An information security management system (ISMS) is useful for effectively managing and protecting the valuable information assets of a business. No matter what the size or type of the organisation is, data privacy is always one of the fundamental concerns of their management. An ISMS is most effective when it is implemented following the international regulations enforced by the ISO 27001 certification. The ISO regulations help in formulating the most comprehensive and feasible ISMS with which an organisation can take care of the information concerning its processes, people, and stakeholders.

While securing your valuable information with an ISMS that meets the ISO 27001 requirements is the wisest decision ever, implementing it can be difficult. It needs to ensure risks to your information assets are averted, effective security controls are in place, and people are responsibly involved in following them.

Here are the 7 integral aspects that must be considered while developing your ISMS.

Resources for Creating ISMS

There is a need for a proper plan and resources to develop and structure the ISMS. Clearly, to develop the ISMS correctly and navigate its structure, you need a team of experienced information security personnel/managers. They can decide the resources, staff, time, and budget to form the ISMS. They should have enough knowledge of the ISO 27001 standard to make the ISMS compliant with its regulations.

Systems and Tools for ISMS Implementation

Implementing the ISMS across the organisation is another challenging story. An ISMS is only effective when it is able to integrate with all key processes and covers all information systems, hardware, software applications, or IT devices of the organisation. It should be comprehensive and also include the management of information systems or infrastructure of its suppliers.

Information Policies and Controls

Your ISMS must be based on certain actionable policies and controls which the staff, customers, and stakeholders of the organisations should follow to protect their information assets. Setting up appropriate policies and security controls is essential because they help in defining the scope of your ISMS. Besides, the steps for information security are clearer and more understandable to everyone when they come as policies. It is easier for them to act on them.

Staff Communication

An ISMS is a part of your centralised management system and every member should follow its defined controls. It is actively implemented and prevents risks only when staff understand their responsibilities. For uniform engagement of the staff in ISMS procedures and controls, proper communication is necessary. It is important to have open and consistent communication between different departments of the organisation.  With smooth communication, one team can make another team or staff aware of certain security practices, new controls, or any risks and can work on them together.

Supply Chain Management

An ISO certified ISMS extends beyond the information processes and systems of your organisation. It also covers the suppliers’ information systems and assesses them to ensure they too comply with ISO regulations. When suppliers’ data security is assured and any potential risk of an information breach outside the organisation is restricted, it makes your approach to information security more efficient.

Inspections and Audits for Certification Compliance

To make your ISMS completely purposeful by conforming to the ISO 27001 requirements, you need to perform frequent inspections or assessments. Also called internal audits, they are useful in finding any discrepancies in the system against the standard and also to spot any mistakes in its implementation process. The auditors can help in updating your ISMS to make it compliant as well as to ensure it covers all risks and security concerns of your organisation, staff, customers, and stakeholders. 

Ongoing ISMS maintenance

Successful implementation of your ISMS is not everything required for the information safety of your organisation. To make its approach effective in prevention of risks in the long run, you need to work for its ongoing maintenance. Your ISMS should be alert and consistent with the organisation’s growing security needs and challenges. You should hence review it at periodic intervals and upgrade it with new controls or policies to meet the evolving needs.

 

Without any of these seven crucial aspects, an ISMS cannot be really called helpful in protecting the information and integrity of an organisation. These are also imperative to achieve the ISO 27001 certification and sustain the certification afterwards. However, there is a need for a proactive management team and leadership that make the staff aware and responsible for implementing the ISMS. It is also the role of the management to make ISMS implementation successful by allocating resources, time, and budget.

Author's Bio: 

The author is the owner of an ISO certification consultancy in Australia that provides support to organisations in all essential ISO management certifications including ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and ISO 27001 certifications. He is a professional expert on ISO 27001 and uses his knowledge on Information Security Management System (ISMS) compliance for writing insightful blogs.

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