Understanding ISO 27001: A Comprehensive Introduction to Information Security Standards

Understanding ISO 27001: A Comprehensive Introduction to Information Security Standards
By Ashwini Kumar, February 14, 2023

1. What is ISO 27001 standards?

ISO/IEC 27001, or ISO 27001, defines best practices for implementing and is generally regarded as the international standard for defining as well as managing information security controls within an information security management system (ISMS).

ISO/IEC 27001 is one part of the overarching determined by the International Organization for

Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

The purpose of ISO 27001 is to address how organizations establish, monitor, maintain, and continuously improve their ISMS to keep their data, documents, and other related information assets secure. ISO 27001 provides a framework and the necessary guidelines to establish and implement an ISMS.

Organizations that can demonstrate their processes and controls meet the compliance requirements of ISO 27001 during a two-stage certification audit are considered eligible to receive ISO 27001 certification from the certifying body. This certification audit verifies that the organization’s security systems and IT processes follow current best security practices defined by the standard.

2. A Brief History of ISO 27001

As cybersecurity needs evolved over time, more and more organizations adopted ISMS, the British Standards InstituteGroup (BSI Group) sought to define IT standards outlining how organizations should design and implement their ISMS to secure their information assets. In 1995, the BSI in partnership with the UK Government’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) developed standards that were a vendor-neutral and that upheld the availability, confidentiality, and integrity (CIA) of an organization’s data as well as proprietary information.

These essential IT standards—known as BS 7799—laid the foundation for today’s ISO 27001

standard. The first part of BS 7799 that was released focused on general information security management standards.

After several revisions, the ISO adopted the first part of BS 7799 in the year 2000 and it was called ISO/IEC 17799.

After further revision, the standard was renamed as ISO/IEC 27002 in 2007. In addition ISO 27002 provides additional guidance to implement security controls recommended in ISO 27001 and is often referred to as Annexure to ISO 27001 . The second and third parts of BS 7799 standards are referred to as the ISO 27001:2005 standards.

These guidelines specify how to implement an ISMS and define standards for analyzing risks within ISMS

processes, procedures, and controls. The ISO adopted both parts in 2005 and incorporated an option for organization for certification to demonstrate their compliance to ISO 27001 security standards.

The latest version of ISO 27001 cybersecurity by definition—updated in 2013 (ISO 27001:2013) —helped standardize ISMS design and implementation by introduction of the Annex SL template.

This high-level structure (HLS) ensures that all systems share a similar look & feel, compatibility, and

functionality to comply with multiple ISO standards such as ISO 9000, ISO 45000, ISO 22000. The updated version of the standard also defines additional controls that further support protecting an organization’s information assets

3. Why is ISO 27001 so important?

As organizations face frequent data breaches, organizations have become increasingly vigilant about their cybersecurity processes and methods. Now, many organizations expect their partners, suppliers and vendors to manage their data with a similar level of compliance to information security. Ensuring data, organizational information, as well as other information assets safe and secure is the highest priority, with many clients and partners specifying security expectations within their contracts.

As the globally recognized standard for information security management, ISO 27001 certification has

become a competitive advantage that proves an organization can effectively manage its information

assets as well as information security.

ISO 27001 is often considered a very rigorous security standard. In part, that is due to the fact ISO 27001 focuses on all the three pillars of information security: people, processes, and technology. Unlike IT security initiatives that are confined to the IT department, the ISO 27001 information security standards involves protecting information assets across the length and breadth of an organization.

That means multiple teams in an organization are trained and committed to proactively protecting company information and data to maintain high compliance to security standards. The documentation required for ISO 27001 certification requires the business to clearly define their business processes and procedures have to be designed to maintain, monitor, and improve the ISMS for exceptional asset security. The standard also defines the persons responsible for managing each of these processes.

This can improve operational efficiency, reduce human error, improve identity and access management

practices, and ultimately provide a more cost-effective way to handle security management. Since

continual improvement is a key requirement and is built into the certification and recertification process, an organization can proactively prevent security breaches and unexpected security gaps, as well.

Achieving and maintaining ISO 27001 compliance involves scheduling and performing regular internal and external audits to identify nonconformances and identifying opportunities for improvement . In addition, senior management reviews ensure that teams successfully implement the recommended actions.



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