ISO 27001 implementation may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these 10 simple steps to make the process easier and ensure your organisation meets the standard’s requirements.
ISO 27001 implementation can seem challenging, but organisations need to safeguard their information assets and demonstrate their commitment to security. In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide to ISO 27001 implementation in 10 easy-to-follow stages, covering everything from risk assessments to ongoing monitoring.
By following these simple ISO 27001 steps, organisations can achieve ISO 27001 certification and enhance their overall security management system.
1. Learn and Get Ready
Before you tackle ISO 27001 implementation, it’s crucial to get organised, set up your operations and prepare your team/stakeholders.
Compleye provides several materials to help you and your team get educated. It’s worth getting together to discuss some case studies, familiarise yourself with documentation requirements, and partake in expert consultation. This will help you get to grips with the intricacies of the framework and ensure a smooth transition into implementation.
2. Define the Context, Goals and Scope
The context, goals and scope of your organisation’s ISMS are the foundational pillars of ISO 27001 compliance. To define them, you should:
- Identify internal and external factors that impact your cybersecurity.
- Define your organisation’s security mission, vision and stakeholder needs.
- Assess your legal, regulatory and contractual obligations.
- Ensure security objectives align with general organisational goals.
- You can also benefit from Compleye’s X-Ray Session with one of our Lean Compliance Designers. During this session we dive into your Value Proposition exploring your product, services, data flows, your IP and high-risk suppliers – we visualize this in an X-Ray and will add that to your dashboard. Learn more about it in the Step 2 of our ISO 27001 DIY Roadmap.
This process will establish the foundation for targeted implementation, enabling effective resource allocation.
3. Assess your current state
Your risk assessment(s) will be the backbone of ISO 27001 implementation. A comprehensive understanding of potential threats will allow you to plan strategically and implement robust security measures.
You’ll need to identify your assets, assess their weaknesses where threats may originate, and categorise these risks according to their potential severity and impact on your organisation’s operation. If you need help getting started, check out our guide to ISO 27001 risk assessments here.
Remember, the landscape of cybersecurity is constantly evolving, so checking and updating your risk assessment, as well as conducting new ones, is vital to continued compliance.
Identify your risks, perform assessments for Suppliers, Data regulations, Information Security Risks, Business Continuity.
Evaluate and Prioritise the gaps and improvements.
Plan for the resources and time it will take to complete these improvements.
Execute the work.
Follow up regularly during implementation to check everything is going as planned and make adjustments.
4. Adopt your Policies & Procedures
Fifty-five percent of organisations say their compliance culture is based around a “Can we?” rather than “Should we?” attitude. This indicates a focus on building a more proactive and positive compliance culture, and that’s exactly what your management framework should facilitate.
After assessing your risks, you will need to adopt policies and procedures aligned with the threats that you want to mitigate. This includes, but is not limited to, the following topics:
- Information security policies
- Human resource security
- Asset management
- Access control
- Physical and environmental security
- Operations security
- Communications security
- System acquisition, development, and maintenance
- Supplier relationships
- Information security incident management
- Aspects of business continuity management
5. Implement Controls to Reduce Risks
Next, it’s time for one of the most important parts of ISO 27001 implementation.
Did you know that there’s a cyberattack every 39 seconds? These attacks are rarely exactly the same, and that’s why the standard references Annex A. This includes 114 potential controls that cover:
Controls are hidden in the policies & procedures and in the general requirements of the ISO27001 standard. Whether your chosen solutions are technical, procedural, or policy-based, involve key stakeholders and use your management framework to implement them. Regular reviews will ensure their effectiveness, and allow you to make adjustments.
The human factor cannot be ignored.
6. Security Awareness Training
ISO 27001 clause A.7.2.2 states:
“All employees and relevant contractors must receive appropriate awareness education and training to do their job well and securely. They must receive regular updates in organisational policies and procedures when they are changed too, along with a good understanding of the applicable legislation that affects them in the role.”
Your organisation will need to draw up training materials tailored to its specific needs, industry and environment. You can customise training to different roles, highlighting specific responsibilities within the ISMS.
