Michelle Drolet is the CEO towerwallA specialized cyber security firm that provides compliance and professional cyber security solutions.
Organizations today collect, store and process vast amounts of data. Employee information, supplier information, customer information, intellectual property, financial records, communication records – all common types of data that are commonly present in almost every business.
When organizations fail to secure or protect this data, it exposes them to a number of business risks such as breaches, financial loss, damage to reputation or potential fines and prosecution.
To address this challenge, the International Standards Organization (ISO) created a comprehensive set of guidelines called ISO/IEC 27001:2013 (aka ISO 27001). These standards help global businesses establish, organize, implement, monitor and maintain their information security management systems.
Unlike standards such as the GDPR or HIPAA, which focus primarily on one type of data (customer information or personal health privacy), ISO 27001 covers all types of business data that is electronically stored in hard copy (paper and physical copies such as posts). Even with third party suppliers.
ISO 27001 certification applies to businesses of all sizes and ensures that organizations are identifying and managing risks effectively, consistently and in a measurable manner.
Three cornerstones of ISO 27001
The ISO 27001 standard aims to protect people, processes and technology through three main cornerstones: confidentiality, integrity, and availability (commonly referred to as the CIA triad).
1. Privacy Translates into data and systems that must be protected against unauthorized access from people, processes or unauthorized applications. This includes the use of technical controls such as multi-factor authentication, security tokens and data encryption.
2. Integrity It means verifying the accuracy, reliability and completeness of the data. This includes the use of procedures that ensure that data is free from errors and manipulation, such as ascertaining whether only authorized personnel have access to confidential data.
3. Availability Usually refers to the maintenance and monitoring of Information Security Management System (ISMS). This includes removing any bottlenecks in security processes, mitigating vulnerabilities by updating software and hardware to the latest firmware, promoting business continuity by adding redundancy, and minimizing data loss by adding back-up and disaster recovery solutions. is included.
How Businesses Benefit From ISO 27001 Certification
Organizations can enjoy many benefits by being ISO 27001 certified.
1. Certification helps identify security gaps and vulnerabilities, protect data, avoid costly security breaches, and improve cyber resilience.
2. Certified organizations demonstrate that they take information security very seriously and have a structured approach to planning, implementing and maintaining ISMS.
3. Certification serves as a seal of approval (or proof) that an independent third-party certifying body is regularly assessing the safety status of the business and deems it effective.
4. It builds confidence, demonstrates credibility and enhances brand reputation in the eyes of customers, partners and other stakeholders that their information is in safe hands.
5. It helps to comply with other frameworks, standards and laws such as GDPR, HIPAA, NIST SP 800 Series, NIS Directive and others while helping to avoid costly fines and penalties.
Seven Steps That Help Organizations Achieve ISO 27001 Certification
Each organization has unique challenges, and your ISMS needs to be tailored to your particular situation. These seven steps can help organizations gain and retain recognition.
1. Secure commitment from stakeholders.
Organizations are required to follow strict rules and procedures for ISO 27001 certification. This means that the business will have to go through many changes in line with the standard. Changes usually start at the top and slide down, so it’s important to identify the right stakeholders and make safe buy-in. It is also important to set clear expectations and update all staff members to secure their cooperation.
2. Identify, classify and prioritize risks.
Perform a detailed risk assessment of your ISMS and map security controls with the safety controls set out in the ISO 27001 standard. The goal of risk analysis should be to identify which risks exist for which systems and to determine the relevant areas of vulnerabilities. Prioritize these risks based on the level they pose to the business.
3. Create a framework for the identified risks.
Once the risks are identified, it is important to select safeguards that help mitigate those risks. All risks, controls and mitigation methods should be clearly defined and updated in the security policy. It helps organizations to provide clear guidance to their stakeholders and to create a strategic framework that serves as a foundation for information security in the organisation.
4. Set clear goals for information security.
Once the areas of application are identified and controls selected, the next step is to define clear benchmarks and expectations. Indicators of performance and efficiency help businesses focus on achieving end goals.
5. Implement security controls.
Once the risks, controls and goals are in place, the business should get off the ground. This includes not only the implementation of new processes and systems, but may also involve a change in workplace culture. It is possible that employees may resist change, so it is important that substantial investments are made in safety awareness training programs that sensitize employees and help them adopt safety habits and behaviors.
6. Continuously monitor and fine-tune as needed.
As the business evolves, so do the processes and systems, and so do the risks. Businesses must continually monitor and adjust security controls to align with these emerging risks. It is a good idea to conduct a preliminary audit prior to the actual certification audit to uncover hidden vulnerabilities that could negatively affect the final certification.
7. Focus on continual improvement in ISMS.
Security is not a destination but a journey. You may have already been audited and certified by now, but it is important to continue to monitor, adjust and improve your ISMS. ISO 27001 mandates third-party audits (called surveillance audits) at planned intervals to make sure you still comply with the standard. The certification will be renewed only if the monitoring audit is successful.
ISO 27001 is not just about protecting data; It is also about improving the business. Organizations that can use these best practices will reach a better security position and enjoy significant competitive advantages.
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