Key Takeaways

1. ISO 42001 establishes an AI Management System (AIMS) focusing on ethical AI, transparency, and trust, whereas NIST AI RMF manages AI risks and promotes ethical AI usage.

2. ISO 42001 guides organizations in ethical AI usage, transparency, and trust, whereas NIST AI RMF focuses on managing AI risks and promoting ethical AI development.

3. At I.S. Partners, we specialize in ISO/IEC 42001 and NIST AI RMF compliance, providing tailored solutions to meet stringent standards.

Which AI Standard Do You Need – ISO 42001 vs NIST AI RMF?

ISO 42001 is a global standard designed to establish, implement, maintain, and enhance an Artificial Intelligence Management System (AIMS) organizational setting. 

On the other hand, the NIST AI Risk Management Framework (AI RMF) is a voluntary program that organizations can use to handle the risks associated with artificial intelligence (AI) systems. It’s designed to ensure that AI is developed and used responsibly and with trustworthiness in mind.

nist ai rmf vs ISO 42001

The NIST AI RMF mainly aims to guide managing risks and considering ethics. Meanwhile, ISO 42001 provides guidelines for managing and integrating AI systems into an organization’s program.

When asked if implementing both frameworks would be beneficial for a single service organization, I.S. Partners’ Director of Cybersecurity Services has this to say, 

“Implementing both frameworks may be challenging, but it is feasible…There is an overlap between the two standards, so people, processes, and technologies applied to one framework would likely apply to the other. However, additional documentation (policies) would need to be created and maintained to ensure that idiosyncratic elements of the frameworks are documented.”
Ian Terry IS. Partners Ian Terry, Directory Cybersecurity Services, I.S. Partners

Overview of Differences Between ISO 42001 and NIST AI RMF

ParametersISO 42001NIST AI RMF
ObjectivesFocuses on managing AI, ensuring compliance transparency.Emphasizes risk management, ethical development, and trustworthiness of AI systems.
FocusAims to guide companies in fulfilling their AI-related roles responsibly.Assists in handling risks of AI and promoting ethical AI development across sectors.
Core of the FrameworkRevolves around risk assessment and management.Comprises Govern, Map, Measure, and Manage functions, facilitating a risk-aware culture.
Compliance ProcessISO 42001 compliance involves evaluating AI practices, creating a compliance plan, conducting AI risk assessment, implementing measures, addressing gaps, and preparing for certification audits.NIST AI RMF compliance requires familiarizing with the framework, assessing practices, identifying risks, developing strategies, implementing controls, and continuously monitoring systems.
Impact on Service OrganizationEmphasizes compliance with data protection laws and setting up security measures for competitive advantage.
Offers specific outcomes and actions to effectively manage AI risks.
Certification costCertification varies based on audit fees and system complexity.Compliance cost varies based on organization size and existing systems.
Implementation TimelineImplementation timeline varies based on company size and system complexity.Compliance can take 6 months to over a year, depending on readiness and resources.
Number of ControlsIncludes 39 Annex A controls covering various aspects of AI management.Focuses on four key functions under the “Core” and offers a Generative AI Profile.
ApplicationIt can be applied with other frameworks to enhance AI governance and risk management processes.Integrates with other AI risk frameworks, providing detailed guidance for developers.

ISO 42001 vs. NIST AI: Key Differences and Contrasts

While both ISO 42001 and NIST AI RMF aim to address AI-related risks and promote responsible AI usage, their primary focus and scope diverge. 

ISO 42001 is designed to guide organizations in establishing and maintaining an AIMS, focusing mainly on ethical AI, transparency, and trust in AI systems. 

On the other hand, the NIST AI RMF provides a framework specifically tailored to managing risks associated with AI systems.

Below, we further dissect the difference between the ISO 42001 and NIST AI RMF standards based on different parameters. 

  1. Objectives
  2. Focus
  3. Core of the Framework
  4. Compliance Process
  5. Certification
  6. Impact on Service Organizations
  7. Implementation Timeline
  8. Number of Controls
  9. Application


ISO 42001

The main intent of ISO 42001 is to assist companies in responsibly fulfilling their roles when using, developing, monitoring, or offering AI-related products or services. 

ISO 42001 tackles the distinct hurdles AI presents by integrating AIMS with existing organizational processes. This, in turn, promotes continuous improvement and alignment with international standards. So, the main goal is to ensure AI technologies are developed and used efficiently, ethically, and securely.

For example, let’s say you are a healthcare organization implementing an AI-driven diagnostic tool. ISO 42001 standards audit whether you are ensuring patient privacy and ethical use of sensitive medical data.


The NIST AI Risk Management Framework is intended to assist companies in handling AI-related risks and encouraging the ethical and dependable development and implementation of AI systems across all sectors, prioritizing individual rights and universality.

Moreover, the NIST AI RMF’s main aim is to help organizations create and use “trustworthy AI systems” — AI that is ethical, dependable, and in harmony with societal standards and principles. 


ISO 42001

ISO 42001 helps companies develop clear guidelines for protecting customer data in AI-powered applications and ensuring compliance with privacy regulations like GDPR.

