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Listen to: "What is the Difference Between ISO 27001 and ISO 27002?"

Your organization relies on collecting, storing, transmitting and processing key pieces of customer data to help improve your relationship with customers while also increasing processes and profits for your company. Most customers understand this necessity and accept it, especially if it serves to make their communications and transactions with your company run smoothly. Valued clients do, however, expect privacy and that you and your IT team do all that you can to protect their data. 
Although there is a relationship between the ISO 27001 and ISO 27002 standards, they have completely different meanings regarding the IT industry and compliance. Understanding these differences can save you thousands of dollars and hours of headache in your internal audit efforts as well as in your compliance reports. Here are the major differences between the ISO 27001 and ISO 27002 standards that you should know. 

What Is ISO? 

ISO, or the International Organization of Standardization, works in conjunction with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to develop a set of standards that CIOs, IT managers and CCOs can use as a guideline in efforts to protect customer data. Along with a companion code of practice called ISO 27002, ISO 27001 lays out the technical specifications that are important to an information security management system (ISMS). 

Differences Between ISO 27001 and ISO 27002 

The ISO 2700 standards are broad by design. They cover privacy, cybersecurity, confidentiality and other IT and technical security issues.  Many people have asked why the two ISO standards have not been combined to form a single standard. After all, the detail that is in the ISO 27002 may actually bring some clarity and precision to the ISO 27001 management standard. However, the usability of each standard would actually fall if they were combined – the standard would be far too complex to use practically. 

The ISO 27000 series of standards were created individually with a separate focus for each one. For instance, the ISO 27001 standard was created specifically to help build an IT foundation for an organization. The detail of the ISO 27002 makes it much more useful if you are looking to implement certain controls. Risk treatment is better served by other standards within the ISO 27001 line. 

The ISO 27001 standard gives a company an actionable risk assessment for controls within a system. Using this standard, you can also determine the level to which the assessment should be applied. On the other hand, the ISO 27002 standard makes no distinctions between the controls that actually apply to a particular business. This is the only way that the ISO 27002 standard could be so detailed in its descriptions of each control. 

What Is ISO 27001? 

ISO 27001 is the international standard that lays out the details and best practices for an organization’s ISMS, which is critical to preventing controls from becoming disjointed and disorganized. Composed by the world’s top experts in information security, ISO 27001 offers a thorough methodology for the application and fulfillment of ISMS in an organization. The standard also allows companies to become certified, which confirms that your organization is fully compliant with the ISO 27001 standard. 

What is a Management System Standard? 

management standard is more concerned with how the people in a company run a system than with the compliance of any individual control within that system. Auditors understand that individual controls can break down with technical problems. However, the larger problems in IT occur when the management running that system decides to implement that system in a way that is completely untenable to modern standards. 

Individual controls are easy to fix because the rules of mechanics and physics only work a certain way. People can direct the system in virtually any way they want; therefore, the people running the system are the elements of the system that require a compliance check. 

Why Should Organizations Comply with ISO 27001? 

Generally, ISO 27001 certification helps prevent data breaches and system infiltrations, makes compliance with other industry regulations easier, and is a recognizable security attestation. Composed by the world’s top experts in information security, ISO 27001 offers a thorough methodology for the application and fulfillment of ISMS in an organization. The standard also allows companies to become certified, which confirms that your organization is fully compliant with the ISO 27001 standard. The key function of ISO 27001 is to support organizations’ efforts to manage the security of assets, particularly assets involving financial data, intellectual property, confidential employee information and third-party data, which might include private client information.  

What Types of Organizations Does ISO 27001 Apply to? 

They can be applied to organizations of all shapes and sizes. Every organization is encouraged to assess their specific information risks and then treat them in a way that best suits their individual needs. ISO 27001 can be adopted by and implemented in any type of organization, in any sector, including the following: 

  • Profit or non-profit, 
  • Governmental at federal, state, and local levels, 
  • Private firms of any size – small, medium, or global. 

What is the Latest Version of ISO 27001 Standards? 

The most recent version of ISO 27001 with significant changes was released in 2017, however, a new version is expected to be released in 2022. 

Related article: Are You Ready for ISO 27001:2022? 

What Are the Benefits of ISO 27001 for Your Organization? 

