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ISO 27001 certification – is it worthy of your time and hard work?

Article: Data Security

ISO 27001 certification – is it worthy of your time and hard work?

In the age of heinous data breaches, data privacy is a serious concern of every organization. The personal information we give away every second knowingly or unknowingly has a huge value for those who need. In the age of digital disruption, lack of data security can lead to hefty consequences in terms of company reputation as well as financial meltdown for the burden of heavy fine, thanks to the new EU data privacy regulation named GDPR. Organizations should have some form of controls in place to manage data security. These controls are necessary as information is one of the most valuable assets that a business owns.

ISO 27001 is about information, and managing the risks and threats that can affect its confidentiality, integrity and availability. If you think, only big companies have the risk of data theft, think again. Small companies are equally affected by it.ISO 27001 is applicable to all organizations regardless of their type and size.

However, the effectiveness of such a policy is determined by how well these controls are organized and monitored.The ISO 27001 standard offers a well-known framework to implement industry best practices in areas such as security incident management and physical security.

But how does it make any difference? Let's find out.

In a competitive industry, organizations that take data security and consumer's privacy seriously are more trustworthy than those who don't. Being certified for ISO 27001 enhances your value proposition. It can provide a unique point of differentiation between you and your competitors.

Being compliant to ISO 27001 can increase the credibility of your company in the following ways:

  1. ISO27001 provides a methodology for identifying threats and vulnerabilities that may lead to security risk. With the proper security controls in check, the risks can be prevented from occurring and mitigated at the beginning.
  2. Being complied to ISO27001 shows that you have a proactive approach towards information security risks and your organization has adopted the best practices to minimize threats.
  3. ISO 27001 compliance is a major entry requirement to access global market. As information security is a primary concern now, clients demand to see the evidence if the company is imbibing the best practices. ISO 27001 certification demonstrates credibility when tendering for contracts and can make the difference between winning and losing tenders.
  4. ISO 27001 is the accepted global benchmark for the effective management of information assets, enabling organisations to avoid costly penalties due to non-compliance with data protection requirements and financial losses due to data breaches. With the enforcement of GDPR, the penalty of data breach is 20,000,000 Euros or 4% of Global Turnover - whichever is greater, can bring a company to its knees. Though, GDPR compliance is a different issue all together.
  5. Initially, being compliant to ISO27001 may seem to be expensive but in the long run, it might prove to be the most profitable investment when incidents occur less frequently and when you can reduce expenses to resolve those incidents.
  6. Implementation also allows organisations to provide informed decisions based upon risk management and the continuous improvement cycle.
  7. Implementation of the latest version of the standard, ISO 27001: 2013, ensures C-level corporate governance through an automatic integration of all other standards, such as Business Continuity Management ISO 22301, IT Service Management (ISO 20000-1), Quality Management (ISO 9001) and Environmental Management (ISO 14001). Because of the similarity in their structures, managers can adapt a system of integrated procedures based upon the standards, thus saving time and financial costs.
  8. The standard also ensures data integrity with the help of its access control, data backup and data organisation procedures. This allows the separation of affected data from the rest and rectifying it in the instance of a security breach.
  9. It reduces the need for frequent audits. ISO 27001 compliance removes the hassle of completing in-depth security questionnaires and responding to auditors for every new client.ISO 27001 certification provides a globally accepted indication of security effectiveness, negating the need for repeated customer audits, which reduces the number of external customer audit days.
  10. Certification to ISO 27001 involves undertaking regular reviews and internal audits of the ISMS to ensure its continual improvement. With ISO27001, companies need to upgrade their Information Security Management System (ISMS) to ensure its sustainability, adequacy and effectiveness. This continual improvement allows the company to cope up with the ever changing dynamics of various cyber threats.

For organizations that hold personal data of the clients, maintaining data privacy and integrity should be treated as the top most priority. While implementing the process, companies often face problems in defining the roles and responsibilities to protectinformation assets. Going for ISO 27001 compliance automatically makes it easy for the organization to define roles and responsibilities. Who will make the decisions, who will hold the responsibility for information assets and who will be in charge of authorising access to information will be clearly defined in the ISMS. And this will be helpful to create a secured organizational culture that is conscious of information security. And lastly, ISO 27001 is very much worthy of all the hard work and time invested.

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