Everything you need to know about ISO 27001

Everything you need to know about ISO 27001

Information security is a top priority for anyone dealing with any kind of data these days. The general public has become more aware of this issue with public cases of attacks like that on Target in 2013 and privacy is valued by internet users more than ever. There are many ways to build up your security and protect the data under your control, but that security should begin with becoming ISO 27001 compliant.

ISO 27001 details the best business practices and system structures to guarantee you a solid level of information security, which can of course be expanded upon as your organization sees fit. Not only does this recognized industry standard give you solid footing in the security arena, it helps you build a trustworthy reputation and keeps you competitive against other companies that may or may not be offering the same level of security.

What is it?

ISO 27001 is a security standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), headquartered in Geneva. As the world’s largest developer of voluntary international standards, the organization includes 163 nation-state members, has established over 20,000 standards and was one of the first organizations granted general consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council.

While ISO 27001 is not binding or legally required for anybody, its globally recognized status gives it weight and legitimacy among business and institutions across member nations. The standard unifies various security controls used by different companies and organizations into one comprehensive framework that represents the best of these practices in one package.
Specifically, ISO 27001 stipulates that a company’s management take certain steps towards security including rigorous risk assessment and the implementation of certain security controls.

Why it matters

To put it lightly, you don’t want to be caught unprepared on the security front. Damages and cleanup from any significant breach can be enough to drag you down and hold you back while depressing trust and investment in your project. One sure way to guarantee that you’re on the right track is to become ISO 27001 compliant.

Especially in the business-business environment, and even with investors, you may be asked if you are ISO 27001 compliant. These clients and investors want to know they can trust you to protect your own business and take seriously the data you’re entrusted with. Becoming compliant usually means hiring experts to lead you through the process.

How to become compliant

These experts first examine current operations to find out what’s missing before constructing a comprehensive plan to move forward. The different points of this plan can vary greatly from company to company as each presents its own challenges depending on the relevant product and company culture.

Depending on the size of the company, full compliance may take 4-5 months to achieve and require 70-100 hours of investment from you and some of your employees. These include senior managers, HR, IT, your CISO and CFO. Even if you employ an expert internally who is able to make sure you follow the stipulations of ISO 27001 in practice, an external organization is required to perform an audit to provide you with a certificate of compliance.

Once you’re compliant, the future is yours! You can move forward with confidence that others can trust you and that you actually are in fact well protected.