It’s a question of trust.
Imagine you are going on an expedition into dangerous territory and you have the choice between two guides. One tells you they have undertaken one or two expeditions which, other than a few scrapes, have largely gone to plan. The other can provide tangible proof that they have the very specific training required, together with a proven track record in completing a number of successful expeditions in the country you wish to explore. They have a clear plan that eliminates unnecessary errors and minimises risk, while also having a well-considered and frequently tested plan to deal with an emergency if it were to occur. Given that it is your life at stake, who would you prefer to trust?
Although doing business with a third party is rarely a life-threatening situation, the future of any business is likely to be put at risk in a very real sense if a breach of its valuable data occurs. Chances are that most people would opt to deal with the organisation that can provide evidence of effective data security policies and procedures. That evidence is ISO 27001 certification.
If a company is implementing ISO27001, it demonstrates that careful consideration has been given to what could endanger confidentiality, integrity and the availability of information. Once those risks are known, it is about ensuring that security measures have been implemented in order to decrease them to an acceptable level.
In effect, therefore, it demonstrates to potential partners, stakeholders and customers that your organisation takes the safeguarding of their information seriously and provides them with the reassurance that you follow a clear framework for good information security practice in all areas of your business. For this reason, more and more government contracts and third parties are making it a requirement to be certified to ISO 27001 standard or at the very least to be compliant with the standard.
Another benefit of this certification is to your own business. That is because, unlike GDPR, which does not have an actual compliance process, ISO27001 provides very clear direction. In this way it can be a useful starting point for ongoing adherence to GDPR. ISO27001 concentrates on policies and processes, including all legal, physical and technical controls involved in an organisation’s information risk management processes. Its value is that it creates a robust environment to protect both staff and customer information assets.
So, what does it involve? Certification means a third party accredited independent auditor has performed an assessment of all your processes and controls, confirming that operations are in alignment with the comprehensive ISO27001 certification standard.
Aligning information security with the ISO27001 framework ensures that risks are addressed based on criticality. This means that the highest risks are addressed first and any unnecessary costs associated with low risks can be reduced. Another benefit of following the ISO27001 framework is that it makes it much easier to maintain the Information Security Management System (ISMS) which should be reviewed annually – and also when any business changes take place – to ensure that it stays relevant.
A further requirement of the ISO27001 Standard is to ensure that Business Continuity is in place, which ensures that the business is resilient and can still operate in the event of a major incident while effectively ensuring the continued operation of the business.
Putting all this into practice may all sound rather intimidating and, for this reason, many companies engage an ISO 27001 consultant with specialist training and experience in this process. This is also usually the most cost-effective way to negotiate the rigours of the ISO27001 accreditation process, because professional ISO27001 consultants can help you to achieve compliance with the minimum cost, effort and inconvenience.
Starting with a gap analysis to establish a level of security readiness, consultants can recommend a prioritised remediation plan based on what gaps there are. They are able to assist with any activities that need to be undertaken and provide guidance all the way up to a pre-audit assessment. Finally, they can offer on-site audit support to give you complete peace of mind that your organisation’s ISO 27001 accreditation is achieved and successfully maintained.