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How can ISO 27001 help SaaS companies?

The growing cloud dependence of businesses inevitably raises information security concerns. Users expect high confidentiality, integrity, and availability for their personal information within business functions. Hence, organizations are looking for reliable service providers to eliminate the burdens on security matters. And that is where the SaaS companies require more care and caution to raise their security, reliability, and stability standards.

So, how can a SaaS company ensure the required benchmark? And that clings to the relevance of the ISO 27001 standard. The standard on Information Security Management Systems proves handy for on-demand software companies. ISO 27001 Certification for SaaS companies mandates organizations to implement adequate security controls for information security. And that proves as a vote of confidence for users that their SaaS company takes security and compliance earnestly.

In what ways can ISO 27001 Certification prove helpful for SaaS companies?

An ISO 27001 certification can help SaaS companies in the following ways: –

– provides designed, dependable, and highly protected systems and applications.

– Provides a high line of control for data use, enabling principles of confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

– Bolsters business and service continuity.

– Build systems and applications sticking to industry regulations and laws.

Underlining the usefulness of ISO 27001 for SaaS companies

Beyond the demonstration of credible recognition, ISO 27001 for SaaS help in client retention and new client acquisitions. The specific industry faces a lot of competition in the market. As a result, SaaS companies need to ensure a high level of data security for their customers. Here are some of the reasons why the specific industry line should go for an ISO 27001 compliance and certification process: –

  • SaaS user circles or customer organizations consider ISO 27001 certification as a measuring bar to select respective vendors.
  • ISO 27001-certified SaaS provides users complete control and ownership using the principles of integrity, confidentiality, and availability.
  • The ISO 27001 risk management approach helps SaaS companies keep up with their service level commitments and continuity of business processes.
  • ISO 27001 SaaS companies take information regulations seriously while building their systems, proving the confidence to customers of no legal risk factors.

ISO 27001 for SaaS – Certification requirements

When developing an ISMS, the ISO 27001 certification standard specifies that every SaaS organization has individual requirements. There is no universally obligatory information security control for compliance because not all will be appropriate. So, organizations should perform actions that inform their decisions on which controls to enforce. Below are the SaaS requirements when implementing ISO 27001 certification: –

  1. Scoping your ISMS to determine what data needs protection.
  2. Performing a risk assessment and then deciding on a treatment methodology to uncover threats and how to mitigate them.
  3. Identifying the business goals and objectives.
  4. Obtaining approvals and support from top management.
  5. Defining risk acceptance levels and treatment plans.
  6. Setting up policies and procedures as a part of risk mitigation
  7. Keen monitoring the ISMS.
  8. Providing training and awareness plans.
  9. Running an internal audit.
  10.  Readying for an external audit.

After executing these steps, SaaS companies should regularly perform regular internal audits and timely management reviews. The exercise would help identify instances of non-conformities to improve the ISMS continually.

How can SaaS companies use ISO 27001 controls to ensure customer data protection?

As cited earlier, ISO 27001 has a roster of security controls, ensuring customer data gets protected. These controls get segmented into the following sections listed below: –

  • Information security policies: Identify major security rules and plans the SaaS company will execute with the information security system.
  • Organization of information security: Establish a management framework for initiating and managing the implementation of information security within the SaaS organization.
  • Human resource security: Ensure only trusted and trained people who know their roles and commitments work for the company.
  • Asset management: All assets of the SaaS company, like infrastructure, agreements, and databases, should be available in an inventory and tracked for usage and any changes.
  • Access control: Users will have separate roles, so make sure that consent/permission on who can access where and how are held in a secure way.
  • Cryptography: SaaS data encryption is essential– in transit or when archived – so that it gets secured from poking eyes and hackers. SaaS services require data encryption techniques to make sure information is safe and protected in all ways.
  • Physical and environmental security: It is critical to protect all physical SaaS resources such as offices, rooms, and equipment. Organizations should consider the location of the workplace, natural disasters, malicious attacks, cabling security, and equipment maintenance when deciding on protection. Likewise, there should be restrictions on physical entrance and controls. Even your employees and collaborators working remotely must have rules to protect their provided devices and other resources.
  • Operations security: SaaS companies must ensure they have enough scope and radius to incorporate customer demands. Operation security controls comprise malware protection, backup management, admin and user activity record, and security events.
  • Communications security: SaaS companies should be able to control and manage networks to protect data within systems and applications. And that includes technical controls like firewalls, endpoint verification, network segregation, hosting, non-disclosure agreements, third-party extensions, and libraries.
  • System acquisition, development, and maintenance: Rules for software/system development should be kept and followed by SaaS companies. Prior to the production phase, test and ensure everything is upright.
  • Supplier relationships: Ensure only suppliers who understand their security commitments deliver services and products to SaaS companies.
  • Information security incident management: Get breach-ready! It is vital for SaaS companies to create an incident management and response plan before an incident hits.
  • Information security aspects of business continuity management: SaaS companies must prepare well to deal with surprising situations in business activities. Stability and continuity mark the key here. So, define your critical activities and establish a step-by-step plan to return to the normal business cycle. It will help you stay in line and reduce disruption and damage, including recovery time and costs.
  • Compliance: Every business organization should comply with industry-specific regulatory laws and requirements. SaaS companies should focus on privacy, intellectual rights, and technical compliance regulations.

ISO 27001 Certification Best Practices

It is vital to treat ISO 27001 compliance as any other ongoing IT project for your business. And it is to be understood that there is no short-cut or immediate solution to implementing the standard. Here are some best practices that SaaS companies could follow on track with ISO 27001 compliance: –

  1. First things first! Ensure your management support, without which, the project would seem far from bearing the ultimate fruit. Their total commitment would mean that you have adequate resources available to develop, implement, maintain, and continually manage the ISMS.
  2. Define the scope to decide what part of your organization it should cover and the failure to which you could raise the program risk.
  3. Next, define and perform a risk assessment. For instance, PEST and SWOT analysis help identify threats and vulnerabilities that may impact specific businesses. It would also help you to discover the risk levels, providing a comprehensive picture of potential dangers confronting the security of your information.
  4. Enforce risk treatment strategies and approaches to control or limit the identified risks to appropriate or consumable levels.
  5. Apply the Statement of Applicability, which involves setting Annex A’s list of 133 controls and defining mitigation procedures.
  6. Document the risk treatment plan (remediation plan). Here, you pick applicable controls, one by one, listed in the Statement of Applicability and sketch how to execute them.
  7. Implement the appropriate controls from Annex A.
  8. Provide training and awareness programs for your employees, making them aware of the new policies and procedures you plan to perform and accomplish.
  9. Keen monitor the ISMS implementation. The ISO 27001 standard shadows a PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle. At this time, the top management must regularly check and inspect the ISMS before its application. You should then document and maintain the results of the routine audits and reviews and any recommendations actioned.

The Bottomline

When security is the top challenge, ISO 27001 standard implementation mark a vital differentiator for SaaS companies, providing international recognition and market advantage. As a global information security standard, the ISO 27001 Certification confirms, establishes, and demonstrates your ability to put the full range of data security best practices in place. Similarly, it proves that you have a managed, verifiable, and mature strategy and process for information security. Are you looking to prepare for your ISO 27001 Compliance and Certification today? Get in touch with ValueMentor, one of the radiant choices for ISO 27001 Certification for SaaS companies.

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