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ISO 27001 Compliance: Clauses, controls, tips & other essential insights!

Amidst the large family of industry-specific standards, frameworks and certifications, ISO 27001 Standard remain a popular option for businesses. The applicability of ISO/IEC 27001:2013 Information Security Management extends beyond business verticals and continental boundaries. If your organization is looking to gain applicable insights about the ISO 27001 Implementation, compliance process, and the upcoming 2022 update, the blog is for you!

ISO 27001 Compliance: A look back!

ISO 27001 Standard is a joint product of the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). It is a well-known and most adopted standard among the ISO/IEC 27000 family.

Like many other standards and frameworks, proving ISO 27001 Compliance isn’t that hard. As an organization, you don’t need strict adherence to its technical controls but risk management. It requires that organizations take a holistic and bold approach to security.

Similarly, numerous controls go listed in Annex A of the standard. However, there is no exception that your organization should implement all the listed control to maintain compliance. Instead, organizations can implement the appropriate subset of these controls, based on unique risks to their business operations.

Is ISO 27001 Compliance obligatory?

The answer to the question can vary from one region to other. While few countries make ISO 27001 Implementation a mandatory requirement, there are many other countries that spin the other way. However, there can be multiple situations where certification to the standard stays mandatory. For instance, organizations in the healthcare and finance sectors would need to comply with ISO 27001 standards. It is because of the amount of sensitivity that these organizations carry. Likewise, market sectors get equally impacted. A trusted firm like ValueMentor knows that organizations always expect their vendors and allied partners to be compliant. And that is why we have made all our certifications and compliance programs easily accessible to customers.

How to be certified against the standard?

The route to ISO 27001 Certification can be time-consuming, likely taking a year or more. The thing to remember here is that ISO doesn’t provide you with the certification by itself but

through third-party auditors and assessors. They help validate that organizations have implemented all relevant best practices in line with the ISO Standard. As we cited earlier, there is no ISO 27001 Implementation roadmap or universal checklist that assures the certification. It depends on how well you manage risk over the prescribed technical controls. And that directs every organization to identify how you can implement the framework effectively. So, here we describe a path organization would cross once ready to bring in an auditor or a certification body.

Initial Review : This is the phase where the external auditor or certification body inspects an organization’s ISMS. The goal is to identify if the organization is ready to move on to the detailed audit phase. Any feeble metrics or absence of proper documentation spotted can make the certification process standstill.

Detailed Audit : The phase marks a more detailed and thorough examination of controls according to the ISO 27001 Implementation Roadmap. The auditor or certification body will look for proof or evidence that the organization has implemented things as illustrated in the documentation. The detailed audit phase scrutinizes the implementation effectiveness, as said in the first phase.

Annual Oversight : After acquiring the certification, organizations require to maintain ISO 27001 compliance through annual surveillance audits. The phase is not as hard or rough to handle as the previous two. However, any non-conformities against standard requirements can cause the cancellation of an ISO 27001 certification before the expiration time.

What are the main clauses & controls?

The last revision of the ISO 27001 Standard contains 11 clauses numbered 0 to 10 and an Annex A that details specific security controls. All main clauses contain subset clauses except for the introduction clause. Likewise, organizations should remember that clauses 4 to 10 mark the mandatory ones and organizations can’t sidestep these requirements. The 11 clauses are as follows: –

  • Introduction: Familiarizes the standard and its intent.
  • Scope: Feeds a detailed view of the information security management system & risk treatment requisites specified within the standard. Also, the generic nature of the standard applicable across different industries and business sizes goes conveyed.
  • Normative references: Clarifies the relationship between ISO 27000 & 27001 standards.
  • Terms and definitions: Entail the terminology used within the standard.
  • Context of the organization: Cover stakeholders, internal and external issues, alongside regulatory & compliance requirements. An organization must also define the scope and applicability of the ISMS as part of this clause.
  • Leadership: Proper ISO 27001 Compliance needs full support from top management. The leadership clause describes the responsibilities of senior executives in executing and upholding a functional ISMS. The audit process involves consultations with top executives, proving commitment from management goes exact and genuine.
  • Planning: The clause includes risk assessment, risk treatment, and objectives to measure the implementation of an ISMS in line with business objectives. An organization would need to define and document its measures for assessing and analysing risks and specify how it will address identified risks.
  • Support: The clause addresses the resources required to implement and support the ISMS. Organizations should have well-trained employees, policy communication, and standardized approaches to creating and updating documentation.
  • Operation: Here, the clause involves setting much of the work developed during the Planning clause into action. Where clause 6 defined the criteria for risk assessments, clause 8 is where that gets performed and documented. It is also the clause where the mandated Risk Treatment Plan gets implemented.
  • Performance evaluation: It is essential to evaluate the ISMS performance to get the full benefit of your ISO 27001 implementation. Clause 9 consists of requirements for how organizations monitor and assess the policies, procedures, and controls that make up the management system. The clause also calls for regular internal audits & management checks.
  • Improvement: The conclusive clause covers non-conformity to the other sections of the standard & continual improvement of the information security program.

