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The international security standard – the ISO 27001

ISO 27001 and ISMS in companies

The international security standard – the ISO 27001

Companies and organizations that claim the security standard ISO 27001 deal in detail with the topic of information security. ISO 27001 stands for guidelines, measures and procedures that are intended to minimize existing risks and violations within IT. Although most companies are aware of the dangers in information technology, it is only through the implementation of ISO 27001 that disruptions caused by physical dangers, employee faults, processes, systems and cybercrime can be averted more effectively.

How is ISO 27001 defined?

In the normal working environment one will in most cases only find the designation ISO 27001, but the full designation is defined as ISO/IEC 27001: 2013 Information technology - Security procedures - Information security management systems - Requirements. ISO 27001 is part of the ISO/IEC 27000 series of standards, which deals with the topic of information security. Within this series, ISO 27001 deals with the physical, technical and legal risk measures that affect the security of data and information.

Why is ISO 27001 becoming more and more important for companies and organizations?

By protecting valuable information technology content, companies reduce the risk of a loss of image, fines and disruptions to day-to-day business. At the same time, the Information Security Management System (ISMS) can also be certified according to ISO 27001. The ISMS designates internal processes, rules and procedures that ensure information security and continuous improvement and allow management and control. For some sectors, ISO 27001 certification is an important part of the work activity, since some orders and especially tenders require certification. The certification demonstrates a certain standard of information security and compliance with it is defined as an objective.

What is an Information Security Management System (ISMS)?

With ISO 27001, companies and organizations do not achieve a fixed standard that only has to be implemented. The ISO 27001 is kept abstract and can therefore be applied to companies of any industry and any size. For this reason, no general procedure can be derived. The objective of ISO 27001 is not that a complete risk reduction is achieved, but that companies become aware of their existing risks, can evaluate them and thus minimize existing or emerging dangers. The ISMS and its effectiveness can be checked using key figures. The key figures must be defined individually so that individual areas can be evaluated and improved.

If one defines the protective goals of information security, they are broken down according to the so-called CIA principle (confidentiality, integrity, availability = confidentiality, integrity, availability).

The point of confidentiality is intended to ensure that only authorized persons have access to sensitive information. Integrity ensures the authenticity and reliability of all assets and availability ensures information can be made immediately available when needed.

Who should deal with an ISMS and introduce it if necessary?

Almost every company is obliged or has the right to protect data and information securely. Due to the adaptability of ISO 27001, internal requirements and security guidelines can also be defined for smaller companies.

The basis for every functioning ISMS is that the company has a precise overview of the existing information and can evaluate it with regard to a risk. This should be a high priority for any business as information leakage can cause financial damage and damage to image. In most cases, the latter is also associated with financial damage.

The management level of every company should always evaluate which risks could be minimized by an implemented ISMS in order to avert financial damage at the same time. Management's assessment should always depend on whether the company is software-heavy and how far the digitization of work processes has progressed. In particular, companies that have a high need for regulation (e.g. doctors, pharmacies, nursing services...) should comply with the minimum requirements of information security.

Can an ISMS according to ISO 27001 support internal data protection?

Data protection and information security must be viewed from two perspectives. Data protection is fundamentally aimed at protecting people and their data and information. Information security, on the other hand, should represent a protective function against corporate risks.

At the same time, however, there are also intersections between the areas of data protection and information security. As an example, the technical and organizational measures (TOM) are to be mentioned here, the implementation of which is prescribed by the GDPR. Data breaches and cyber attacks can result in personal data falling into the hands of unauthorized persons. In this example, data protection and the area of ​​information security are affected. From this point of view, it makes sense to plan the positions and staffing of the data protection officer and the information security officer precisely and to promote cooperation.

What advantages do companies get from an ISMS?

An ISMS naturally presents a company with an organizational challenge, but the new standards can also have effects that can give a company decisive advantages.

Cost savings

If an ISMS is used in a company, any risks that could have costly effects are minimized. An ISMS thus achieves proactive cost savings. At the same time, investments can be saved that would have flowed into unconsidered security technologies without an ISMS.

internal security

A practiced ISMS has the advantage that it can adapt to possible risks at short notice. This adaptability increases the company's resilience against attacks from third parties and secures data protection regulations.

practiced information security standards

If an ISMS is accepted and applied by the workforce, internal transparency is created. Employees can better assess risks and will also sharpen their focus on safety standards in this regard. The acceptance of the workforce is to be controlled by the management level, which should demand personal responsibility from each employee. Of course, the management team must set a good example here in order to set an example for the workforce in a new, positive and secure corporate culture.

ISO 27001 – do all regulations have to be complied with?

If ISO 27001 is issued by an accredited certification body, the company receives proof that signals to customers, partners and investors that information security is of great importance within the company. If the setup process of an ISMS has been completed, the regulations do not necessarily have to be complied with. At the same time, internal regulations and instructions can also be adapted. If you obtain certification according to ISO 27001, every company can show that it strives for information security both internally and externally.

What is regulated by ISO 27001 in companies?

ISO 27001 does not contain any specified details or standards. For this reason, there are no precise guidelines that a company must follow in order to meet the requirements of the certification. ISO 27001 only creates framework conditions so that a company can decide on appropriate security standards. The framework conditions are not precisely defined, since industries and types of companies differ too much within day-to-day business and individual security standards have to be set. ISO 27001 contains 114 measures that enable risks to be identified and dealt with. A risk assessment can be developed from these measures, from which internal protective measures can be derived.

What are the benefits of ISO 27001 certification?

If certification according to ISO 27001 is planned, this has the advantage that a functioning ISMS must be introduced in the first step, which minimizes risks in advance. At the same time, the certification according to ISO 27001 represents an internal certification, which ensures a high reputation in the public eye.

For this reason, the certification is often listed on company websites, as this gives business partners a certain level of security and shows that the company or organization attaches great importance to information security standards. In some cases, tenders can only be won with certification, and business partners are also paying more and more attention to information security, which is confirmed by certification. The image and the market value are increased by a certification and thus further business contacts can be made. In particular, building trust with a customer is a decisive competitive advantage that also has a financial impact. ISO 27001 creates a basis of trust towards customers and partners, but a company should not forget that the internal effect and thus the trust of the workforce is also significantly increased.

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