ISO 27001 is a security standard that deals with Information Security Management Systems (or ISMSs). The standard involves a framework of best practices to help organisations implement strong ISMSs to avoid security threats and increase operational efficiency.
What is ISO 27001 Accreditation?
ISO 27001 is an international information security management standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO 27001 accreditation means an organisation has obtained certification that its information security management system meets the requirements of the ISO 27001 standard.
Over the years, the number of valid certificates for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO/IEC 27001 has increased worldwide. The following graph illustrates the changes in these certifications from 1997 to 2017.:
Attaining and maintaining ISO 27001 accreditation demonstrates an organisation's commitment to best practice in information security. It provides confidence to customers and business partners that their data and information will be protected.
In this guide, we will explore the benefits of ISO 27001 for organisations and their customers.
For a more technical exploration of ISO 27001, check out our in-depth guide.
Why is ISO 27001 Important to Your Organisation?
ISO stands for the International Standardisation Organisation, a global federation of non-governmental bodies that publishes standards for policies and procedures. The ISO promotes three main types of management systems
ISO 9001 for quality assurance
ISO 27001 for information security management
ISO 14001 for environmental management
ISO 27001 helps organisations protect against security threats such as data breaches. The comprehensive framework concerns physical, technical, legal, and human aspects of information management, and safeguards both digital and physical resources.
There are numerous notable advantages of ISO certification:
Being able to identify threats
There are various kinds of security risks that organisations may face, from phishing scams and other forms of cybercrime to non-technical threats and breaches that happen due to internal human error. The ISO 27001 framework includes detailed, thorough steps on how to identify potential security risks of all kinds, and what actions can be taken and processes implemented to avoid these risks.
Security breaches, whether as a result of external attacks or internal errors, can cost organisations significant amounts of money. Cybercrime alone is estimated to cost the UK economy a staggering £27 billion a year, and countless organisations have been seriously affected. Implementing ISO 27001 can also improve the efficiency of systems and reduce downtime.
Improving data governance
Efficient information systems are not only more secure, but are also easier to work with. When systems are compliant with ISO 27001 standards, the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information is protected. This also streamlines administrative processes and makes operations more efficient.
Embedding data protection into organisational strategy
Data protection not only helps avoid security breaches and legal issues — it also helps organisations optimise overall business strategy to remain competitive. The ISO 27001 best practices enable the development of process-driven approaches to the management of information and assets. This can help staff better utilise existing resources, and be more prepared to adopt new technological solutions.
Improving the efficacy of risk assessments
Risk assessment is a vital component of information security, but it can be very difficult to know where to start — especially when it comes to larger or more multifaceted systems. ISO 27001 can help organisations plan and carry out more effective, thorough risk assessments and audits. The framework offers guidance on how risk assessments of various types of systems can be best conducted by different departments.
Increasing employee knowledge of security
Every member of an organisation has a role to play in maintaining effective, secure information management. The ISO 27001 framework can teach all employees — not just those in security-focused roles — best practices and how to avoid risks. Incorporating ISO 27001 principles into employee training can empower employees with vital security awareness, knowledge, and skills.
Improving business continuity planning
An effective business continuity plan (or BCP) addresses how best to respond to any kind of disruption, and the steps and actions needed to recover. ISO 27001 includes best practices on how to develop a BCP and ensure that all employees know how to follow it.
Strengthening partner ecosystems
Following the ISO 27001 framework — or, better yet, gaining ISO 27001 certification — demonstrates understanding of and commitment to information security. This can assure existing and potential business partners that an organisation's systems and practices are secure. The streamlining of administrative processes can also improve the efficiency of operational interactions between partners.
Why is ISO 27001 Important to Consumers and Clients?
ISO standards were developed largely to benefit consumers. ISO specifications ensure that products are safe and work the way that they should. For organisations in the IT sector, ISO standards help the development of software that is secure and effective, and organisations in all sectors can benefit from implementing ISO 27001 internally. The framework can also increase opportunities
One of the benefits of ISO27001 is that implementing it can make your organisation more attractive to consumers. Awareness of the ISO 27001 benefits — and the pitfalls of less robust frameworks and practices — is growing, and tech-savvy consumers are increasingly likely to avoid doing business with organisations that don't meet the standards of ISO 27001.
In addition to helping organisations appeal to potential new clients, following ISO 27001 standards can help reassure existing clients and customers that any of their data stored is being governed correctly and protected against potential security risks. This can increase client/customer retention.
Real-World Examples of ISO 27001 Implementation Success
A real-life case study illustrating the advantages of ISO 27001 for customers is the experience of InteliSecure, a firm specialising in data loss prevention. By adopting ISO 27001, InteliSecure positioned itself for growth and leadership within the data loss prevention sector.
InteliSecure's ISO 27001 implementation enabled the company to identify security risks and establish controls to manage or eliminate them. This resulted in increased stakeholder and customer trust, as their confidential data was protected. This trust allowed InteliSecure to achieve preferred supplier status, subsequently helping them secure new business.
Pervasive Health, a company specialising in health data management, is an excellent example of how ISO 27001 implementation can benefit organisations across various industries. Although Pervasive Health already had robust internal processes to protect data, ISO 27001 helped them consider all the risks they faced with the rigour of a demanding security standard. By achieving ISO 27001 certification for their US and European operations, Pervasive Health demonstrated their commitment to protecting sensitive health data and built trust with their clients.
Another case study involves Amigo Technology, a company offering digital marketing solutions. They chose to pursue ISO 27001 certification to demonstrate their commitment to information security and customer data protection. By implementing ISO 27001, Amigo Technology established a consistent and effective framework for managing and protecting its information assets, reducing the risk of data breaches and other security incidents, and improving compliance with relevant regulations and industry standards.
These case studies demonstrate that implementing ISO 27001 can offer significant benefits for customers, including increased trust in the company's ability to protect their data and a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
The Key Takeaways
The ISO 27001 advantages are numerous, and there is a reason why the standard has endured as a mark of security and trust. In summary, ISO 27001 certification benefits customers by providing a robust framework for managing information security risks, demonstrating a company's commitment to protecting sensitive data, ensuring compliance with relevant regulations and industry standards, and offering a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
At Overt Software, we are proud to be ISO 27001 certified. Our close following of the framework and implementation of its best practices enable us to provide top-quality service to customers while protecting their data.
For more information on the services that we provide, check out our Products page.