ISO 27001 certification: Everything you need to know

With security breaches breathing fire under many companies’ noses, information security (infosec) has become a bigger issue than ever. If your business handles sensitive data of any kind, you should start taking steps to build trust with your established customer base.

You can use the ISO 27001 certification to show your customers that you take security seriously and have effective measures to handle the clients’ data. Therefore, in short, to show that you have their best interests at heart. To understand how it works, let’s go through this article that covers everything!

What do you mean by ISO 27001 certification?

The ISO 27001 standard is published by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in a combined effort to help companies and organizations bring order to their people, processes, and technology and to ensure the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of information. The primary goal of the ISO 27001 standard is to assess a company’s ISMS, that is, Information Security Management System.

The standard demands that companies should identify information security risks present in their systems and list out the corresponding controls that address them. ISO 27001 consists of 114 controls that are divided into 14 categories. There is no mandatory requirement to implement the full list of ISO 27001’s controls since they are simply a representation of possibilities that an organization may consider.

ISMS has to be examined by a professional auditor who ISO has accredited. They overlook the documentation to see if the company’s security measures live up to the set ISO 27001 standards.

However, the entire process of certification is governed by ISO 27001. Your company will get an ISO 27001 certificate if you pass the audit. One might wonder, if the certification is optional, who should you put your business through this assessment? Let’s see why!

How does an ISO 27001 audit serve your business?

If you’re wondering who would go through the pains of getting ISO 27001 certified, then the statistics may shock you because more than 33,000 organizations are currently ISO 27001 certified. Which makes us question, how does an ISO 27001 Audit serve your business?

The answer is simple: The benefits outnumber the troubles. Here is a list of the rewards you can receive after pursuing ISO 27000 compliance:

1. Law Compliance

Certain restrictions are imposed by the GDPR (European Union’s General Data Privacy Regulation) and HIPAA (the United States’ Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Failure to meet these restrictions can mean fines; hence, an ISO 27001 certificate ensures that your organization complies with all data privacy laws.

2. More trust means more customers

The ISO 27001 certification and compliance make a big difference for potential clients and customers. How? Because they are well aware of the increasing risks posed by data breaches, they take information security into serious consideration when deciding what companies to work with.

To conclude this part, we can only say that every organization seeking ISO 27001 compliance has its own reasons. The choice to pursue or not is entirely your decision!

Difference between ISO 27001 and SOC compliance

ISO 27001SOC
Type of SecurityThe aim of ISO 27001 is the same as SOC but it works in a more restricted way. It demands that organisations must build and document their information security management system for effective compliance.SOC refers to a set of guidelines that are more free and flexible in their approach to measure what your company is doing to protect the customers’ data.
Area (geographically)ISO 27001 is better known outside North America and hence, is used widely outside of that region.They are more widely known in North America and carry more prestige there.

SOC certification can be defined as a set of criteria based on the guidelines introduced by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Rather than assessing companies based on a pre-written control checklist as done in ISO 27000, the SOC compliance has fairly flexible standards for every organization under audit.

In the end, however, both of them are fairly the same, with about 95% of controls copied in ISO 27000 and SOC criteria. The most suitable choice for your company depends primarily on the geographical location. A SOC report holds more prestige in the United States, while the ISO 27001 certification is more prestigious in the rest of the world.

Also, check out our article on 8 Key Differences Between SOC 2 and ISO 27001.

What are the set standards for ISO 27001?

The ISO 27000 family consists of 12 separate standards. However, in case you’re looking to get an ISO compliance certificate, then ISO 27001 is the only mandatory set. That said, you must have a working knowledge of the other sets to determine which ones are applicable to your business.

ISO 27001

ISO 27001 points out the requirements for establishing a compliant ISMS. It is mandatory to meet these requirements If you want to get a certificate. What are these requirements? So, ISO 27001 has listed its requirements in detail in seven clauses. It demands that an Information Security Management System should be

  1. Clearly documented
  2. Supported by senior leadership
  3. Capable of anticipating and mitigating risks
  4. Supplied with all the resources, it needs to function
  5. Be regularly reviewed and updated.

Annex A under ISO 27001 has a list of specific controls that your organization can use in order to meet these requirements. It includes 114 ideas that you may find relevant.

ISO 27002

The next set is ISO 27002, which has been built based on the controls discussed in Annex A of ISO 27001. While Annex A provides a quick description of every control, ISO 27002 lists them out in detail.

