While data assets or information are valuable business assets, they need to be safeguarded to protect the integrity and brand reputation of the organization. They need to be protected because there are increasing instances of cybercrimes and data theft in the corporate sector. Besides, sudden data losses due to IT failure or infrastructure breakdown also common. For all these reasons, organizations need to have a strong information security management system (ISMS). Achieving the ISO 27001 certification is an important step an organization can take to ensure security of their vital information.


To get certified, organizations need to have their ISMS implemented and aligned according to the ISO 27001 standard’s requirements. The requirements aim at protecting all types of information including customer data, employee and stakeholder confidentiality, intellectual company’s assets, and financial data. However, how do you ensure that your organization’s ISMS conforms to all the requirements of the standard? Any nonconformity or ISMS failure can be easily discovered in the certification audit which can delay or even cancel your certification. Hence, it is essential that you try every possible way to ensure that there is no nonconformance in your ISMS. Here are some of the ways.


Having a Proper Risk Assessment System


To ensure that your ISMS is effectively managing all security risks, you need to have a proper risk monitoring process. Through it, you can identify the risks as they emerge and also later check to see if they have been managed and eliminated. A risk register or a formalized reporting process is ideal for identifying risks, knowing their nature (likelihood, consequences, etc.), and making evidence-based decisions to control them.


Training Staff is Essential


To get ready for the ISO 27001 certification, your organization should be able to ensure staff competency to handle their ISMS functions. Training is usually necessary to make staff competent with approaches like risks reporting, preventive or corrective actions, and continuous monitoring. In the training, you need to make staff aware of their job role or ISMS specifications that they should be handling. They should also be informed about the organization’s goals regarding their information security level.


Introducing regular and continuous training programs is also essential to make sure that employees are aware of the latest ISO 27001 information security guidelines. It also ensures that each new employee gets training and proper induction of the ISMS responsibilities of the organization.


Need for an ISMS Policy


Every organization that seeks the ISO 27001 standard certification needs to develop a specific policy or set of policies addressing their compliance requirements as well as information security objectives. The organization’s most experienced members from the management team with knowledge of information security should be forming the policies to match up with the expectations of employees, clients, and other stakeholders regarding privacy. They can consult with employees at various levels of the organization to seek opinions on the information security needs and include them in the policies. It is also essential that the policies should cover the external security needs of the organization i.e. protect information that is shared to or collected from third-party agents.


Internal Auditing helps Prevent Failures


There must be a way to record your ISMS failures, i.e. noncompliance issues and inconsistencies. Internal auditing by experienced assessors is a useful way to identify failures and non-conformances in your operational ISMS. An audit helps to record security risks, any incidents of close calls, and non-conformances in your organization while the ISMS is in place. Consequently, you can overcome them by implementing appropriate counteractive measures. An internal audit is hence useful to overcome nonconformities as well as to improve the overall efficiency of your ISMS. This helps to secure your organization’s reputation by preventing any close calls or information security thefts.


Every organization’s valuable information assets are at risks of being lost, misplaced, hacked or accessed by unauthorized members. An ISMS helps them to secure their data or information by implementing adequate security controls. By achieving the ISO 27001 certification, organizations can show that they have the most competent ISMS to protect their stakeholder privacy and maintain their reputation.  However, ensuring compliance with the world’s highest information security standard is a bit challenging. Adhering to these methods above is certainly going to help organizations to prevent any nonconformity in the final certification audit and get certified at one go.

Author's Bio: 

The author is the owner of an ISO certification consultancy that guides organizations through the process of ISO certifications including ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001 certification and many more. He is a specialized consultant of the ISO 27001 standard and likes to share his insights on information security management system for businesses.