ISO 27001:2022 Annex A Controls Explained

ISO 27001 is the international standard for information security. Its framework requires organisations to identify information security risks and select appropriate controls to tackle them.

Clauses 4–10 of the Standard define the broader requirements for an ISMS (information security management system). However, they don’t specify individual controls.

Annex A of ISO 27001 takes a different approach.

This blog explains:

  • How Annex A works;
  • What the Annex A controls are;
  • How to select controls from Annex A;
  • What the Statement of Applicability is; and
  • The difference between ISO 27002 and Annex A.

Note: We originally published a version of this blog on 18 March 2019. We have now updated it for ISO 27001:2022.

What is Annex A in ISO 27001?

Annex A contains a list of 93 security controls, grouped into 4 themes:

  1. Organisational
  2. People
  3. Physical
  4. Technological

Please note that this is different to the 2013 iteration of the Standard. That version of Annex A contained 114 controls divided into 14 domains.

What are the Annex A controls of ISO 27001:2022?

Breaking them up into the 4 themes, we have:

Organisational (37 controls)

Organisational controls focus on the policies, procedures, responsibilities and other organisational-level measures necessary for effective information security.

They include:

  • The information security policy and other core policies;
  • Defined responsibilities for management and the people responsible for operating the ISMS day to day;
  • Contact with authorities and other relevant groups;
  • Threat intelligence and monitoring;
  • Classifying and labelling information;
  • Identity and access control; and
  • Asset management.

People (8 controls)

People, particularly employees, are a critical part of the information security equation.

The controls include:

  • Pre-employment screening;
  • Staff awareness and training;
  • Contracts and NDAs (non-disclosure agreements);
  • Remote working; and
  • Reporting security events.

Physical (14 controls)

Physical controls focus on the physical environment of the ISMS. This is every bit as important as the digital environment for ensuring information security.

The controls relate to, among other things:

  • Security perimeters and secure areas;
  • Clear desks and screens;
  • Supporting utilities;
  • Secure cabling; and
  • Equipment maintenance.

Technological (34 controls)

Technological controls are what most people think of when they think about information security.

The controls include:

  • Malware protection;
  • Backups;
  • Logging and monitoring;
  • Network security and segregation; and
  • Development and coding practices.

How do I select Annex A controls?

The controls in Annex A provide a basis for an effective ISMS, but you shouldn’t treat them as gospel.

You select information security controls based on your risk assessment. Then, you compare them against Annex A to ensure you’ve covered all your risks.

You may exclude Annex A controls that don’t apply to your organisation. However, you must justify any exclusions in your SoA (Statement of Applicability).

What is the Statement of Applicability in ISO 27001?

The SoA is one of the most important documents in your ISMS.

It lists all Annex A controls, together with:

  • Justifications for their inclusion or exclusion; and
  • Their implementation status.

If you use controls from other frameworks and/or develop additional controls, you must also list those on your SoA.

The SoA will be a key focus during certification and surveillance audits by your chosen certification body.

The SoA must contain a huge amount of information. It must also be accessible. Many organisations use spreadsheet software, but there’s nothing preventing you from exploring alternative software.

The SoA is one of the most important, comprehensive documents in your ISMS, which you must carefully maintain. You should treat it as documented information, so use version control and review it at regular intervals.

What is the difference between ISO 27002 and Annex A?

ISO 27002 assists with effective ISO 27001 implementation – including Annex A – as it describes each control in more detail. This helps organisations better understand the purpose of the controls and how to implement them.

However, organisations can’t achieve certification against ISO 27002, only ISO 27001. Nevertheless, ISO 27002 is an essential companion to any organisation implementing an ISO 27001 ISMS.

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One Response

  1. Rahul chaudhary 8th January 2023