ISO 27001 Certification: Why Your Company Needs It for Information Security and Digital Transformation.
Data and information security is more important than ever for companies today in the digital age. Companies store sensitive data about their customers, employees and business processes. We are talking about data such as financial information, personal identification data and trade secrets, which should never be accessed or stolen by unauthorized individuals, as this can cause significant damage to the company and its stakeholders. Potential cyberattacks should also be mentioned here, as they can disrupt business operations and lead to downtime and financial loss. Implementing strong data and information security measures can drastically reduce the risk of cyberattacks and maintain business continuity.
You are now asking yourself: What to do? One possible measure is to establish an information security management system (ISMS) in accordance with ISO 27001.
ISO 27001 is the leading international standard for a comprehensive information security management system and thus a documented proof that the information security management system meets the requirements of ISO 27001. Such a system certification is more credible than a self-generated declaration of conformity by the company.
The ISO 27001 standard focuses on the identification and assessment of risks that can occur in information-processing processes. In order to protect information, however, it must first be classified. It must be clarified which information is considered unimportant and which is considered strictly confidential so that the protective measures of an information security management system, hereinafter referred to as ISMS, can be based on it in accordance with ISO 27001.
The implementation of an ISMS not only helps the company to protect its data internally and to guarantee confidentiality, because an ISO 27001 certification also enables an independent external confirmation of the effectiveness of the ISMS.
As mentioned before, a certification according to 27001 increases the credibility of a company, because compared to a self-declaration by the company, customers can be sure that the requirements and objectivity are met. The company can therefore proudly say that it ensures legally compliant IT security.
In addition, the certification helps companies to stand their ground in the competition with other companies. Data protection is becoming increasingly important to customers, clients and employees alike. Consequently, companies that can demonstrate a certified information security management system are preferred to companies that do not have a certificate.
The certification process is also a good opportunity for companies to carry out self-monitoring and thus reduce business and liability risks. The audits carried out during certification can show companies potential for improvement. In the case of an already existing ISMS, weak points in data and information security can be identified and security improved.
With ISO 27001 certification, we are essentially talking about basic IT protection for a company. Personal customer and employee data is protected against misuse and the general awareness of information security in the company is increased. In addition, it can be ensured that external regulations and statutory provisions are complied with, thus minimizing business and liability risks.
The ISMS standard ISO 27001 provides companies worldwide with a framework for maintaining their information security. The German Federal Office for Information Security requires companies in the Critical Infrastructure sector to demonstrate that they have ensured information security. The Critical Infrastructure sector refers to companies in the energy, healthcare, finance, insurance, food, traffic, telecommunications, information technology, and transportation sectors.
When a company decides to implement an ISMS according to ISO 27001, it takes a strategic step into the future. The implementation of the system in the company must take into account the needs and requirements of the company, as well as its size and structure. The conscious decision of a company to meet standard requirements leads to a constant improvement of the security level, as well as a drastic reduction of security risks. In short, with an ISO 27001 ISMS certification, a company decides to be more resistant to unwanted and unplanned influences.
For example, Integrating a visitor management solution into a company's ISMS can help streamline the certification process and enhance overall information security. Visitor management solutions can aid in controlling access to company premises, ensuring that only authorized individuals gain entry. This helps protect sensitive data and contributes to achieving ISO 27001 compliance.
The certification body that certifies the information security management system must also be accredited to ISO 17021 and ISO 27006. This is the only way to guarantee conformity and compliance with the strict requirements.
Certification can, of course, only be carried out if the company has an information security management system or is in the process of implementing one. The compatibility of the requirements of the ISO 27001 standard with the respective information security management system must then be checked.
Certification to ISO 27001 ideally begins with a pre-audit, during which an expert checks whether the company's information security management system meets the requirements of ISO 27001 and whether such certification can be carried out at all. This pre-audit does not have to be performed by a certification authority.
Once the pre-audit has been carried out, the next step is the certification audit, which must be carried out by a certification body. This is where the requirements of the ISO 27001 standard are checked to see whether they have actually been implemented in the information security management system. This certification audit is divided into two stages, whereby both audits should be carried out within less than three months.
In the first stage of the certification audit, the documentation of the information security management system is checked for conformity with the standard. The site-specific conditions of the information security management system are then checked to determine whether the second stage of the certification audit can be carried out or not. If minor deviations from the standard requirements are found, these can usually still be corrected by the second stage of the certification audit. In case of larger deviations and thus an increased probability of non-acceptance of the ISMS certification, the certification audit can still be canceled by the company.
If an information security management system qualifies for the second stage of the certification audit, the effectiveness of the system is tested in this step. In order to check the conformity of the information security management system to standards, employee interviews are also conducted and documents are checked. All results of the certification audit of stages 1 and 2 are summarized in an audit report.
If the audit report determines that the information security management system is not compliant with the ISO 27001 standard, the company is informed about the weaknesses in the system and can analyze and correct them. After successful correction, a post-audit is performed, but only the corrective actions are reviewed. However, companies should be aware that even the small certification scope of a post-audit will further drive up the cost of certification.
Ideally, the company and thus its information security management system has met all the requirements of the certification, and the ISO 27001 certificate can be issued.
The certification is valid for three years from the date of issue, but the information security management system should be continuously audited. These surveillance audits should be performed at least once a year. At the end of the three years, the company must recertify. If all requirements continue to be met, a new certificate can be issued.
The specifications and steps for ISO 27001 certification are standardized. However, the cost of certification can vary depending on the complexity of the company and thus the implementation of the certification process.
The complexity of a company consists, among other things, of the company's personal data. In addition, there is the question of what individual risks the company's business processes entail and what requirements the company has. It also plays a role in which technologies can be found in an information security management system.
In terms of office management, incorporating a visitor management solution, companies can further strengthen their security measures and support their journey to becoming ISO 27001 compliant.
The fewer standard systems and the more complex the IT used, the greater the effort required for certification and the associated costs.