one of the reasons that it can take up to 12 months to implement ISO 27001, as detail-oriented processes underpin a successful certification.

What is The Purpose Of An ISO 27001 Audit?

What is The Purpose Of An ISO 27001 Audit?

Being ISO 27001 accredited is a highly regarded status that represents the highest level of security excellence for ISMS protection. One of the ways that the International Organisation of Standardisation keeps the award as being highlighted is through its auditing process.

Auditing allows a business to ensure that ISO 27001 controls are being adhered to and that the latest threats relevant to a business have been accounted for. The main purposes of carrying out internal and external ISO audits are as follows:

  • To ensure all stakeholders included within the published policies and processes have retained the skills they were given when ISO was first implemented. Whether an ISMS is being interacted with for daily tasks or due to a large-scale project, the same processes must always be utilised.
  • To ensure that the ISMS is still successfully offering resilience to security threats and providing a high level of protection for data being stored. The risk level must always be one that the team can manage properly, and associated disaster recovery planning must also be well aligned with the framework.
  • To ensure that the latest threats and risks are no match for the ISMS security.
  • To ensure that any changes which may have been made still align with ISO controls and requirements.
  • To ensure that reporting is current and suitable for the ISO standards. If this is not up to par, the external audits will not be passed as a history of audits, results, and corrections must be available.

ISO 27001 has the purpose of keeping companies safe and protecting data. By requiring audits to be conducted, compliance can be retained and risk levels reduced.

What Types of Audits Are Included For ISO 27001?

The key for understanding how to audit for ISO 27001 is to understand what types of audits are required during the process.

Internal Audits

ISO compliance controls require that internal audits are scheduled and conducted regularly once a company has been awarded the certificate. These are in-depth looks and testing of the processes associated with the award that internal professionals conduct.

One of the tasks you should have completed as part of the scoping phase is choosing who will conduct these audits. However, if you do not have the in-house talent, the internal audits can also be carried out by an external supplier such as the Creative Networks team!

All audits must be professionally documented as the data will be assessed during the external audits, which ensure the right compliance measures are being adhered to.

External Audits

You will only be required to have an external audit carried out either when an application is being made or at the end of a term if re-certification is requested. You will need to find a certified body to conduct external audits. These professionals will make the final decision as to whether or not a business is compliant, so all issues should be ironed out before this phase.

Audits are one of the reasons that it can cost a large amount of money to implement ISO 27001 before the official application has even been made. However without it, you will NOT pass the award.

How To Conduct An Internal ISO 27001 Audit

An internal audit is something a business will need to plan as part of its process for how to implement ISO 27001 and retain certification once it has been awarded. The process you must follow is explained below:

  1. Plan a schedule for audits that aligns with ISO requirements – This includes an audit plan, timetable and confirmation of which stakeholders have an associated responsibility. This will form the processes your award is founded upon and ensure the business is held accountable.
  2. Perform the audit because of the latest ISO standards – Internal audits require testing the ISMS, assessing process adherence and collating data to ensure it aligns with the ISO standard.
  3. Assess the findings and make any necessary changes – Internal audits form part of the external audit, and a clear trail of this evidence is essential. The information then must be updated within the master action log.

Internal audits should be conducted every few months or more often if a business is going through a period of change.

How To Conduct An External  ISO 27001 Audit

As the name would suggest, this audit is carried out by an external agent, but your business must still manage the process to ensure all touch points have been met.

This form of audit requires a plan and schedule to be confirmed by all stakeholders that is then agreed upon by the external supplier. Stage one of an external audit then commences, which includes a deep look at the documentation associated with the ISMS. The results will deliver a list of actions and updates that must be made for full compliance with ISO 27001.

Stage two of an external audit refers to the assessment from the chosen awarding body. They will look at the overall running of the ISMS and also fact-check the other audits to ensure compliance with all requirements.

Other terms associated with these activities are surveillance and recertification audits. Surveillance audits are conducted periodically and cover all aspects of the ISMS. They, like the internal audits, assess the current processes but from more of a top-level vulnerability perspective. A recertification audit is needed at the end of the three-year award period, and the process follows the same one that the initial application covered. The best advice we can give for external audits is to find an auditing agent and awarding company that works best for your business. Factors such as location, communication style and level of service offered all impact the ease of passing detail-focused audits.

Choose Creative Networks To Support ISO 27001 Management

Choose Creative Networks To Support ISO 27001 Management

Hopefully, you now have a good understanding of how to audit ISO 27001. The large amount of controls and far-reaching requirements the award possesses can make the task seem daunting. However, with the right audit schedule and an awareness of what needs to be assessed, things become much easier.

An audit holds companies accountable, providing a clear view of actual operations versus expected activity. If you want to know more about creating the best audit schedule for your business that delivers results, contact us today. By working succinctly with your team, we can create a concise approach to ISO 27001 excellence that keeps your compliance levels high.

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