The main focus of 1SO 42001 includes the following:

  • Providing a framework for managing AI
  • Integrating AI management systems into an existing one
  • Guaranteeing that AI systems adhere to relevant data protection laws
  • Setting up strong security protocols to safeguard AI systems from unauthorized access
  • Ensuring transparency in AI decision-making for trust and accountability


The primary focus of NIST AI RMF is risk management. Within the framework, the AI RMF Core offers specific outcomes and actions to facilitate dialogue, understanding, and activities to manage these risks.

Specifically, the draft AI RMF Generative AI Profile helps organizations pinpoint and address specific risks associated with generative AI technologies. It offers tailored recommendations and actions for managing these risks that align closely with the organization’s objectives and preferences.

Core of the Framework

ISO 42001

The core of the ISO 42001 framework is establishing, implementing, maintaining, and improving AI systems according to an AIMS and meeting the extensive requirements and controls. 

This standard prioritizes responsible AI use, development, and governance within your company, emphasizing ethics, transparency, and accountability in AI processes and decision-making.


nist ai rmf core

The heart of the NIST AI RMF consists of four key functions: GOVERN, MAP, MEASURE, and MANAGE. These functions help organizations tackle the threats posed by AI systems. 

GOVERN is essential across all phases of AI risk management, while MAP, MEASURE, and MANAGE are tailored to AI-specific settings and stages of the AI lifecycle. 

Below, we describe the core functions

  1. Govern

The GOVERN function establishes a risk-aware culture within organizations dealing with AI systems. It defines methods, processes, and plans to forecast, identify, and manage potential risks, especially those affecting users and society.

  1. Map

The MAP function sets the stage for understanding risks related to AI systems. It helps organizations identify and prevent negative risks while proactively developing reliable AI systems.

  1. Measure

The MEASURE function utilizes various tools and methods to analyze, assess, and monitor AI risks. It gathers relevant information from the MAP function to guide risk management efforts.

  1. Manage

The MANAGE function involves allocating resources to identified risks, as defined by the GOVERN function. It includes plans for responding to and recovering from incidents and communication strategies.

Compliance Process

ISO 42001

To implement ISO 42001, start by reviewing your AI management best practices in line with ISO requirements. The standard’s compliance process involves the following key actions:

  1. Evaluate Your AI Management Practices

Evaluate your current AI management practices to understand AI use cases in your business operations. Identify existing processes and the extent of AI integration.

  1. Formalize a Plan

Create a plan outlining the steps and resources needed to implement ISO standards within your company. This plan will guide your efforts toward achieving certification.

  1. Conducting a Risk Assessment

Assess your current practices against ISO 42001 requirements to identify areas needing improvement. This assessment helps pinpoint risks and areas for enhancement.

  1. Implement Risk Management Measures 

Develop strategies to mitigate identified risks. Implement controls, safeguards, or countermeasures to effectively reduce risk likelihood or impact.

  1. Address Gaps in your System

Focus on addressing identified gaps to align with ISO 42001 standards. Implement new processes, train employees, or update documentation as necessary.

  1. Develop a Tailored AIMS Framework 

Using the insights from the gap analysis, create a customized AIMS framework that aligns with your organization’s specific goals and objectives.

  1. Prepare for the Certification Audit

Once gaps are addressed, prepare for the certification audit. A certification body will verify that your management system meets ISO 42001 requirements, which will lead to certification.

To learn more about the certification process, reach out to I.S. Partners. Our expert audit team will assess your needs and devise the fastest route to certification.

Compliance questions? Get answers!

Book a free 30-minute consultation with a specialist to find your path to compliance. Secure your spot today.



Compliance with the NIST AI RMF begins with a deep-dive analysis of the framework’s goals. However, there are other important steps involved, and they are:

  1. Familiarize Yourself with the Framework

Begin by studying the NIST AI RMF documentation, including the framework itself and any associated guidance or resources provided by NIST.

  1. Assess Your Current Practices

Evaluate your organization’s current AI management practices and processes to identify areas that align with the NIST AI RMF and may need improvement.

  1. Identify Risks

Conduct a risk assessment to identify potential risks associated with AI implementations in your organization. This may include risks related to data privacy, security breaches, bias, or other ethical concerns.

  1. Develop Risk Management Strategies

Once you’ve identified the risks, develop strategies to mitigate or manage them in the best possible way. This may involve implementing technical controls, policies, or other measures to reduce the impact of risks.

  1. Implement Controls

Implement the risk management strategies developed in the previous step. Now, integrate them into your company’s responsible AI development, deployment, and monitoring processes.

  1. Monitor and Review

Continuously monitor your AI systems and practices to identify any new risks or emerging threats. Regularly review your risk management strategies to ensure they remain effective and up-to-date.


ISO 42001

The certification process includes on-site and off-site audits, culminating in a final report. Upon successful completion of earlier stages, a Technical Committee reviews the certification and issues a certificate of conformity.

This certificate remains valid for three years and can be renewed after that. The ISO 42001 certification is recognized internationally.


