The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a global standard managing various standards across different fields and industries. The ISO 27001 standard is designed to function as a framework for an organization’s information security management system (ISMS). There are many benefits to acquiring this certification. Let us dive in and learn all about ISO 27001 and its benefits.

What is ISO 27001?

ISO/IEC 27001 is an international standard created to serve as a framework to strengthen an organization’s Information Security Management System or the ISMS. This standard covers all policies and processes related to how data is controlled and used by an organization. The standard was originally published in 2005 and then revised in 2013.

The ISO 27001 standard does not mandate specific tools but instead functions as a compliance checklist for an organization to follow.This article is geared towards recognizing the key benefits of acquiring ISO 27001 certification and how it can give your organization an edge over its competitors.

Why is an ISO27001 Standard required and to whom is it applicable?

ISO 27001 is a requirement in certain industries where organizations handle highly-sensitive data. An ISO 27001 certification proves to customers, stakeholders, governments, and regulatory bodies that your organization is secure and trustworthy.

For any organization dealing with sensitive data, be it profit or non-profit, a small business, a large business, a state-owned business or a private sector company, ISO 27001 certification is an indispensable asset for all of them. The certification adds value to your business and enhances your reputation in the marketplace by serving as an official document that is a testament to your high compliance standards and solid security systems.

It also helps avoid financial damages or penalties incurred due to data breaches or security incidents. Organizations looking to work in an environment where data is securely processed will always seek and favor organizations that are ISO 27001 Certified as it becomes a prerequisite instead of an added advantage.

Benefits of achieving ISO 27001 certification

Given below are the benefits of ISO 27001 implementation in your organization.

1.    Helps Retain Customers and Win New Business

The risks involved in Cyber Security and data breaches are constantly on the rise, along with a growing number of stakeholders whose primary concern is how their valuable information is being handled and protected.

Demonstrating an ISO 27001 certification proves your commitment to meeting the highest standards of Information Security to customers and stakeholders This is a guaranteed way to help build trust and retain customers. Obtaining the internationally accredited ISO 27001 certification also means that new clients will that you have a demonstrable information security management process in place, and know that you can be trusted with their information and their business.

2.    Improves Information Security Processes and Strategies

ISO 27001 is a standard that puts Cyber Security at the forefront. Highly qualified Information Security experts (preferably external consultants) auditors will observe your organization’s security practices and seek to reinforce or replace them with industry best practices to mitigate security breaches.

They will help map out goals and objectives, thus providing your organization with actionable information that will define data security measures and responsibilities across the board. Going through the certification process will help you compile professional reports and documents that will improve your information security strategies and serve as a trusty guide for years to come.

3.    Ensures Implementation of Best Practices

ISO 27001 certification provides a clear framework for Information Security management processes and key operational elements. Practices such as keeping IT systems up to date, anti-virus protection, data storage and back-ups, IT Change Management, and event logging is clearly defined under this standard.

The processes required to meet the ISO 27001 standard result in improved documentation and clear guidelines to follow for all personnel, this further keeps the organization secure and resilient from cyber attacks. Some of the policies introduced in organizations are clear instructions concerning the use of external drives, safe internet browsing, and strong passwords.

Cyber-attacks and data breaches will always remain a possibility, but the forward planning involved with ISO 27001 demonstrates that you have evaluated the risks and taken into account business continuity and breach reporting if things were to go wrong, thus allowing your organization to stay functional with minimal damage.

4.    Promotes Compliance with Commercial, Contractual and Legal requirements

Annex A.18 of ISO 27001 specifically addresses the topic of compliance with legal and contractual requirements. The objective of this annex is to avoid breaches of legal, statutory, regulatory or contractual obligations related to information security. In simple terms, the organization must ensure that they are up-to-date with any documentation, legislation and regulation that affects the achievement of its business objectives and the outcomes of compliance with legal and contractual requirements.

Since most of these requirements already come under the scope of ISO 27001 as an outcome of the Risk Management process,, organizations do not mostly require putting in place secondary processes to be compliant with these requirements.

5.    Continuously Monitor and Prevent Risk

The process of implementing an ISO-compliant ISMS will help create strong, tested processes and policies for information protection, regardless of how and where information is stored and shared. As your organization develops a policy or process for each risk that is identified, you will find yourself digging deep into all of the avenues of communication and information storage spaces in the organization.

The result is a clear picture of the company’s current standings and security processes along with an outline of what is required to satisfy functional, legal, regulatory and customer requirements. These findings will help you develop action items that will need to be completed to comply with your new and evolving threat scenarios.

Consistent monitoring of these processes is what ensures that they function as intended. This requires routine leadership meetings aimed towards checking the functioning of the ISMS and making adjustments to optimize it as needed. This systematic approach requires consistency above all else. With systems that are continuously monitoring in place it becomes easier to detect potential weak spots and stop breaches before they affect your business.

6.Prepares your Organization for Long-term Success

The long-term benefits of ISO 27001 will be shown through your ability to grow and prosper in our rapidly changing business environment. This new environment is one where Information Security is quickly becoming one of the most essential aspects of any business. With an ISO 27001 certification in place you are essentially future-proofing your business against these constantly-increasing security threats.

With the above-mentioned benefits and the systems you will have in place for careful monitoring, planning, and quick breach realization, you will significantly reduce the cost and damage caused by information breaches, thus minimizing your losses.

Even if you cannot predict when they’ll happen, you will be prepared to act as soon as you realize your information is compromised. ISO 27001 sets companies up with an Information Management System that automates and defines each step of the process. Your company will be positioned to capitalize on the structure, realizing growth opportunities and serving your existing customers with confidence for a long period of time.

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