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ISO/IEC 27001

What Is ISO/IEC 27001?

ISO/IEC 27001 refers to a worldwide information security management standard. It was originally put into force by the International Standardization Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The purpose of ISO/IEC 27001 is to streamline the process of managing and securing digital assets, such as intellectual property, financial data, and employee information.

An organization that strives to implement ISO/IEC 27001 can invest less time in figuring out how to protect its network assets because the standards outline both security objectives and the tools needed to achieve them. Companies can also benefit from ISO/IEC 27001 by achieving certification from the International Organization for Standardization. Once they have earned this laurel, they can publicize their certification on their website and company marketing collateral, garnering the respect of other organizations, investors, and important stakeholders.

Understanding Information Security Management System (ISMS)

An information security management system (ISMS) consists of what is known as the ISO 27001 framework, which is built to make sure an organization’s important data and digital systems remain secure. An ISMS accomplishes this by outlining security policies, procedures, and controls built to protect data and keep it accessible—but only by qualified individuals.

You can think of an ISMS as a detailed manual that guides your organization as it secures its data. But in addition to describing the technical tools and procedures needed to protect digital assets, it also includes strategies for keeping employees informed regarding how they can play a role in keeping your organization secure.

Evolution of ISE/IEC 27001

The International Standardization Organization was established in 1947. Since then, it has helped many businesses, governments, customers, and even developing countries to establish and maintain effective and secure business systems. In 1993, the ISO/IEC 27001 started to focus on information security by forming a working group charged with discovering effective and efficient ways of protecting digital systems and information. What eventually matured into ISO/IEC 27001:2005 has its roots in this early working group.

However, as the years passed, various elements have been added to the ISO/IEC 27001 portfolio, such as:

  1. ISO 27005:2008 – Guide for Risk Management 
  2. ISO 27006:2007 – International Accreditation Requirements
  3. ISO 27007 – Guidelines for Information Security Management Systems Auditing
  4. ISO 27011:2008 – Information Security Management Guidelines for Telecommunications

Each of these iterations, as their names indicate, includes guidelines that target specific objectives or business sectors, such as telecommunications. The most recent iteration of ISO standards is ISO/IEC 27001:2013, which was also amended in 2017.

How Does ISO/IEC 27001 Ensure Data Protection?

By offering certified companies a set of internationally acclaimed standards adapted to match the distinctive structure and function of each organization, ISO 27001 enables enterprises to better secure their information and systems. These guidelines establish effective risk management techniques and guidelines for assigning data protection duties across the organization. They also establish specific security objectives so that the company can continuously monitor and improve its data protection over time.

Additionally, ISO 270001 incorporates regular risk analysis assessments to make sure that any changes made to the organization's systems will continue to support its information security. In this way, ISO/IEC 27001 serves as a “true north,” something companies can continually refer to as they try to keep their information as safe as possible.

ISO 27001 Audit Control for a Compliant ISMS

A company that wants to align its data security with ISO/IEC 27001, can develop a straightforward ISO 27001 compliance checklist built on specific audit controls. These controls segment the overall job of securing the organization into 14 different domains. By breaking down the general security of its assets into the following 14 domains, an organization can attack each element, one by one, making sure they do not overlook any critical systems or data. The 14 domains include:

  1. Information security policies          
  2. Organization of information security
  3. Human resource security   
  4. Asset management
  5. Access control         
  6. Cryptography
  7. Physical and environmental security       
  8. Operations security
  9. System acquisition development and maintenance
  10. Supplier relationships         
  11. Information security incident management
  12.  Information security aspects of business continuity management      
  13. Compliance

Business Benefits of ISO/IEC 27001

ISO/IEC 27001 accreditation provides a foundation for putting legal and internal compliance requirements into effect. These standards then serve as security controls and benchmarks that the company can use to tighten its security practices and culture. Furthermore, once ISO/IEC 27001 has been fully implemented, an organization can inform others, earning their confidence in how the enterprise safeguards sensitive data and systems.

Also, an ISO/IEC 27001 certificate can give you a competitive advantage. Not all businesses can achieve ISO 27001 certification. People looking to do business with your company understand that they can enjoy a decreased risk of information security failures if they do business with companies that emphasize conformance with the ISO/IEC 27001 standard. Also, because security incidents connected with lax security procedures can be very expensive, ISO/IEC 27001 conformance can save your company considerable money when it comes to the cost of mitigating security issues.

