ISO/IEC 27001 standard is a structured approach towards securing an organization’s information assets. Here are the features and benefits of this standard.
Information and Data are the crown jewels of every enterprise. Business insights are derived from information and used for strategic business decisions. Enterprises are also custodians of data procured from its customers and partners. It is therefore imperative for every enterprise to secure and manage its information assets to ensure that it does not fall into the hands of competitors and those who seek to sell it for financial gain. Failure to do so will result in data breaches. This will incur massive expenditure and cause loss of trust and reputation among the business stakeholders. It is shocking to note that many enterprises have not done enough to secure their information assets.
According to the NTT Com Security 2016 Risk Value Report, 75% of organisations do not believe that all their business data is completely secure. The PWC 2015 Information Security Breaches Survey declares that 90% of organisations had a breach in 2014. And the McAfee Net Losses Report June 2014 reveals that $400 bn is the estimated cost of cybercrime.
These figures tell us that enterprises are not investing adequately in information security infrastructure and are not complying with industry standards to protect their information.
To check this, organizations must review their information security management policies. The ISO /IEC 27001 standard is a structured approach to do this. ISO certification can ensure better protection for information.
In addition to ISO certification, companies in the UAE must also comply to NESA (National Electronic Security Authority) standards. NESA helps UAE companies to protect their information assets and to mitigate information security risks. More on this standard later in this article.
ISO or International Standards Organization is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. The organization is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
ISO/IEC 27001 is a standard for information security management. It ensures the confidentiality of information, enabling a business to grow, innovate and expand its customer base. The internationally recognized standard is an excellent framework which helps organizations manage and protect their information assets, so that they remain safe and secure. ISO/IEC 27001 helps make businesses more resilient and responsive to threats to information security. It helps organizations to continually review and refine their information security policies to ensure that a business is protected and its reputation is intact.
Businesses that are certified for, and comply to the ISO/IEC 27001 standard can focus on their core business, knowing that their information assets are secure. This also gives their customers and partners the confidence to transact with an ISO certified organization. This is especially relevant in an increasingly connected business world, where transactions occur across borders and involve global regions that call for the strictest standards in data privacy. The EU and its GDPR law is a notable example.
The core benefits of ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security Management are applicable in four distinct business areas:
1 – Reputation: Businesses must identify risks and put controls in place to manage or eliminate them. If they do not do this, their reputation is at stake.
How ISO 27001 helps: ISO 27001 helps you put in place procedures to enable prompt detection of information security breaches. And it requires you to continually improve your Information Security Management System (ISMS). This results in improved reputation and stakeholder confidence. It also improves the visibility of risk amongst interested parties. And it builds trust and credibility in the market to help you win more business.
2 – Engagement: Requires a business to identify all internal and external stakeholders relevant to its ISMS. It requires the business to communicate the ISMS policy to, and ensure that the workforce understands how they contribute to it. Top management needs to define ISMS roles and ensure that individuals are competent.
How ISO 27001 helps: The standard helps a business improve information security awareness amongst internal and external stakeholders. It reduces the likelihood of staff-related information security breaches. ISO 27001 compliance shows commitment to information security at all levels of the business.
3 – Compliance: Gives you a framework which helps you to manage your legal and regulatory requirements. Makes you review and communicate your regulatory requirements to other interested parties.
How ISO 27001 helps: ISO 27001 compliance reduces the likelihood of fines or prosecution. Helps a business comply with relevant legislation and ensures that the security policies are up-to-date.
4 – Risk Management: It makes an organization assess risks to information security so it can identify potential weaknesses and respond. It requires the business to put in place controls that are proportionate to the risks. It also requires one to continually evaluate risks to their information security and make sure the controls they put in place are appropriate.
How ISO 27001 helps: Helps the organization protect its information so it can continue business as usual and minimise disruptions. This yields cost savings by minimising incidents. It ensures information is protected, available, and can be accessed.
To sum up, ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security Management offers the following benefits:
The journey towards ISO/IEC 27001 certification has five key stages.
1. Creating awareness: The first step is to get the support of the Board and other top business leadership. This can be done by creating awareness across the organization. Communicate the benefits and features of ISO 27001 to the board, in business terms. All departments and business functions must be involved in the awareness campaigns.
2. Reviews existing policies, procedures, and processes: Identify your information assets and evaluate your risk posture. Talk to all internal departments. Audit your existing procedures and policies. How effective are they in securing your information assets today? This also extends beyond the boundaries of the enterprise, and involves suppliers and business partners too. Conduct surveys, hold discussions and do security audits.
3. Implement ISO/IEC 27001: After you do your audits, you’ll know exactly where you stand and what needs to be done. Draw up plans for implementing an information security management system in a way that’s best for your business. Identify an experienced consultant to help you with the implementation of ISO/IEC 27001.
4. ISO/IEC 27001 certification: Get independent assessment and secure certification of your information security management system.
5. Maintaining your ISO/IEC 27001 system: Information security management does not stop at certification. ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security Management System should grow and evolve with your business, making sure your information stays secure no matter how much it changes and as new security threats emerge, achieving sustainable data security.
Organizations in the UAE region are governed by UAE Federal, Emirate, and local regulation. More specifically, they are mandated to implement UAE information assurance standards as outlined by NESA (National Electronic Security Authority).
NESA is a government body tasked with protecting the UAE’s critical information infrastructure and improving national cyber security. To achieve this, they’ve produced a set of standards and guidance for government entities in critical sectors. Compliance with these standards is mandatory.
NESA, operates on a tiered approach and uses four levels of monitoring to manage stakeholder compliance across all aspects of the framework. The level of risk an organization poses to the UAE will determine how the regulators and the NESA will work with the organization.
By complying with NESA standards, organizations can ensure the following:
In summary, standards such as ISO/IEC 27001 and NESA reduce business risk, inspires trust in the business, and protects the business. A secure organization is a trustworthy business and instills confidence in all stakeholders. It also builds brand trust and credibility. This leads to increased business and profitability.
URS-ME is an experienced partner who can lead you along in your journey towards ISO/IEC 27001 certification. And that journey does not end with certification. You need to continue to assess your security posture and evolve your security policies as your business grows.
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