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ISO 27001 Compliance

ISO 27001 certification is not a ‘fire-and-forget’ thing. You need to get your certificate renewed after every three years. During this period, you must ensure 100% ISO 27001 compliance, so you don’t have to put in the same effort you made while getting yourself certified. Further, the ISO certification bodies keep conducting audits in between the certification renewal period. If they find out that your business lacks ISO 27001 compliance, you may lose your certification.

What is ISO 27001 compliance?

To get ISO 27001 certification, you need to design and implement an Information Security Management System (ISMS), a framework that enables you to protect your business (especially information assets) against cyber threats. Although it sounds pretty simple, creating a foolproof ISMS requires months of brainstorming and hard work. Plus, your ISMS has to be audited and approved by a third party, i.e. an ISO accreditation agency. Only then will you get your ISO certification.

Once you are certified, you must maintain your ISO 27001 compliance. For this, you need to conduct frequent audits and make timely updates. You have to adhere to the listed protocols in your daily business operations. You need to give it as much importance as you give to your core business processes, such as market research or supply chain management. If you ignore it, you may start to lose track and might end up exposing your business to cyber threats.

How to maintain ISO 27001 Compliance

Here is a brief overview of the steps you can take to ensure ISO 27001 compliance now and forever:

  • Document the crucial policies and procedures that you want your people to follow.
  • Educate your people about those policies, their importance, and what you expect from them.
  • Ensure that those policies and procedures are consistently followed by everyone and at every level.
  • If any barriers are preventing people from complying with the standard, address them.
  • Train people on how to handle data breaches and other crises.
  • Stay up-to-date with the ever-changing cyber threats and their modus operandi.
  • Conduct frequent audits to evaluate your preparedness. If you find a loophole or a scope for improvement, fix it immediately.
  • Keep a detailed record of steps that you have taken to ensure ISO 27001 compliance. Documentation can make things easier in the future.

What are the processes to become/be ISO 27001 compliant?

Incorporate ISO 27001 compliance in the day-to-day operation

As mentioned above, the safest way to maintain your ISO 27001 compliance is to ensure it is addressed daily. Do not treat it as a framework you must address just before audits.

Keep complying with it every day (or frequently). You won’t have to worry about annual or surprise internal and external audits. You will always remain prepared for them. There won’t be any last-minute hassle to deal with. Your resources won’t have to leave everything else and focus on ISO 27001 compliance right before the audits.

ISO 27001 certification is not just for impressing your customers and stakeholders. It is meant to safeguard your information assets. It is one of the prime lifelines of your business. Even slight negligence can expose you to financial and legal risks. You can minimize those risks by keeping your Information Security Management System (ISMS) up-to-date.

Educate your people about the importance of ISO 27001 compliance

Maintaining information security requires teamwork. From new HR recruits to the people in the top management, everyone must know the importance of complying with ISO 27001 standards and how they can contribute to it. You are responsible for educating them and reminding them about their duties by holding monthly/quarterly awareness campaigns.

Suppose your ISMS has recently fended off a cyber attack. In that case, you can prepare a presentation or create an email and share it with everyone in the organization, so they know how it works. You can put posters around your office campus and set up a hotline so they know where to contact. If someone approaches you with a question, ensure it is addressed appropriately and that the person is appreciated. This will encourage others to take an interest in something outside their job profile. You may set up mock drills to test if your people are well-trained to handle cyber crises.

Keep your ISMS up-to-date

This is where most businesses fail. They assume the ISMS they created when they applied for the certification is enough to protect them against cyber attacks for years.

Cyber threats change from time to time. 560,000 new malware are detected daily, and new types of cyber attacks have also become pretty common. Your two-year-old ISMS may not be effective enough to deal with these potential risks.

To maintain your ISO 27001 compliance, you must form a team that can keep track of the new types of threats and ensures that your information security system is strong enough to deal with them. The team must analyze how other businesses are dealing with cyber threats and suggest incorporating their actions and strategies.

If your ISMS is missing something or needs an upgrade, you must do it on a priority basis instead of waiting for the next audit.

Perform regular internal audits to check for ISO 27001 compliance

Ideally, businesses must conduct a monthly internal audit and gap analysis. Still, you may do it quarterly if that suits you best. Internal audits can help analyze the effectiveness of your crisis management plan. You can find and fix the loopholes, reduce the chances of errors, and keep your team well-prepared to face a crisis. Regular internal audits also help you prepare for the annual ISO 27001 compliance audits.

Conclusion

ISO 27001 compliance is all about identifying and addressing the risks consistently. This requires dedication and teamwork. If you are unsure how to obtain or maintain compliance, you can seek professional help.

Get Your ISO 27001 Certification

Online exam. Self-paced. Self-study course materials included.