Deep Dives

Everything You Need to Know About ISO 27000 Standards

Unless you have been living under a rock, you'd have noticed that information security (infosec) is a major concern for companies of any size.

8.8 billion records were exposed in 1,767 publicly reported data breaches during the first six months of 2021. An average data breach costs organizations $4.24 million. Those involving remote working cost $1.07 million more than those that don't.

An illustration of a unlocked padlock with cash. The text reads: "An average breach costs organizations $4.24 million. Source:"

An average data breach costs organizations $4.24 million.

Data security is more critical than ever, with more business processes and transactions going digital since the pandemic. Remote working and the proliferation of mobile devices have significantly increased the attack surface through which criminals can infiltrate a corporate network.

Besides the cost of restoring lost data, a data breach can erode customer trust and tarnish your reputation. Not to mention, if you're in a highly regulated industry, you risk incurring jaw-dropping penalties.

But information security management is multi-faceted — how do you know you're covering all your bases?

The ISO 27000 family of standards is designed to help organizations strengthen their defense and meet compliance standards of various data privacy regulations.

Here's what you need to know about ISO 27000 compliance — find out why it's important, what it covers, how you can get ISO 27000 certified, and how to overcome compliance challenges.

What Is the ISO/IEC 27000 Family of Standards?

This series of information security management standards is developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC.)

The mutually supporting standards in the series can be combined to create a globally recognized framework and guide the implementation of information security management best practices.

At the core of the ISO 27000 family is the ISO 27001 standard, which describes the requirements for an information security management system (ISMS.) Then, the various standards focus on different aspects of data privacy. For example:

  • ISO/IEC 27004 covers monitoring, measurement, analysis, and evaluation.

  • ISO/IEC 27005 details requirements for information security risk management.

  • ISO/IEC 27006 outlines requirements for bodies that provide auditing and certification services.

  • ISO/IEC 27007 provides guidelines for ISO 27000 auditing.

  • ISO/IEC 27010 guides information security management for inter-sector and inter-organizational communications.

  • ISO/IEC 27014 details the governance of information security.

By selecting and following guidelines relevant to their businesses and sectors, ISO 27000 helps organizations meet regulatory requirements and demonstrate their commitment to protecting sensitive information.

The Benefits of Implementing ISO 27000 Standards

Here are some advantages of adhering to the ISO 27000 standards:

  • Comply with the law: The ISO 27000 certificate helps your organization comply with all data privacy laws (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS) to avoid hefty penalties.

  • Attract more customers: Clients consider the candidates' security posture when deciding which partner or vendor to work with or purchase from. An ISO 27000 certification helps you instill confidence and stand out from your competitors.

  • Improve your reputation: You can strengthen your reputation and build trust with prospects and customers by showing your commitment to protecting your customers' sensitive data.

  • Attract more talents: You can also gain the trust of your employees and attract more talents by showing that you're invested in protecting their information.

  • Prevent costly data breaches: Even without regulatory fines, a data breach is costly. Besides downtime and the expense associated with remedial actions (e.g., recovering data, paying for credit monitoring for those affected), you could suffer from bad press and loss of business.

What Do the ISO 27000 Standards Cover?

An infographic that lists the 14 Domains of ISO 27001. The listed domains are: information security policies, human resource security, access control, physical and environmental security, operations security, organization of information security, asset management, cryptography, system acquisition/development/maintenance, supplier relationships, communication security, business continuity management, compliance, information security incident management

The 14 Domains of ISO 27001

An ISO 27000-compliant ISMS must address these areas:

Risk Assessment

Determine the risks to your organizational assets through both a quantitative and qualitative assessment. You can identify gaps in your security posture and allocate resources strategically to achieve compliance.

Security Policy

Establish and document formal statements that define your organization's security expectations to guide the implementation of your information security strategy.

Asset Management

Evaluate your current inventory and classification of information assets so you know what needs to be protected.

Physical and Environmental Security

Strengthen the physical systems that protect the hardware hosting your network and data. These can include alarm systems, guards, office security, locked doors, keypads, CCTV, etc.

Assess Control

Restrict access to networks, systems, applications, and data while maintaining the confidentiality of access credentials to ensure that only authorized personnel can view, edit, or share sensitive information.

Human Resources Security

Ensure that security protocols are followed when employees join, move within, or leave your organization. For instance, you should revoke access to all systems and applications immediately when an employee leaves the company.

Business Continuity Management

Establish a plan to protect, maintain, and recover business-critical data, processes, and systems if a cybersecurity incident makes them unavailable.

