What is ISO 27001 (and who needs it)?

ISO 27001 is a key Information Security standard. For businesses that regularly hold onto sensitive data about their clients and want to demonstrate the highest standards of security, it can be an important standard to meet.

Because the cybercrime risk to everything from financial information to Intellectual Property to patient safety can be huge. It can also be costly to an organisation’s bank balance and reputation if they let unauthorised people get access to it.

If you think your organisation might benefit from ISO 27001 certification, here is everything you need to know:

What is ISO 27001?

ISO 27001 is an international Information Security standard. Like other international standards, it lays out a specification for what good practice looks like in a certain system or process.

In the case of 27001, this is business Information Security Management Systems (ISMS). The standard explains how a business can create a set of information security policies and procedures that will properly protect its and its clients’ data.

The standard also provides an audit system that gives a business a way to demonstrate to clients, partners, and investors that it is certified as meeting this high level of information security precautions.

Who needs ISO 27001?

So far, this sounds like something that many businesses would find highly beneficial. Yet ISO 27001 is a high standard to meet. Thus, it’s probably not necessary for every business out there.

This is because, as a business management standard, achieving certification usually requires buy-in from senior leadership and resources devoted to the task. Not least the attention of a specialist in the field.

The dividing line between a business that would benefit from ISO 27001 certification and one that might not is how much data you routinely handle and how sensitive it is.

For example, ISO 27001 compliance is common among businesses in:

  • The tech industry – including data storage, data analysis, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers as well as other platforms that hold large amounts of data.
  • The banking and finance sector – as you might imagine, data security is a high priority within the banking sector. Cybercrime targeting the finance sector is rife.
  • The healthcare industry – again, an industry that regularly holds large amounts of highly sensitive data. ISO 27001 is a key security standard for healthcare companies.

It is also important to note that while ISO 27001 is an international standard, certain regions have their own local versions that can be preferred or required. For instance, in the US, SOC 2 is a comparable standard that is sometimes expected in addition to ISO 27001.

Who benefits from ISO 27001 compliance?

In addition to those in specific industries where information security is vital, organisations that would benefit from ISO 27001 certification are those that share certain attributes:

  1. You often hold onto data about your clients or generate a great deal yourself
  2. Some or all of that data could be considered sensitive or valuable
  3. Information security standards in your industry are high
  4. You have important Intellectual Property that needs protecting
  5. You want to advertise your security as a USP to win investors or new major clients

Who is required to have ISO 27001?

ISO 27001 certification is not a legal requirement. However, in some sectors, there may be an unwillingness to work with you if you do not have this degree of professionalisation in your ISMS.

Nor is ISO 27001 necessarily the right place for every business to start its information security compliance journey. In the UK, other standards such as IASME or the Cyber Essentials scheme may be more appropriate.

If you have any doubts, your Managed Service Provider or in-house IS specialist should always be the first people to speak with. Achieving compliance requires resources. It’s always smart to make sure you’ve chosen the right standard before you get started.

Not sure whether ISO 27001 certification is right for your business?

Let’s talk. Dial A Geek‘s Protect & Grow Premium plan comes with ISO certification built in. It’s one of the ways we’ve helped over 1000 businesses in Bristol and across the UK safeguard and expand.

Discuss your Information Security needs with an expert today when you set up a cost and commitment-free consultation with Chief Geek and MD Gildas Jones.

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