Cybersecurity is a challenge for companies of all types and sizes. But what is even more challenging is to understand where to start. A sensible approach – and one that has been adopted by many companies across the world – is to turn to international standards for help. If you refer to ISO 27001, the information security management standard, you will discover that implementing an information security management system (ISMS) is a great starting point for tackling cybersecurity and ensuring ongoing protection against ever increasing cyber attacks.
What is an ISMS?
According to the definition provided in ISO/IEC 27000:2014, an ISMS is “a systematic approach for establishing, implementing, operating, monitoring, reviewing, maintaining and improving an organization’s information security to achieve business objectives”.
Why implement an ISMS?
Some companies may falsely believe that they don’t need a formal ISMS because they already have certain controls in place or are deploying modern technology to protect themselves from cyber attacks. However, the benefits of implementing an ISO 27001-compliant ISMS are far greater than many people perceive or realise.
Here are nine reasons you should implement an ISMS in your organization:
- It encompasses people, processes and IT systems, in recognition that information security is not just about antivirus software, but depends on the effectiveness of organizational processes and the people who manage and follow them.
- It helps you coordinate all your security efforts (both electronic and physical) coherently, consistently and cost-effectively.
- It provides you with a systematic approach to managing risks and enables you to make informed decisions on security investments.
- It can be integrated with other management system standards (e.g. ISO 22301, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, etc.) ensuring an effective approach to corporate governance.
- It creates better work practices that support business goals by asserting roles and processes that have to be clearly attributed and adhered to.
- It requires ongoing maintenance and continual improvement, which ensures that policies and procedures are kept up to date, resulting in better protection for your sensitive information.
- It gives you credibility with staff, clients and partner organisations, and demonstrates due diligence.
- It helps you comply with corporate governance requirements.
- It can be formally assessed and certified against ISO 27001, bringing additional benefits such as demonstrable credentials, customer assurance and competitive advantage.
How to implement an ISMS?
Depending on your knowledge, experience, budget and resources, there are different approaches to implementing an ISO 27001-compliant ISMS.