If your business cares about protecting information and operating safely, you might have considered becoming ISO 27001 accredited. In fact, 66% of small businesses alone are concerned about cyber attacks, which speaks volumes for how other size companies are likely feeling. This is one of the reasons that more than 30,000 companies are ISO-certified, with more suggesting they will follow in the footsteps of others sooner rather than later. 

Deciding that you want to achieve one of the various ISO certifications is just one part of the puzzle. Companies must consider many steps before that golden stamp of information security compliance is awarded. 

This article will give you the full rundown of what needs to be completed to achieve ISO 27001 and how it can be obtained. Keep on reading if you want to know how you can achieve this compliance standard.

What Does the ISO 27001 Certification Cover?

Before we let you know how to become accredited, it’s important to understand what ISO 27001 covers. This is because lots of work goes into the certification, so you must ensure that your business is a suitable candidate with the know-how to achieve long-term compliance. 

ISO 27001 (Information Security) is an internationally recognised certificate of excellence in Information Security Management. The certification focuses on all aspects of cyber security. Still, it further expands on the areas covered to consider people, processes, and technology. With a particular spotlight on assets, ISO 27001 is a popular choice regarding data management and reducing cyber security spending. By covering people and processes, ISO 27001 ensures that any implemented policies and training benefit the team. The structure also allows for effective scaling and reduces associated risks with various business decision-making. Click the link to find out more about what ISO 27001 represents.

We sometimes get asked if ISO 27001 is outdated, to which we always answer no. It is quite the opposite with processes that still provide security support no matter the threat landscape. Another common question we get is how similar this certification is to other standards; in particular, is Cyber Essentials the same as ISO 27001? As you can see from the complete set of areas that the accreditation covers, 27001 is unique in that it doesn’t just support the infrastructure but also the people who contribute to it. 

If you are looking for a complete way to manage information security and all contributing factors, this certification is for you.

What Requirements Are There for Achieving ISO 27001?

While a company does not have to implement all of the controls covered in ISO 27001, a broad understanding and compliance level must be demonstrated. The following points summarise these areas. The full list of requirements for ISO 27001 can be slightly overwhelming if you read them without wider context but when you consider them in alignment with these points, things become much simpler and personalisation for each business is made possible.

Audit Trails, Published Policies and Clear Documentation

ISO 27001, just like the other ISO standards, is based on consistency and audit trails. Without having sufficient documentation in place, and processes for obtaining updated materials, a business will likely not pass ISO certificates. 

This is particularly relevant to the ISMS certification as that itself is focused on quality information and management of assets. You will likely need to provide backdated documentation when applying so it’s important to ensure that processes are working properly before you take that first step to becoming accredited.

Sufficient Use of Requirements

Each ISO 27001 is provided based on a structured ISMS that works for the business. With no two companies likely to be the same, it is down to the applying organisation to demonstrate a clear understanding of requirements and how they have been uniquely configured.

Employee Awareness

As we have already mentioned, people as a category are one of the factors audited within all ISO standards. Regarding ISO 27001, understanding where individuals sit within the wider process structures is essential.

It should be noted that this is also important not just for ISO but also for wider company culture, as 82% of employees think that poor information management also hurts their productivity. By empowering employees to feel more in control and understanding of ISO processes, the results are likely to be positive for everyone.

Ongoing Operational Structures

Lastly, with ISO 27001, companies must show that the policies and processes cover every part of the business. If some people or departments are not clued up on how they can work safely under the main published strategy, the ISMS is left vulnerable to attacks or errors, which can cost a company in many ways. 

Who Can Issue ISO 27001 Certificates?

ISO 27001 certifications and other similar ISO awards can only be certified by an accredited body. 

The process involves a full audit of the applying company versus the ISO requirements and a deep dive into accompanying paperwork. When this audit has been completed and the auditor is happy with the results, the full report is then submitted to the BSI for final review. ISO does not award the certifications themselves, so companies must do their research and find a suitable assessor with experience spanning across their sector.

What Are the Steps to Follow for Passing ISO 27001?

A detailed gap analysis is the first element to consider when learning to get ISO 27001.

ISO 27001 consists of multiple elements that must be in place during auditing. That said, not all of the considerations are relevant to every business. Once a company decides what ISO looks like for them, a gap analysis is the best way to understand what needs to be done to get certification-ready. During this phase, elements such as the cost of an ISO 27001 certification and how a business will manage the ongoing requirements should also be mapped out.

When a company is ready to be formally assessed, stage two of the process is unlocked. This includes a two-stage assessment process, which consists of audits. The stage one audit involves your chosen ISO assessor taking a pragmatic look at all documents and processes. During this phase, the suitability of your published policies is examined to ensure safety is guaranteed over the long term.

Stage two follows, including a full control and process audit by Annex A requirements. The scoping exercise carried out during phase one is vital as sufficient alignment and robust policies are the only way you will pass this audit. It is important to understand you will only be awarded the certificate if both phases are passed.

Once you pass, ongoing audits and alignment with the latest ISO 27001 are vital as obtaining the certificate is one thing, but retaining it can be another challenge. 

Why Is ISO 27701 Important for Companies?

Understanding the ‘how’ behind obtaining the standard is also made clearer by considering why ISO 27001 is required.

  • ISO 27001 covers some areas of GDPR, which is vital if a company is looking to operate within European markets.
  • Other businesses can also check if a company is ISO 27001 certified, showcasing how credibility and reputation can be enhanced by being aligned with this regulatory body.
  • The compliance standard is also important as it unites an entire business, meaning all operations are carried out safely and efficiently. 
  • ISMS are essential for combating cybercrime, which provides another layer of financial protection for businesses.
  • ISO is also a globally recognised operating standard, meaning a business can achieve a widespread competitive advantage by becoming compliant.

To learn more or to find out about how Creative Marketing can help your business become ISO 27001 certified, contact us today.

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