What is ISO 27001?

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ISO 27001
ISO 27001

ISO/IEC 27001:2005 covers all types of organizations (e.g. commercial enterprises, government agencies, not-for profit organizations). ISO/IEC 27001:2005 specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing, operating, monitoring, reviewing, maintaining and improving a documented Information Security Management System within the context of the organization’s overall business risks. It specifies requirements for the implementation of security controls customized to the needs of individual organizations or parts thereof.

ISO/IEC 27001:2005 is designed to ensure the selection of adequate and proportionate security controls that protect information assets and give confidence to interested parties.

ISO/IEC 27001:2005 is intended to be suitable for several different types of use, including the following:

§ use within organizations to formulate security requirements and objectives;
§ use within organizations as a way to ensure that security risks are cost effectively managed;
§ use within organizations to ensure compliance with laws and regulations;
§ use within an organization as a process framework for the implementation and management of controls to ensure that the specific security objectives of an organization are met;
§ definition of new information security management processes;
§ identification and clarification of existing information security management processes;
§ use by the management of organizations to determine the status of information security management activities;
§ use by the internal and external auditors of organizations to determine the degree of compliance with the policies, directives and standards adopted by an organization;
§ use by organizations to provide relevant information about information security policies, directives, standards and procedures to trading partners and other organizations with whom they interact for operational or commercial reasons;
§ implementation of business-enabling information security;
§ use by organizations to provide relevant information about information security to customers.

The process starts when the organization makes the decision to embark upon the exercise. Clearly, at this point, it is also important to ensure management commitment and then assign responsibilities for the project itself.

An organizational top level policy can then be developed and published. This can, and will normally, be supported by subordinate policies. The next stage is particularly critical: scoping. This will define which part(s) of the organization will be covered by the ISMS. Typically, it will define the location, assets and technology to be included.

At this stage a risk assessment will be undertaken, to determine the organization’s risk exposure/profile, and identify the best route to address this. The document produced will be the basis for the next stage, which will be the management of those risks. A part of this process will be selection of appropriate controls with respect to those outlined in the standard (and ISO27002), with the justification for each decision recorded in a Statement of Applicability (SOA). The controls themselves should then be implemented as appropriate.

The certification process itself can then be embarked upon via a suitable accredited third party.

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