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ISO 27001 guide for beginners

Over 35,000 organisations across the globe are ISO 27001 certified, ensuring their information security management systems (ISMS) provide robust, compliance data protection for their business and their customers. ISO 27001 helps organisations demonstrate their proactive stance on information security, and our ISO 27001 guide can help you get started.

Irish organisations with ISO 27001 certification can meet many of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements. Implementing an ISMS helps businesses examine their people, technology and processes to protect intellectual property, customer data and business-critical information systems.

Aside from protecting sensitive information and data, an ISO 27001 certification means your information security is managed with real-time detection of security breaches and reduces the risk of cyber attacks such as ransomware or social engineering attacks such as phishing. It fosters secure network access, such as using two-factor authentication (2FA) and installing firewalls and network intrusion monitoring systems.

Find out more about our ISO 27001 certification service and achieving certification through an internationally accredited certification body.

Guide to ISO 27001

ISO 27001 certification

What is ISO 27001 certification?

ISO 27001 is a standard created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It is defined as the preservation of confidentiality, integrity and availability of information within an organisation. 

It focuses on an organisation’s information security management system, reducing security risks and ensuring data is processed securely and in compliance with the standard’s specification.

The aim of ISO 27001 is to help organisations create, operate and continuously improve an efficient ISMS. An ISMS is a framework of controls and procedures that cover technology, processes and people involved in capturing, processing and storing data and information. Central to an ISMS is a risk management approach, where information security risks are identified, and effective controls are implemented to manage those risks.

Implementing an ISMS includes conducting a risk assessment, reviewing and implementing controls, creating and maintaining documentation and training employees in security awareness. An ISMS should be regularly reviewed, monitored, audited and improved.

Read our ISO FAQ guide to learn more.

Why do you need an ISO 27001 certified ISMS?

Information security is essential to any organisation’s processing, storing and transferring of data, whether it’s customer data or sensitive business information.

GDPR requires organisations to take the necessary measures, both technical and organisational, to make sure there’s a high degree of information security. With an ISO 27001 certified ISMS, your organisation has a transparent management system for implementing, maintaining and monitoring information security and identifying areas prone to risks and improving them.

Find out more about demonstrating GDPR compliance with our guide.

Your organisation, customers, and supply chain can rest assured that you’re doing everything possible to keep information and data safe and secure.

Guide to the benefits of ISO 27001

If you’re wondering whether you should certify your ISMS to ISO 27001, discover some of the benefits it can bring with our ISO 27001 guide.

ISO 27001 implementation guide

Improved security and reduced risk of cyber attacks

A structured and maintained ISMS can help improve information security and prevent cyber threats and attacks from being successful. With an ISMS, you’ll be able to identify security holes in your system and resolve them before cybercriminals target them. It can help reduce the likelihood of threats evolving further.

Read our guide on how to protect your business from cybercrime and download our ISO 27001 implementation guide and ISO 27001 case study showing how Blacknight achieved certification.

Improved business reputation

Achieving ISO 27001 certification can help improve your reputation as a business. It demonstrates the importance of information security in your organisation and can attract stakeholders, suppliers, new employees and customers. The certification may also help win tenders and new clients, giving you a competitive edge over other businesses lacking certification.

Demonstrates compliance

In line with GDPR, your organisation must comply with the measures required to ensure information security. By complying with the data protection requirements, you can avoid costly fines that may result from non-compliance. For more guidance on GDPR, read our guide to demonstrating GDPR compliance.

Protection across the organisation and customers

A compliant, ISO 27001-certified ISMS can offer protection across your organisation and customers. It can reduce threats to technology that may leak business information or client data.

Encourages quality assurance

With an ISMS implemented, your information security should be of a high standard. As the framework is subject to quality checks and risk assessments, any issues would be identified early, maintaining a high level of security.

Enforces a positive work culture

Maintaining a secure and effective ISMS can help improve workplace culture and encourage best practices across information security and other areas of the organisation. Employees will learn to identify risks and incorporate methods to create a holistic approach to information security, reducing the risk of human error resulting in a security breach.

ISO 27001 certification process guide

When choosing to become certified to ISO 27001, the initial assessment or audit, is split into two stages: 

Stage One Assessment:  

A high-level review will be conducted on the requirements of the standard. Documented conclusions regarding the fulfilment of the Stage One objectives and the readiness for Stage Two shall be communicated throughout the assessment process. 

The Assessor will identify at this point any areas of concern that could be classified as a non-conformity during Stage Two.

We recommend a minimum of 8 weeks between Stage One and Stage Two assessment, but no more than 6 months. If the Stage Two assessment does not occur within 6-months, you may have to start the process again and can be discussed with your Certification Body.

Stage Two Assessment: 

The second part of the assessment will be a more in-depth analysis of the certification assessment, determining if the organisation will be successfully certified to the ISO standard of choice. The Stage Two Assessment can only be completed once all major non-conformances have been corrected from the initial Stage One Assessment. The Stage Two Assessment will follow the same format as the Stage One Assessment regarding the open and closing meeting and a pre-assessment plan being sent out beforehand.

When the Stage Two Assessment is completed, if any Major Non-Conformances or Minor Non-Conformances arises, the following steps will need to be taken

  • Minor Non-conformance: a suggested plan of action and timeline will need to be submitted to the Assessor. The plan and timeline will need to be accepted by the Assessor before moving forth with a decision on certification being granted being made
  • Major Non-conformances: These will need to be resolved within 30 days of the completion of the Stage Two Assessment. 

For more in-depth information on the process of becoming certified, reach out to a member of Certification Europe’s Sales Team to request a copy of our “Journey to Certification” document. 

ISO 27001 guide
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Holly Fitzpatrick

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