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Is ISO 27001 Certification Right For My Business?

Ray Kruck
2019-07-098 min read
Certifications
ISO/IEC 27001 is a standard set out by the International Standards Organization that helps your organization manage the security of assets such as financial information, user data, intellectual property, employee details or information entrusted to you by third parties or end customers. Tugboat Logic has incorporated the principles of the ISO security policy and controls frameworks into its turnkey Virtual CISO Platform that help an organization define an ISMS (Information Security Management System). Organizations that claim to have adopted ISO/IEC 27001 can therefore be formally audited and certified compliant with the standard. ISO/IEC 27001 requires that management:

Defines the scope of a business process or unit and examines the information security risks, taking account of the threats, vulnerabilities, and business impacts using a risk assessment framework.
Designs and implements a unified and comprehensive suite of information security controls or other risk mitigation treatments (such as compensating controls or risk transfer) to address those risks that are deemed to be critical.
Adopts an overarching management process to ensure that the information security controls continue to meet the organization’s information security needs on an on-going basis.
Codify its ISMS into written and clearly communicated policies and procedures that is ever-green and accepted as an organization-wide system of record.

While ISO 27001 and its predecessors ISO 9001/2 have typically been the purview of large enterprises, it is now being adopted by much smaller organizations as a strategic asset for a company seeking to compete in a large regional or global marketplace. Since the focus is more on assessment, procedures, documentation, business process security and optimization - a smaller organization may find it easier to implement ISO 27001 versus SOC-2 where dogmatic obedience to extensive IT controls may not always be right-sized to the organizations services. ISO 27001 only needs to be renewed every three years versus every year for many other standards, so the costs of sustaining compliance over time can be lower , particularly for smaller enterprise where the nature of the business may not change over the long term.

The counterpoint is that ISO certifications can only be completed by a relatively small number of ISO-accredited auditors who must adhere to very prescribed audit procedures. ISO auditors are regularly audited by the ISO standards body itself and can have their charter revoked for failure to follow and document audit procedures. The cost of an ISO 27001 audit, then, is typically 2-4 times more than a SOC-2 audit.

Generally speaking, most enterprises will have some form of controls in place to manage information security. These controls are necessary as information is one of the most valuable assets that a business owns. If you are starting from a clean slate, ISO can provide an effective policy framework but not a definitive controls roadmap - which can be challenging for smaller businesses that would benefit from a clear how-to guide. If you have existing policies or processes and need assistance with control frameworks, adopting standards like the NIST CSF framework can be beneficial.  The key to success in developing an Information Security Program is to adopt a risk-based approach of assessing business impact of security, compliance, physical, reputational, and IT threats to the integrity of your organization. With that assessment adopting a comprehensive and focused set of controls to address those risks will ensure you have mitigating or compensating controls to protect your organizations key assets and stakeholders. In order for a controls framework to be effective it must be comprehensive in nature, consistent in application and competently implemented. 

How Can ISO 27001 Help My Business? 

The business benefits from ISO 27001 certification are numerous. The standards help ensure that a business’ security risks are managed cost-effectively, but the adherence to the recognized standards sends a valuable and important message to customers and business partners: this business can be trusted because it has strong governance. ISO 27001 is invaluable for monitoring, reviewing, and improving a company’s information security management system and will give partner organizations and customers greater confidence in the way they interact with your business.

Some of the benefits of ISO certification:

It provides a governance framework to ensure the fulfillment of commercial and contractual responsibilities
It provides a significant competitive advantage, and can be a license to trade with companies in certain regulated sectors ISO 27001 is the de facto international standard for Information Security Management
It conveys a clear commitment to security and compliance principles to employees, third parties and stakeholders
It provides a method of integration and operability between organizations or groups within an organization

Tugboat Logic Virtual CISO and ISO 27001 compliance

Tugboat Logic provides an information security system of records that unifies the building blocks of a robust governance and compliance program for your enterprise. The starting point is a policy management system that provides the foundation for ISO compliance. To understand what the journey toward ISO compliance looks like, clients can map their program to the ISO 27001 standard in the Tugboat Logic Certification Module. The Virtual CISO platform provides the tools and workflow that guide an organization from assessment, to controls scoping, implementation evidence gathering and repository all the way to audit-ready checklists to prepare for an ISO accreditation. Tugboat Logic works with leading ISO auditors and partners who will perform gap assessments, verification checks, remediation guidance and final prep and reporting for your official ISO certification. Let's get started here .

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