You also minimize the risk of legal liability in connection with data breaches. Further, you can lower your information security insurance premiums by demonstrating to insurance companies that you have these ISO/IEC 27001 standards in place.

Importance of ISO 27001 Certification

Some industries may benefit more from the requirements of ISO 27001 than others. For instance, ISO compliance has greater benefit for the following business sectors because they frequently deal with sensitive financial information:

  • Insurance companies
  • Banks
  • Financial institutions
  • Brokerages, serve as the intermediaries between customers and financial institutions or facilitate transactions

The most crucial activities when implementing ISO 27001 include:

  1. Scoping your ISMS (clause 4.3), which is when you define the information you need to protect.
  2. Defining a risk management system and performing a risk assessment (clause 6.12),  where you pinpoint the threats most likely to impact your sensitive information.

According to, organizations also need to complete several mandatory clauses, including:

  1. Information security policy and objectives (clauses 5.2 and 6.2)
  2. Information risk treatment process (clause 6.1.3)
  3. Risk treatment plan (clauses 6.1.3 e and 6.2)
  4. Risk assessment report (clause 8.2)
  5. Records of training, skills, experience, and qualifications (clause 7.2)
  6. Monitoring and measurement results (clause 9.1)
  7. Internal audit program (clause 9.2)
  8. Results of internal audits (clause 9.2)
  9. Results of corrective actions (clause 10.1)

ISO/IEC 27001 Compliance Checklist

To make it easier for you to achieve ISO 27001 compliance, here is a brief checklist:

1. Specify the Scope of Your ISMS

Recognize the different controls and decide which ones you need to put in place to create an effective ISMS and achieve ISO 27001 compliance. To identify insufficient controls, make sure everyone first understands the organization’s unique business environment. Then dive in to figuring out the company’s risk landscape and perform a gap analysis, which identifies security holes and vulnerabilities that need to be addressed.

2. Clearly Outline the Risk Assessment Process

To determine the risks that your organization faces, their possible effects, and their likelihood, it is essential to conduct an organized ISO 27001 risk assessment. This helps define your acceptable risk thresholds, develop attack-based scenarios, and understand the methods and objectives of hackers. Before performing your risk assessment, be sure your process includes all enterprise stakeholders and can be done consistently every year.

3. Make Sure Executives Set the Tone

To deploy an ISMS and achieve ISO 27001 compliance, you need the support of senior management. Top management should be ready to provide the project's funding and resources. They should also be personally involved in frequently assessing the ISMS to ensure it continues to adhere to ISO 27001 criteria.

4. Design an Information Security Policy (ISP)

An ISP, which does the same thing as an ISMS, outlines the fundamental standards for information security. It should describe all information security guidelines and practices, identify the advantages of your security strategy, and specify who will be responsible for putting the policy into effect.

5. Write Out Your Statement of Applicability (SoA)

To determine which ISO 27001 controls apply, you need a statement of applicability. Your risk assessment should determine which controls to employ. Your SoA should detail your implementation strategy and include a list of all applicable security controls. For example, you would want to outline the kinds of encryption your human resources department will use when transmitting sensitive employee information to a third party.

6. Create Your Risk Management Strategy

You should design a procedure for risk management after completing your risk assessment. The goal is to use the ISO/IEC 27001 Annex A controls to reduce unacceptable risks, such as those that could expose sensitive data to attackers that try to hack data storage devices. Your implementation plan also specifies who will implement the controls, when they will be implemented, and how.

How Fortinet Can Help

The Fortinet FortiGate Next-Generation Firewall is a powerful information security tool for any company trying to conform to ISO/IEC 27001 standards. FortiGate secures your digital assets by performing packet inspections on data coming into and leaving your organization’s network. In this way, FortiGate can detect malware designed to steal data or infect assets on your network.


What does ISO/IEC 27001 stand for?

ISO/IEC 27001 stands for the International Standardization Organization and the International Electrotechnical Commission’s 27001 security standards.

What are the ISO/IEC 27001 controls?

ISO/IEC 27001 controls are designed to streamline the process of managing and securing digital assets, such as intellectual property, financial data, and employee information.

What are the six domains of ISO/IEC 27001?

The six domains of ISO/IEC 27001 are:

1.         Company security policy

2.         Asset management

3.         Physical and environmental security

4.         Access control

5.         Incident management

6.         Regulatory compliance