ISO 27001 implementation checklist

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Implementation of ISO 27001, the international standard that describes best practice for an ISMS (information security management system), takes time and effort.

However, any ISO 27001 implementation project can be successful when it is properly managed and led. Adopting the Standard isn’t as expensive or as difficult as you might think.

ISO 27001 implementation checklist

  • Get familiar with ISO 27001 and ISO 27002

Your first step is to familiarise yourself with the Standard and its core requirements. ISO/IEC 27001:2013, ISO/IEC 27002:2013 and ISO/IEC 27000:2018 will serve as your principal points of reference.

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  • Assemble a project team and initiate the project

You will need to determine the project objective, the project team (typically with a project board for projects scheduled to take longer than nine months), a project plan and a project risk register.

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  • Conduct a gap analysis

Conducting a gap analysis will help you to establish which areas of your organisation aren’t compliant with the Standard and identify what you can do to become compliant.

Find out how IT Governance can help review your current information security posture against the requirements >>

  • Scope the ISMS

This is an essential step in your project. A scope that’s too big will escalate the time and cost of the project, and a scope that’s too small will leave your organisation vulnerable to risks that weren’t considered.

The scope must be documented in a ‘scope statement’ and identify what information needs to be protected. The ISO 27001 ISMS Documentation Toolkit contains a customisable scope statement, as well as templates for every document you need to implement an effective ISMS and comply with the Standard.

  • Develop policies, procedures and other key ISO 27001 documentation

You need to set out high-level policies for the ISMS that establish roles and responsibilities and define rules for continual improvement. Mandatory documentation includes an information security policy, information security objectives and evidence of competence.

The ISO 27001 ISMS Documentation Toolkit contains customisable templates and will save you weeks of work trying to develop all the required policies and procedures.

  • Carry out a risk assessment

ISO 27001 risk assessments are at the core of the ISMS and provide an accurate snapshot of the threats facing your organisation. Risk assessments help identify whether the current controls applied in your organisation are necessary and cost-effective.

Undertake error-proof risk assessments with leading tool vsRisk™, which includes a database of risks and the corresponding ISO 27001 controls, and enables you to conduct the risk assessment accurately and effectively.

  • Select and apply controls

ISO 27001 requires organisations to apply controls to manage or reduce risks identified in the risk assessment. Controls should be compared against ISO 27001’s own list of best practices, which are contained in Annex A.

  • Develop risk-focused documentation

ISO 27001 requires an RTP (risk treatment plan) and SoA (Statement of Applicability) to be produced. The SoA lists all identified controls from ISO 27001 and details whether each control has been applied, along with an explanation of its inclusion or exclusion.

vsRisk can generate six audit-ready reports, including the SoA, which can be exported, edited and shared across the business and with auditors.

  • Conduct staff awareness training

Human error has been widely demonstrated as the weakest link in cyber security. To increase awareness of information security issues and the purpose of the ISMS, all employees should receive regular training.

Our Information Security & ISO27001 Staff Awareness e-learning Course is a cost-effective solution for improving general staff awareness about information security and the ISMS.

  • Assess, review and conduct an internal audit

ISO 27001 requires regular auditing and testing to ensure controls are working as intended and incident response plans are functioning effectively. Top management should also review ISMS performance at least annually.

Our ISO27001 Certified ISMS Lead Auditor Online Masterclass equips you with all the skills to successfully undertake or lead an ISMS audit project.

  • Opt for a certification audit

If your organisation opts for ISO 27001 certification, the body you use should be accredited by a recognised national accreditation body and a member of the IAF (International Accreditation Forum).

The certification body will provide an independent opinion about your security posture by reviewing your documentation, checking you have implemented appropriate controls and conducting a site audit to test the procedures in practice.

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