It is useful because every company under ISO 27001 audit needs to address the relevant controls for them. For instance, you may not have any remote employees, so you don’t need to implement controls that supply information on leaving company computers in public spaces.

ISO 27003

The ISO 27003 is responsible for providing general guidance for building an ISMS. It is a great resource that is useful during the pre-audit phase, especially during gap analysis.

ISO 27004

The next set standard, ISO 27004, is built as an extension of ISO 27003 since it is useful in suggesting ways to evaluate and study the security of your information security management system. It also comes in handy when organizations measuring has to determine which of the listed controls in ISO 27002 can be used for audit preparation.

ISO 27005

ISO 27005 is solely dedicated to risk management. Forecasting, analyzing, and mitigating risk is crucial parts of ISO 27001 certification, and since this standard deals in these areas, it is beneficial to study it in as much detail as possible.

ISO 27006

The next set of standards, ISO 27006, determines whether or not a firm is qualified to conduct ISO 27001 audits. This standard is not applicable or in your interest, if

you do not deal with the same field.

ISO 27007 and ISO 27008

The ISO introduced this pair of standards in 2019. They are influenced by ISO 27006 and provide guidelines for accredited organizations on how to conduct ISMS audits.

It is beneficial if you read this standard before you seek an ISO 27001 certificate for your company since it will give you an idea of what your auditor will ask while they evaluate your information security management system.

ISO 27017 and ISO 27018

ISO 27017 and 27018 were first introduced in 2015 when cloud services were beginning to boom. They are responsible for providing controls to secure any and every data your company stores in the cloud.

ISO 27033

ISO 27033 is responsible for governing network security. While ISO 27002 consists of several controls for securing a company’s internal network, ISO 27033 is built on these controls and offers suggestions for effectively implementing them.

ISO 27701

ISO 27701 is one of the newest ISO standards and is centered on privacy. It was introduced in response to the strengthening of GDPR by the EU and, in turn, demanded organizations to take “appropriate measures” to secure the private information of users. It is mostly focused on suggesting guidelines to build a privacy information management system (PIMS) in line with your ISMS.

What is the cost of getting an ISO 27001 certification?

The cost of an ISO 27001 audit can vary depending on the size of the organization. It is usually noticed that larger companies usually build their ISMS or information security management system with a greater scope, which directly translates to a longer duration for audit. And we all know the longer the auditor spends at your offices, the more they will cost you.

For instance, a company with 50 or fewer employees can be estimated to spend between $5,000 and $10,000 on the ISO 27001 certification audit for three to six days. After which, you can add approximately $1,800 for every extra day of the audit. On the other hand, a large company with 500 or more employees can be estimated to spend about $19,000 for 11 days of auditing.

Despite estimation, the absolute price of the audit cannot be fixed because there is more to the story. The actual audit may only take weeks, but preparation (which also adds costs) might take up to six months at a mid-sized company. You need to take into consideration the expenses for those six months, where you would either be required to hire new contract employees or shift current employees from their regular duties.

Requirements for passing ISO 27001 audit process

Only getting adequate knowledge about the ISO 27000 standards will not help you get certified. In order to get an audit using the ISO 27000 series, you will have to follow a few guidelines. These are as follows.

Selecting the right auditor

Choosing an auditor is an essential and often overlooked part of the compliance process. You must take on this search with the mindset of hiring a new employee and performing proper protocols.

Perform an internal audit first

Performing an internal audit won’t just help you get ready for Stage 1 and certification audits but also get you prepped to maintain the ISO 27001 certification after you receive it. It is a fruitful practice since ISO 27000 demands organizations to perform internal audits regularly.

Establish the right controls

It is imperative you go through all the standards in the ISO 27000 series because they are all there for a specific reason. That reason could be either to offer you advice, help you sneak a peek into your auditor’s mind, or advise on what controls will be perfect for your company.

Check for automation tools

Using compliance automation can make preparing for an ISO 27001 audit much easier. With Scrut, you can integrate all the technology present in your information security management system, automatically scan for potential risks and violations, and improve your security.


Not every established Information security Management System can meet the standards laid out in the ISO 27000 series, which is also the reason why the time taken to complete ISO 27001 compliance can vary from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the baseline.

Scrut Automation is a one-stop shop for compliance. Our software provides the fastest solution for achieving ISO 27001 standards, making it an ideal choice for busy startups. Schedule your demo today to see how it works.

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