ISO 27001, the International Information Security Standard

What is ISO 27001?

ISO/IEC 27001:2013 (also known as ISO27001) is the international standard for an ISMS (information security management system).

The Standard was published in September 2013, replacing the 2005 version.

ISO 27001 is designed to help organisations manage their information security processes in line with international best practice.

Part of the ISO 27000 series of information security standards, ISO 27001 is technology and vendor neutral and applicable to all organisations – irrespective of their size, type or nature.

What is an ISMS?

An ISMS is a systematic approach to securing corporate information assets.

It consists of policies, procedures and other controls involving people, processes and technology.

To find out more about what an ISO 27001 information security management system is, download our free infographic.

ISO 27001 benefit one - Protect your data

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ISO 27001 benefit two - Meet contractual and regulatory obligations with customised documentation

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ISO 27001 benefit three- Reduce costs and save money

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ISO 27001 benefit four - Increase your attack resilience

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ISO 27001 and risk management

Risk management forms the cornerstone of an ISO/IEC information security management system. All ISO 27001 projects rely on regular information security risk assessments to determine which security controls to implement and maintain.

The Standard defines its requirements for the risk management process, including risk assessment and risk treatment, in Section 6.1.2.

ISO 27001 clauses and controls

Annex A of ISO 27001 lists 114 security controls. There are also 10 management system clauses. Together, they support the implementation and maintenance of an ISMS, as shown in the diagram below.

The Standard is also supported by a code of practice, ISO/IEC 27002:2013.

Download the ISO 27001 management system clauses infographic

What is ISO 27001?

ISO/IEC 27001: 2013 controls

  • A.5 Information security policies
  • A.6 Organisation of information security
  • A.7 Human resources security
  • A.8 Asset management
  • A.9 Access control
  • A.10 Cryptography
  • A.11 Physical and environmental security
  • A.12 Operational security
  • A.13 Communications security
  • A.14 System acquisition, development and maintenance
  • A.15 Supplier relationships
  • A.16 Information security incident management
  • A.17 Information security aspects of business continuity management
  • A.18 Compliance

Information Security & ISO 27001 – An introduction - free pdf download

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ISO 27001 benefits

Recognised all around the world, ISO 27001 is one of the most popular information security standards in existence. The number of certifications has grown by more than 450% in the past ten years.

Implementing ISO 27001 helps you meet the information security requirements of laws such as the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and the NIS Regulations (Network and Information Systems Regulations). This helps reduce the costs associated with data breaches.

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ISO 27001 benefit one - Protect your data

Protect your data, wherever it lives

An ISO 27001-compliant ISMS helps protect all forms of information, whether digital, hard copy or in the Cloud.

ISO 27001 benefit two - Meet contractual and regulatory obligations with customised documentation

Meet contractual and regulatory obligations

Certification demonstrates your organisation’s commitment to information security and provides a valuable credential when tendering for new business.

ISO 27001 benefit three- Reduce costs and save money

Reduce costs associated with information security

ISO 27001’s risk-based approach mean you implement only the security controls you really need, helping you get the most from your budget while reducing the risk of a data breach.

ISO 27001 benefit four - Increase your attack resilience

Increase your attack resilience

Implementing and maintaining an ISMS will significantly increase your organisation’s resilience to cyber attacks.

ISO 27001 benefit five - Respond to evolving security threats - Protect your reputation

Respond to evolving security threats

Constantly adapting to changes both in the environment and inside the organisation, an ISMS reduces the threat of continually evolving risks.

ISO 27001 benefit six - Improve in-house company culture

Improve company culture

An ISMS encompasses people, processes and technology, ensuring staff understand risks and embrace security controls as part of their everyday working practices.

Demonstrating GDPR compliance with ISO 27001 and ISO 27701

ISO/IEC 27701:2019 (ISO 27701) is an extension to ISO 27001, which expands its requirements to cover privacy management – including the processing of personal data/PII (personally identifiable information).

Implementing both ISO 27701 and ISO 27001 will enable you to meet the EU GDPR’s requirement for “appropriate technical and organisational measures” – as well as help you comply with many other data protection regimes.

Learn more about ISO 27701

How to implement an ISO 27001-compliant ISMS

Implementing an ISO 27001-compliant ISMS involves:

  • Scoping the project
  • Securing management commitment and budget
  • Identify interested parties, and legal, regulatory and contractual requirements
  • Conduct a risk assessment
  • Reviewing and implementing the required controls
  • Developing internal competence
  • Developing the appropriate documentation
  • Conducting staff awareness training
  • Continually measuring, monitoring, reviewing and auditing the ISMS

Discover our ISO 27001 implementation checklist and solutions

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