Implementing ISMS
Anthony Jones
Listen to: "Implementing an Information Security Management System That’s ISO 27001-Compliant"

No matter what business you are in, your company almost certainly has stewardship of valuable data. This information is subject to a greater range of threats than ever before and those threats continue to get more costly. According to the IDG publication CSO Online, the average cost of a cyber attack on a US enterprise-level business increased to $1.3 million in 2017. Many organizations are looking for ways to reduce their risk and determining the best way to weather a potential attack. Creating an Information Security Management System (ISMS) that is compliant with ISO 27001 offers one of the best protections to keep data safe.

Reasons to Seek ISO 27001 Certification

Data security is vital to businesses in nearly every industry, whether or not your core products involve IT. Keeping that data safe has a range of benefits, which include:

Avoiding the costs of data breaches.

Penalties, financial losses and loss of reputation can be costly for companies who suffer incursions.

Enhancing your reputation.

ISO 27001 Certification shows that you are dedicated to protecting your partners’ and your customers’ data.

Meet customer demands for higher levels of data security.

Both business and consumer customers are becoming more security savvy. Showing that you have their security in mind can help you win their trust.

Meet local, state and global security laws.

Laws like the European Union’s NIS Directive require that data be properly protected. Seeking certification can help you ensure that you are compliant and ready to do business anywhere in the world.

Get independent confirmation that your data is safe.

To achieve ISO 27001 Certification, you must have your system and controls independently audited. This audit can demonstrate whether your practices are sound and your data is safeguarded.

How to Put a Plan Into Place

Implementing an ISMS project involves a series of vital steps. At each juncture, you will work systematically to identify and address the threats that are most likely and the ones most likely to cost your business the most. While each organization’s systems and needs are different, the steps can be distilled down to the following:

Perform an analysis of your risk.

Creating a better system begins with assessing your current risks and where your current practices fall short. Take a look at the gap between your current information security practices and processes and what is required under ISO 27001 standards. Make an assessment of the capabilities and resources you need to bridge the gap and reduce your risk.

Decide on the scope of your ISMS.

Determine which assets require protection under your plan. There is no one correct answer when it comes to determining the scope of your ISMS. It is, however, important to be sure that you are not leaving valuable assets vulnerable to unexpected risks.

Create an information security policy.

The policy needs to be strong enough that it can protect your information, yet flexible enough to allow all participants to do the work that they need to do. Work across departments to ensure that everyone understands the reasons for policies and what is needed from them for proper implementation. A system that does not work for all participants is one that will leave people seeking workarounds that can leave you vulnerable.

Select the controls that will reduce your risk.

After determining your risk and discussing the ways to mitigate it, controls should be put into place. These controls should effectively cut the risk of incursions. Under ISO 27001, you will need to compare any controls that you put into place with the published best practices list. While seeking certification, you’ll need to make a Statement of Applicability (SoA) that addresses which controls you’ve applied and why you’ve either included or excluded it from your plan.

Create a risk treatment plan.

This plan addresses how you will address every risk that you identified during your risk assessment. It serves as a blueprint for reducing risk and addressing issues when they arise.

Create documentation and communicate it to your staff.

It is vital that all players understand what is expected from them. Creating clear documentation and training staff on the proper procedures can keep your organization safe.

Set up regular testing.

As organizations grow, their needs continue to change. Test your system and controls regularly to make sure that you remain safe and protected.

An effective ISMS requires ongoing nurturing. You may have changes in personnel, systems or clientele that will change your company’s security needs. By setting up a robust system now and maintaining a strong security culture, you can address your needs now and going forward.

Our skilled and experienced experts can provide the careful auditing you need to know that your system is secure and compliant with the latest standards. To learn more about how we help businesses like yours, call us at 215-675-1400, request a quote, or launch a live chat to start a conversation!

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