Device Management

Enforce a process to guide the acquisition, development, and maintenance of information systems, for instance, by incorporating security protocols into devices and applications.

Incident Response Management

Plan out how your organization will respond to information security breaches. Various data privacy laws mandate a timely response, which can also help you contain the damages.

How To Get Your ISO 27000 Certification

ISO 27001 is the standard that details how an organization can become certified as compliant with any part of ISO 27000. It's a long process that involves internal and external stakeholders.

An infographic with the title "How To Get ISO 27001 Certified". The graphic displays the following steps: 1. Identify ISO 27000 standards pertinent to your business. 2. Hire a certification body to conduct a risk assessment of your ISMS. 3. Perform an in-depth audit to check your ISMS against all the components of ISO 27001. 4. Schedule follow-up audits to ensure ongoing compliance.

First, you need to understand the ISO 27000 standards in detail and identify those pertinent to your business. For example, if you use cloud computing, you should be familiar with ISO 27017 and ISO 27018.

Review your documented ISMS to make sure it fits all relevant controls in each section. Then, conduct a risk assessment using the guidelines in ISO 27005. You'll find out where your ISMS may fall short of the compliance requirements and which unmitigated risks can lead to the most severe consequences.

You must document your risk management process and how you plan to address each risk. Then, you can refer to ISO 27004 to plan how you'll continuously improve your ISMS to address evolving information security threats.

Now, you're ready for an ISO 27000 audit. Your auditor will conduct a preliminary review, and you have the chance to rectify any shortfalls before the final certification audit, which typically takes around six days for companies with fewer than 50 employees and 11 days for those with 500+ employees.

How To Overcome ISO 27000 Compliance Challenges

Many organizations find it challenging to achieve 27000 compliance because of its complexity.

  • The process requires numerous documentation, versions, reviews, and approvals. It takes a lot of time and resources to compile information to address the various domains.

  • You must coordinate, log, and complete many activities. You need to set up effective communication among all stakeholders and track the status of all the tasks.

  • Many tasks need to happen in parallel, and there's often a lot of questions from stakeholders regarding what needs to happen next. The team may run into confusion and suffer lost time without a comprehensive plan and clear instructions.

  • You need to compile data from dispersed sources, have it available at a centralized location, and ensure that it gives you the most current view of your ISMS.

  • Many stakeholders are involved, and they must collaborate seamlessly to achieve compliance (e.g., to protect HR records, you need to coordinate physical controls with the facility management department and data protection with the IT team.)

  • You must ensure that every end-user understands and adheres to your information security policy on all devices that they use to access your networks and systems on an ongoing basis.

The good news is that you're not alone, and you don't have to reinvent the wheel.

There are many compliance tools you can use to implement an ISO 27000-compliant ISMS. They offer an integrated approach to managing compliance standards — from project planning to maintenance and continuous improvement.

Choose a cloud-based platform so your team can access it anytime and from anywhere to respond to new documentation and tasks for faster turnaround times.

All the information should be available in a centralized repository that allows you to maintain the latest version of each document. Team members can retrieve relevant data from it to minimize errors, delays, and miscommunications.

The software should also offer online collaboration features so teams from across the organization can meet compliance requirements.

Get Everyone Onboard To Achieve ISO 27000 Compliance

ISO 27000 certification involves many moving parts and various stakeholders from different departments. Meanwhile, the proliferation of devices in today's work-from-anywhere environment makes the process more complex than ever.

Trying to strong-arm employees into following the rules through big-brother style monitoring is costly and ineffective.

To coordinate all the activities and maintain compliance, savvy companies are crowdsourcing security by involving end-users in their compliance effort.

But how?

They're using an application that guides employees and empowers them to correct mistakes in real-time through automated messaging via a trusted communication channel they already use.

With Kolide, you can configure your security policy based on the ISO 27000 standards you need to implement. Then, the software will message employees automatically via Slack when their Mac, Windows, or Linux devices aren't compliant with security best practices or policy.

You can communicate and help end-users comply with your organization's latest security guidelines without resorting to rigid management. Employees will also receive easy self-remediation steps so they can take action immediately.

Gaining the trust of your employees is a benefit of implementing ISO 27000 standards, so it's important not to ruin the goodwill by using a "dishonest" monitoring solution that makes end-users feel like the company is spying on them.

Unlike most endpoint security applications, Kolide offers an honest and transparent solution. We prioritize user privacy by informing them about the data collected from their devices and who can see the information. Employees can even view the complete source code of the agent running on the device.

Try Kolide for free and see how we can help you achieve and maintain ISO 27000 compliance.

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