More about reference controls & objectives

  • Information Security Policies: Involves how policies should are written, approved, and communicated in the ISMS and across the organization.
  • Organization of Information Security: Involves establishing information security-related roles & responsibilities across the organization, including Mobile Computing & Teleworking standards.
  • Human Resource Security: Relates to ensuring the workforce is aware of their roles and responsibilities in line with business objectives.
  • Asset Management: Describes the procedures involved in managing assets & how they should be covered and secured.
  • Access Control: Involves how employee access should get limited to various types of data, applications, and systems.
  • Cryptography: Hoops the best activities or actions in encryption that help protect the flow of sensitive information.
  • Physical and Environmental Security: Security should not always run under the digital shadow. The section looks to secure physical components across your organization, including buildings, internal equipment, and devices.
  • Operations Security: Include controls for operational security from malware protection to vulnerability management & other backup policies.
  • Communications Security: Involve security of communication via the corporate network and third parties like customers or suppliers.
  • System acquisition, development, and maintenance: Comprises different processes for managing systems in a secure environment.
  • Supplier Relationships: Describes how an organization must interact with third parties or suppliers. Organizations should sustain supplier contracts with high importance.
  • Information security incident management: Comprises the best practices or security actions that help respond to security incidents or issues. Incident management is of high criticality when it comes to ISO 27001 Implementation.
  • Information security aspects of business continuity management: Business continuity is the key. Describe how organizations should manage and handle business disruptions or any major changes to their running cycle.
  • Compliance: Determines what government rules or industry regulations are applicable to the organization. Organizations need to adhere complete requirements as specified within their respective industry law.

The ISO 27001 update is nearby!

The standard lifespan of an ISO standard is 5-years. After this period, it is checked to understand if the standard requires revision or should get retracted. In 2018, five years after the publication of ISO 27001:2013, it was time to revise ISO 27001 and 27002. On February 15, ISO 27002:2022 got released (source), and ISO 27001:2022 expects the release sooner.

When will Instant 27001 be updated?

The English version of Instant 27001 has already got updated, based on ISO 27002:2022 and the published draft version of the ISO 27001 amendment. Hence, you can kick-start your implementation based on the 2022 version today!

How can organizations revise existing Instant 27001 implementation?

Once ISO 27001:2022 is published, an update package will be available for existing customers.

This update kit will comprise the following: –

  • The new Annex A structure having all 93 controls.
  • Updates for the changed high-level requirements.
  • All new and updated policies & procedures (for reference).
  • A new Statement of Applicability.
  • A new monitoring plan.
  • A new internal audit program.
  • A new internal audit report template.
  • Instructions to merge the contents and update your existing ISMS.

Tips for maintaining ISO 27001 Compliance

To maintain sound compliance with ISO 27001, organizations can form a task force, including different stakeholders. This group must periodically meet and review any open issues & deliver updates to the ISMS.

  • Make compliance a part of the ongoing business process.
  • Get key participation and cooperation from senior management.
  • Keen-monitor and assess the framework and the ISMS.
  • Remain on top of the latest cyber risks and vulnerabilities.
  • Conduct gap analysis & regular internal audits.
  • Involve key parts of your business process in ISMS.
  • Run continuous scope evaluations upon business expansions.
  • Document all actions to keep them useful for future audits.

Summing Up

Knowing about potential risk vectors, identifying risk presence, and remediating them prove the foundation of ISO 27001 Standard. When organizations lack visibility into their asset infrastructure, it becomes hard to mitigate risks. Businesses need to identify who accesses their information, how it is accessed and what causes the access. Here is where ISO 27001 consulting services drive benefits to your business. ValueMentor is one of the leading ISO 27001 consultant firms that can be your success implementor for ISMS. If you are looking to prove compliance with an existing ISMS or looking for a new or enhancement model, the trusted choice is here. All you need to do is to book your consultation now, and our IS0 27001 lead implementors and consultants are ready to hear and address your concerns.

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