What are the Three Principles of ISO 27001

ISO 27001, the international standard for information security, works on three principles; confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. Together, these three principles will help you adopt an Information Security Management System (ISMS) that will help minimize the chances of an information security breach as well as limit its impact (in case it still happens).

ISO 27001 Principle 1- Confidentiality of data

As evident from the name, this principle deals with maintaining the confidentiality of the information, whether it is the company’s own information or the data shared with it by its customers, prospects, prospective alliances, etc.

It mandates the organizations to develop an ISMS which will help keep all types of information strictly private by restricting access to only authorized people. The information should be secured so that neither any unauthorized person within the organization nor any third party or the ‘information thieves’ (and tools such as keyloggers and port scanners) can access it.

The principle of confidentiality not only ensures the protection of the stored data but also of the information that is being shared within and outside the organization. Organizations may use an encryption method to prevent third parties or hackers from accessing it during transmission. Companies may also use passwords to protect files when sharing them online.

Businesses may use one or more protection/authentication methods to prevent any form of information leak or theft.

ISO 27001 Principle 2- Integrity of data

Other than protecting the data from being accessed by unauthorized sources, ISO 27001 also mandates that organizations must take steps to ensure its accuracy throughout its lifecycle.

The principle ‘Integrity of data’ defines that organizations must ensure that the data is not tampered with when it is stored and in transit. It should always remain exactly the same as it was received or created. If any authorized changes are made, the backup data must also be changed to avoid confusion. The changes should be automated, i.e., if data is changed in one location, it should automatically change in all other locations, including the backups.

Your information assets may get tampered with/altered/corrupted either by intention or by mistake. Cyberattacks and malware also challenge the integrity of the data. These issues can severely impact your organization’s operation and can break the trust that your customers, prospects, and stakeholders have in you. Further, you may face legal action if any sensitive information is altered.

Organizations can do a number of things to avoid such instances. All backups should be stored in one location, and all backup files should get automatically altered whenever an authorized change is made on the original file. You may avoid duplicating the data at all. You can also create a data inventory, so it becomes easier to track the data flow and identify the source where it got tampered with.

Benefits of getting ISO 22301 certification

While organizations must restrict the accessibility of data and maintain its integrity, they must also ensure that it is always available to authorized persons when needed, irrespective of the circumstances, which could include natural and manmade disasters.

The third principle of ISO 27001 defines that organizations must ensure uninterrupted access to all crucial information that may be needed for daily operations. This principle could be challenged by numerous factors such as Denial-Of-Service attacks, cyberattacks, hardware issues, software issues, network failure, network crashes, human error, etc. Those organizations that want to get ISO 27001 certification must design and implement an Information Security Management System (ISMS) capable of dealing with these issues. It should be able to mitigate the risk of downtime and its potential impact.

Organizations must have a foolproof disaster recovery plan to anticipate the threats. The plan should list the actions that can be taken in case of data system disruption. Plus, organizations should also have a temporary backup plan that can be implemented, so the users/buyers do not face any inconvenience.


The three principles of ISO 27001 address only one basic but the highly-crucial need of every business; to identify the risks to your information assets and address them before they cause any major damage to your business. This may sound simple, but it requires a lot of brainstorming to pin down the possible loopholes. Plus, maintaining the data’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability is a continuous process.

Cyber threats keep changing frequently, so you will have to remain vigilant and up-to-date. If you are unsure how to develop an ISMS that can help you obtain and maintain ISO 27001 certification, do not hesitate to seek expert advice.

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