ISO/IEC 27001 Compliance Essentials

The ISO 27001 standard, also known as ISO/IEC 27001:2013 Information Security Management, centers on implementing and controlling an information security management system (ISMS).

A joint product of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Standards Organization (ISO), and the ISO 27001 is the most popular of over a dozen established standards in the ISO/IEC 27000 family. It is also the only member of the family against which an organization should be certified, with ISO 27002 and beyond as guidance and reference material for the significant standard.

Contrarily to some other frameworks and standards, demonstrating and achieving ISO 27001 compliance does not demand strict conformity to precise technical controls. Instead, the goal is risk management and taking a comprehensive and practical approach toward securing the entire organization.

You will discover over a dozen controls in the standards, but there is no assurance that all ISO 27001 certified organizations would have executed each of these controls. Instead, each organization will adopt a suitable part of these controls based on the particular risks to their business operations.

The ISO intentionally attempts to portray the ISO 27001 framework as an “information security” rather than cybersecurity. While several modern organizations’ information is made in a digital form, proprietary knowledge, policies and procedures, and buy-in from top leadership are less tangible assets that can negatively affect an organization if lost.

The policies, procedures, documentation, people, and controls expected to maintain an organization’s information’s integrity, confidentiality, and availability are referred to as an Information Security Management System (ISMS).

What Is ISO 27001 Compliance?

ISO 27001 contains a set of considerations, requirements, and evaluation measures for the information security controls adopted by an organization. Demonstrating compliance means having a living collection of documentation that explains and controls the entire information security policies, procedures, and practices.

What Is ISO 27001 Compliance Checklist

ISO 27001 contains management system clauses that must meet the ISO 27001 compliance checklist to get the certification.

The clauses help adapt and control an organization’s ISMS along with Annex A. However, not all “Annex A” controls are compulsory to be implemented ( a risk. assessment will determine which controls are required)

As briefly explained in detail, each clause will help to understand better what they entail.

Clause 1: Terms And Definitions

Information security – technologies, processes, and methodologies, used to maintain information integrity, confidentiality, and availability.

Confidentiality – property of the information that can be disclosed or accessed by authorized entities, persons, or processes.

Integrity – property of the system that is clear of error and complete.

Availability – property of the information that can be accessed and used only by the authorized processes and entities.

Information security management – management of the techniques related to identifying vulnerabilities that will put information at risk and effecting controls to handle the risks and protect the organization from them.

Risk – The Effect Of Uncertainty On Desired Outcomes.

Risk assessment (RA) – is the process that recognizes, analyzes, and measures risks.

Risk treatment plan – a set of technologies, procedures, and methodologies used to address the risks.

Residual risk – the value of the remaining risk after risk treatment.

Clause 2: Process Approach Impact

Only compliance is not a guarantee that a company can protect information. Instead, it has to use a process approach to make its information security management system effective, which controls and manages information security processes to produce value.

Clause 3: Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle

It is a norm for a business to change due to the influence of internal and external factors; the information security management system should be able to adjust and remain relevant.

Plan: Define controls, policies, and processes along with performing risk management to aid the delivery of information security exactly with the organization’s core goals.

Do – Implement and manage planned processes.

Check – monitoring, measuring, and reviewing results along with the information security policies and objectives to give room for improvements.

Act – performing authorized actions to be sure that the information security delivers the expected results and can be improved.

Clause 4: Context Of The Organization

The organization should track internal and external issues that may interrupt the ISMS’s objectives. It must assess parties interested in the ISMS and their needs and expectations. It should also evaluate the applicable legal and regulatory requirements and contractual obligations.

Clause 5: Leadership

The management’s commitment with proof of their involvement and objectives should align with strategic policies and the organization’s overall goal.

Clause 6: Planning

The organization must have an information security risk assessment process with defined information security risk and acceptance standards.

Clause 7: Support

The organization should make the employee competence, awareness, resources, and communication needed by the information security management system to aid the set objectives and make constant improvements.

Clause 8: Operation

The organization must plan, implement, and manage its processes and retain documented information to be sure that risks and opportunities are appropriately handled, security objectives are attained, and the information security requirements are met.

Clause 9: Performance Evaluation

The organization must establish and measure the performance metrics for an effective and efficient management system. It should carry out independent internal audits at scheduled periods. Top management review should also be conducted at regular intervals to be sure the information security management system is effective, adequate, and suitable to support information security.

Clause 10: Improvement

Continual improvement is an essential part of the information security management system that will help to ensure that information security is effective and adequate. Therefore, the PDCA cycle is highly recommended because it is beneficial within ISO 27001.


The ISO 27001 certification applies to organizations that want to formalize their business processes as regards information security and data privacy.

Any organization that deals with sensitive data, like customers’ personal or payment information, must be ISO 27001 compliant.

Organizations that will benefit from getting ISO 27001 certified are healthcare providers, information technology companies, financial institutions, telecom companies, and government agencies.

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