Interactive sessions or e-learning modules enhance employee understanding. With regular reinforcement through workshops or updates, your organisation can sustain awareness, familiarise employees with new policies, and foster a culture of compliance.
Quizzes, assessments, surveys and practical exercises or simulations all help to evaluate the effectiveness of training and ensure its relevance. For more information on security data training, check out our overview here.
7. Measure, Monitor, and Review
ISO 27001 compliance isn’t a one-and-done type of thing. You’ll need to measure, monitor, and review throughout the implementation process and the life of your organisation.
Establish clear KPIs, like the ones we’ve shared here, to measure your progress and review your ISMS’s effectiveness.
Analyse the data these KPIs present to identify trends, vulnerabilities, and areas for improvement. You can implement corrective measures based on these findings.
Statistics show that 52 million data breaches occurred globally during the second quarter of the year. So, a dynamic cycle of measurement, monitoring, and review enables your organisation to address emerging threats and maintain a robust ISMS.
8. Management Review
The Management Review is a mandatory annual activity that must be documented. Top management must be included in the process.
The management review shall include consideration of:
a) The status of actions from previous management reviews;
b) Changes in external and internal issues that are relevant to the information security management system;
c) Feedback on the information security performance, including trends in:
- nonconformities and corrective actions;
2. monitoring and measurement results;
3. audit results; and
4. fulfillment of information security objectives;
d) Feedback from interested parties;
e) Results of risk assessment and status of risk treatment plan; and
f) Opportunities for continual improvement.
The outputs of the management review shall include decisions related to continual improvement opportunities and any needs for changes to the information security management system.
The organization shall retain documented information as evidence of the results of management reviews.
9. Conduct an Internal Audit
Before you welcome ISO’s auditors, you’ll need to conduct an internal audit, as outlined in clause 9.2.
Draw up an audit program
This should detail the frequency and timing of internal audits, the methods you’ll take to conduct these audits, and who is responsible for the audit documentation, including planning and reporting.
The individuals who conduct your internal audit must be impartial. They need to know the standard back to front, and they cannot audit controls they’ve selected or have operational control over. Your auditors should not be members of the implementation team or have any power to make changes after the audit.
Draw up an audit report
Internal auditors then need to report their findings during a regular management review. However, what changes come about as a result of the audit will fall to the compliance team. You’ll also need to retain the audit’s planning and reporting documentation.
Want Compleye to handle your internal audit? Great! We can’t wait to help.
10. Registration/Certification Audits
You’ve made it! This step marks the culmination of all your rigorous planning and implementation initiatives thus far.
Review your documentation and ISMS policies/procedures, make sure staff are up to date, stakeholders and management are informed of the process, address any outstanding nonconformities, and try not to get too nervous.
Collaborate with your external ISO auditor; clarify any queries they might have, show off your good work, and take note of any issues they unearth so you can rectify them promptly.
If this audit is successful, you’ll receive your ISO 27001 certification. But, that doesn’t mean the work is over. Embrace continuous compliance—it’s the key to mastering the auditing process. If you want to maintain your certification, there’ll be many more audits where that came from.
How Long and How Much Does It Take to Complete the ISO 27001 Steps?
How Long Will It Take to Get Certified?
Every organisation is different, so unfortunately, there’s no one answer to this question. On average, the process takes about 8-12 months. But, if you want to get it done in 6 months, then our ISO 27001 6-month program is exactly what you need.
How Much Will It Cost?
Again, it depends. Depending on the size of your organisation and the scope of your ISMS, we’ve found that an ISO 27001 certification can cost from €5000 up to €50,000. Check out our guide here for an in-depth cost breakdown.
Training, risk assessment, selecting and implementing relevant controls, updating documentation, conducting internal audits, and continuously reviewing your ISMS and making changes are critical to a successful ISO 27001 implementation.
With meticulous preparation, adherence to your framework, engaged stakeholders, and continuous monitoring, you can create a sustained commitment to information security in your organisation and check off these ISO 27001 steps.
Remember, in the world of security, it’s not just about meeting standards (although that’s definitely a necessity). It’s about building a culture that protects your organisation’s information. Your dedication to fortifying your ISMS is a commitment to a safe and prosperous future.