The NIST AI RMF is a voluntary framework applied in the United States of America that is aimed at helping companies manage risks associated with AI usage. Designed to complement existing risk management frameworks, it’s a dynamic document expected to adapt alongside advancements in AI technology.

Impact on Service Organizations

ISO 42001

When service organizations integrate ISO 42001 into their governance structures, they ensure their AI systems are reliable, fair, and transparent throughout their lifecycle. This reduces risks, encourages innovation, and builds trust with key interested parties.

Moreover, compliance with ISO 42001 promotes global interoperability and harmonization of AI management practices. Any company that adheres to the standard can collaborate more easily across borders and share knowledge globally.


The NIST RMF significantly impacts service organizations, including businesses, government agencies, and other entities. It’s a framework that helps these organizations protect what matters most: their people, their data, and their operations. 

It gives them the flexibility to tailor their cybersecurity efforts to fit their unique needs and challenges so they can stay one step ahead of cyber threats.

For service organizations especially, it means having a roadmap for identifying and managing cybersecurity risks in a way that makes sense for them. 

Implementation Timeline

ISO 42001

The timeline varies significantly based on your company’s size and the complexity of your existing information technology systems.


Achieving NIST AI RMF compliance can take anywhere from 6 months to over a year, depending on the organization’s readiness and resources.

With a core focus on ISO and NIST AI RMF compliance, I.S. Partners offers services led by our dedicated experts. With over 20 years of experience in the compliance industry, I.S. Partners has perfected the optimal compliance route for different businesses.  

Let us handle the complexities of AI management system standards for you with tailored solutions and ongoing support.

Number of Controls

ISO 42001

The latest draft of ISO 42001 includes 39 Annex A controls. These controls cover various aspects, such as AI policies for responsible use and internal organization roles and responsibilities.

The 39 controls are designed as guidelines to ensure the responsible deployment, monitoring, and continuous improvement of AI technologies. These are not mandatory controls, but it is good practice to set standards using artificial intelligence systems.

Here’s the list of controls you can implement:

ISO 42001 Annex A Control A.2AI-Related Policies
ISO 42001 Annex A Control A.3Organizational Structure
ISO 42001 Annex A Control A.4AI Resource Allocation
ISO 42001 Annex A Control A.5Evaluating AI System Impacts
ISO 42001 Annex A Control A.6AI System Lifecycle Management
ISO 42001 Annex A Control A.7AI Data Management
ISO 42001 Annex A Control A.8Stakeholder Information
ISO 42001 Annex A Control A.9AI System Utilization
ISO 42001 Annex A Control A.10Third-Party and Client Relations

For example, the main goal of Annex A Control A.2 is to create a structured framework for AI governance. It stresses the need for a thorough AI policy to guide AI systems’ development, deployment, and use. This policy is a guidebook for responsible AI governance, highlighting the company’s ethical, transparent, and value-aligned use of AI technologies.


The NIST AI RMF does not have controls per se but is governed by four main functions under “Core.” They are:

  • Govern
  • Map
  • Measure
  • Manage

As a bonus, the AI RMF Generative AI Profile outlines 12 specific risks and provides over 400 actions for developers to manage these risks successfully.


ISO 42001

ISO 42001, with its approach to AI management, can be applied with other frameworks to enhance AI governance and risk management practices. For example, it aligns well with existing AI governance frameworks like NIST AI RMF, OECD AI Policy Observatory, and the European Union AI Act.


The NIST AI RMF is a voluntary standard built to integrate with other AI risk and trustworthy AI frameworks, such as those developed by the OECD AI Policy Observatory, the EU AI Act, ISO/IEC 23894, and the White House Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights. 

However, what sets the AI RMF apart is its detailed and voluntary guidance tailored specifically for developers and users of AI systems.

At I.S. Partners, we specialize in assisting businesses like yours with ISO 42001 and NIST AI RMF standards compliance. Our experienced team conducts a detailed assessment of your requirements to identify any areas for improvement. 

We then collaborate with you to implement tailored solutions so that your company meets the requirements of related standards. Contact us now to start your compliance journey with confidence.

I.S. Partners Is One Step Ahead of  AI Compliance – ISO 42001 and NIST AI RMF!

ISO 42001 and NIST AI RMF are key standards for AI security, both with the aim to ensure ethical AI use and strong security measures. Both ISO 42001 and NIST AI RMF require you to perform regular audits and reassessments, wherein the need for ongoing compliance efforts is strong. 

At I.S. Partners, we offer services tailored to ISO and NIST standards, with dedicated experts guiding you through every phase. With nearly 20 years of experience, our full U.S.-based team begins the process with a thorough assessment of your AIMS or RMF, pinpointing any existing gaps through detailed analysis. 

Our company has a dedicated team of experts on ISO and NIST compliance. We ensure that all auditing steps are performed personally by our team members without outsourcing

Our goal is to bolster your security measures and ensure regulatory compliance in the long run. 

Curious about our approach to AI compliance? Reach out to us to learn more about how our experts can assist you.


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