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ISO 27001 and NIST

ISO 27001 is the international standard that lays out the specification for a best-practice ISMS (information security management system). The Standard can also be extended by integrating with a number of other standards and frameworks, including the NIST CSF (Cybersecurity Framework) and NIST RMF (Risk Management Framework).

What is an ISMS?

An ISMS is a system of processes, documentation, technology, and people that helps to protect all of your organization’s sensitive and confidential information through a centrally managed framework.

An ISMS needs to be supported by top management, incorporated into your organization’s culture and strategy, and constantly monitored, updated, and reviewed. Putting a  continual improvement process in place will ensure your organization’s ISMS adapts to changes in the threat landscape and technology, and within the organization.

How do ISO 27001 and NIST complement each other?

The NIST frameworks were designed as flexible, voluntary frameworks. The fact that they are flexible makes it relatively easy to implement them in conjunction with ISO 27001, particularly as they have a number of common principles, including requiring senior management support, a continual improvement process, and a risk-based approach. In fact, the risk assessment process specified by ISO 27001 takes a very similar approach to the RMF: identify risks to the organization’s information, implement controls appropriate to the risk, and finally monitor their performance.

However, because the CSF and RMF were designed to be voluntary, it is difficult to prove compliance. This is particularly unfortunate for organizations that must comply with the CSF (as mandated by President Trump’s Executive Order 13800). ISO 27001, meanwhile, has an international presence that many organizations recognize and trust. Moreover, organizations can achieve external, accredited certification to the Standard – an excellent way of demonstrating at least partial compliance with NIST’s frameworks.

Find out how the NIST frameworks and ISO 27001 can work in conjunction to help your organization achieve its cybersecurity goals >>

Accredited certification to ISO 27001

Being externally audited and achieving accredited certification against ISO 27001’s requirements is likely to engender a higher level of confidence among customers and stakeholders, as well as being a prerequisite for securing certain contracts. 

Accredited certification to ISO 27001 demonstrates that your organization is following information security best practice, and delivers an independent, expert assessment of whether your confidential and sensitive information is adequately protected.

Download our free NIST and ISO 27001 resources

To learn more about how the NIST CSF and ISO 27001 can work together, check out our free resources.

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