ISO 27001 – The Information Security Standard – Managing Risks, Application and Benefits

ISO 27001 is designed to help businesses to protect their information assets.

One of the ISO management system standards, ISO 27001 provides benchmarks for the management of information security in any kind of organisation. It provides a sound and integrated structure for an Information Security Management System (ISMS) allowing the organisation to better manage their information and overall security concerns.

The standard (initially published in 2005 and updated in 2013) focuses on risk assessment and minimisation, and requires organisations to carry out a risk assessment of their information security process.

It is important to understand that ISO 27001 extends way beyond IT and computer systems, as does the threat to information security. The standard covers 11 key areas including security policy, information security, asset management, human resources security, physical and environmental security and compliance. It tells organisations how to manage information security using a properly constructed ISMS.

ISO 27001 also provides information on how to respond to security breaches, how to recover business processes and systems and how to build security into applications, all critical for an organisation operating in today’s business world.

As more and more security breaches and cyber-attacks hit the news, it is vital that a company is able to protect itself fully. And don’t think it is just the larger businesses under attack either; more and more small to medium sized organisations are reporting security breaches particularly in relation to social networking sites, smartphones and tablets.

What are the benefits of compliance with ISO 27001?

• Boost client confidence in your organisation

• Build employee confidence in your processes

• Open up new business opportunities

• Keep your reputation safe

• Greater organisational efficiencies

• Discover and eliminate potential risks

It also integrates seamlessly with all other ISO standards. So if you have an ISO 9001 Quality management system, for example, up to 50% of your existing management system can cater for the requirements of certification to ISO 27001.

Finally, an ISMS will also allow a company to be able to compete on a more even playing field with the bigger brands that have their finger on the security pulse and can provide the reassurance that external certification provides to customers.

Even without adopting ISO 27001, most organisations will naturally have some security controls in place. However without the formal measures and guidelines of an ISMS, the controls are unlikely to be reinforced or monitored in every aspect of the business. And in some cases, controls will only be an afterthought after a breach has been discovered.

Compliance to ISO 27001 and the incorporation of an ISMS could well provide the most sound foundation way to ensure that your organisation’s information security is protected today and well into the future.