A readily available compendium of standards offers you and your organization many invaluable benefits to enjoy successful management and smooth daily operations, knowing that your confidential data is safe. There are several other specific benefits that you will recognize as you become familiar with this set of standards, including the following: 

  • Serves to keep confidential information secure 
  • Your ISO 27001 certification instantly relays the message to your stakeholders and other third parties that you have greatly reduced risk to data, generating and maintaining great confidence in your organization 
  • Peace of mind that your organization can take advantage of safe and secure channels for the exchange of ideas and information 
  • Assurance that you are consistently in compliance with various rules, laws, and regulations to meet your legal responsibilities and avoid worry during audits 
  • Helps you stay in compliance with specific regulations, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, to ensure you do not miss any amendments or other updates 
  • Affords you a competitive edge since many businesses seek companies that have received their ISO 27001 certification since it shows an active commitment toward the protection of data, which often leads to better client retention and good word-of-mouth in the industry. 

Can ISO 27001 Connect Privacy and Cybersecurity for Highly Effective Protection? 

ISO 27001 is the perfect tool to weave together the challenges of maintaining the privacy and implementing the measures set forth in cybersecurity to achieve the necessary protection for customer data. This management standard provides a general framework that helps to protect information relating to privacy. 

With ISO 27001, you will need to establish a set of security controls and objectives based on operations intended to handle risk management of private customer information. The great part is that this step provides you with a direct pathway to compliance for secured privacy. 

What Are the Challenges of Adopting and Maintaining ISO 27001? 

With so many benefits, you might wonder if — besides the ongoing costs — there are any challenges involved with adopting and maintaining ISO 27001. However, there are some challenges that you will face after you have convinced your executive board of ISO 27001’s many benefits, and a few of those challenges include the following: 

  • Defining the Scope. An otherwise simple initial step in the ISO 27001 process, organizations sometimes try to narrow the scope to decrease costs, making things more complicated than necessary. It is important to take a hard and candid look at your organization and fight for the broadest scope possible to protect your company’s valuable confidential information thoroughly. 
  • Performing Security Risk Assessments. Similar to an internal audit, these risk assessments prove challenging since you need to request additional staff to participate, pulling them from their regular duties to test the security controls, according to the most current ISO 27001 standards 

What Is ISO 27002? 

ISO 27002 is a guideline for organizational information security standards and best practices for information security management. Considering the business’s information security risk environments, ISO 27002 focuses on the organization’s selection, implementation, and management of controls. It is meant to be used as a guide, based on ISO 27001, for identifying appropriate security controls in implementing an ISMS. 

Ultimately, while ISO 27002 is more of a guideline to achieving best practices and has subtle differences from ISO 27001, it also serves to demonstrate the stability of your organization’s ISMS. The main difference is that ISO 27002 does not distinguish between controls applicable to your particular organization and those which are not. ISO 27002 is a reference for selecting security controls rather than a certification process. 

ISO 27002 is Not a Certified Standard. 

The misconception that ISO 27002 is a standard that a business can actually become certified to comes from people who believe that the ISO 27002 standard was simply reworked from ISO 17799. Although many IT professionals in the past would use ISO 27002 compliance as an internal standard, there has never been a professional certification that a business could receive according to that standard. 

In contrast, ISO 27001 is a certified standard. As a matter of fact, the ISO 27001 standard was developed because of the confusion that ISO 27002 caused in the industry. 

ISO 27002 is More Detailed. Why is it Not a Standard? 

Although ISO 27002 explains controls in much greater detail than ISO 27001, ISO 27001 is the only standard that defines the objectives and responsibilities of management. Because it is a company’s management that implements, monitors and reviews the information security that a business uses, only ISO 27001 can be used as a management standard. 

Related article: How to Ensure Your Team Is Meeting Compliance Controls & Processes. 

Want Help Preparing for Your ISO 27001 Risk Assessment? 

Do you want to show your partners and clients that you are serious about information security? I.S. Partners can help you set standards and obtain certification of your good practices. We ensure that you are ready for the process and that your audit is stress-free. Our experts can work with you to ensure that you understand what is required to obtain certification and keep your enterprise’s information safe. 

Ready to Get Certified and Stay Updated on ISO Standards? 

I.S. Partners regularly monitors updates to ISO 27001 standards. If you are looking to stay in compliance with the ISO 27001 standard, you need a firm that understands your organization’s IT systems, internal goals and external standards. Contact I.S. Partners to discuss your questions about standards and compliance. 

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