How to Get ISO 27001 Certified: A Step-By-Step Guide


Did you know that there are more than 30,000 ISO standards covering almost 20 sectors to date? With so many standards, there’s one for nearly every business type!

ISO 27001 is one of the most common standards for information technology (IT) businesses. Although it’s not legally mandated, many B2B companies require an ISO 27001 certification before engaging in business.

If you operate in the IT sector, continue reading to learn more about ISO 27001 and how to get compliant.

What Is ISO 27001?

The full name of this standard is ISO/IEC 27001:2013. It is part of the ISO/IEC 27000 series, which handles information security.

ISO 27001 is the highest international standard for information security. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) originally published the standard in 2005 in partnership with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Then, they revised the standard in 2013.

What Is in ISO 27001?

ISO 27001 provides organizations with an all-encompassing framework to protect their information systemically and cost-effectively, using an Information Security Management System (ISMS).

Thus, it isn’t limited to one type of personal or electronic data. It includes standards for things like:

  • Client data
  • Employee data
  • Financial information
  • HR data security
  • Information entrusted by third parties
  • Intellectual property
  • Loading and delivery areas security
  • Physical entry controls
  • And much more

The ISO 27001 cybersecurity definition aims to protect the three aspects of information, which are:

  • Confidentiality
  • Integrity
  • Availability

This means only authorized people have access to the information and can change the information. In addition, the data needs to be accessible to authorized people whenever necessary.

How to Get Certified

Your business needs to go through a set of audits to get an ISO 27001 certification. But, the process is not quick or easy. It often takes up to a year to gain compliance and get certified.

You should follow these steps to best prepare your company for the process, as it is laborious.

Step One: Prepare a Plan

Before you can begin the process of ISO 27001 accreditation, you need to review the standard and its requirements. There is a lot of information to understand, including 114 controls.

You can designate a person or small team within your organization to oversee the certification process. Hiring a consultant to help you with the process is also possible. Some agencies specialize in ISO standard compliance and offer excellent resources.

Regardless of if you create an in-house team or hire experts, you want someone with experience implementing an ISMS to take the lead.

Don’t forget to involve the senior management of your company. Their support is vital to the success of your accreditation.

Step Two: Define Your ISMS

Now you’re ready to define your ISMS. However, since each business is different and houses unique data, there is no one way to define an ISMS.

First, identify if your ISMS needs to include the entire business or only a specific department. Consider the organizational context and the needs of interested parties. This could include:

  • Employees
  • Regulators
  • Stakeholders
  • The government

Context refers to the factors (internal and external) that can influence your company’s information security. It includes:

  • Business culture
  • Established processes and systems
  • Risk acceptance criteria

Step Three: Create a Management Framework

Your management framework will lay out what your company needs to do to meet the implementation objectives of ISO 27001. It included processes such as:

  • Accountability of the ISMS
  • Activities schedule
  • Regular auditing

Step Four: Perform a Risk Assessment and Gap Analysis

ISO 27001 requires a formal risk assessment, yet it doesn’t provide a standard method for doing so. However, your organization must document the data, analysis, and results of your risk assessment.

Mandatory evidence of a risk assessment includes the Statement of Applicability (SoA) and Risk Treatment Plan (RTP). Your auditor will require these documents.

Establish your baseline security criteria before running the assessment. For example, what are your organization’s business, legal, and regulatory requirements and contractual obligations?

After running the assessment, a gap analysis will identify where your business needs to make improvements to comply with the standard.

Step Five: Implement Controls

Your business must decide what it wants to do with the identified risks to mitigate them. It can choose the following:

  • Modify
  • Avoid
  • Share
  • Accept

Whichever you choose, document risk responses. The auditor will review them during your audit.

Step Six: Train Employees and Set Policies

The ISO 27001 standard requires organizations to train all employees about information security. Everyone must understand the importance of data security and their role in remaining compliant.

It also demands that you create policies and procedures that function according to the standard. Your auditor will collect evidence of employee training and control establishment.

Step Seven: Complete an Audit

An external auditor will evaluate your ISMS. If it meets the standard requirements, they will issue your organization a certification. The certification is valid for three years.

The audit is in two stages.

The auditor will review your ISMS documentation to ensure you have the right policies in place in the first stage. Then, they will notify your business of any changes it needs to make before moving to the next step.

The auditor will review your business process and security controls in the second stage. If you pass both steps, you’ll receive the certificate.

Step Eight: Maintain Compliance

ISO 27001 compliance doesn’t end when the audit finishes. Instead, you need to keep reviewing and analyzing your ISMS to guarantee it still operates effectively over time.

The standard mandates periodic internal audits as part of the ongoing monitoring process.

As your business evolves, new risks will emerge, and you’ll have to adapt to mitigate them. Plus, there are always ways to improve existing controls, especially as technology develops.

It’s best to identify weaknesses and areas of improvement before an external audit takes place.

Get ISO 27001 Certified

ISO 27001 compliance is a must for all IT-related businesses. Without an ISO 27001 certification, customers may lack trust in your company, and you could lose valuable contracts.

If you found this article helpful, check out the rest of the blog to gain more valuable insights into business and more.

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About the Author: Lisa Eclesworth

Lisa Eclesworth is a notable and influential lifestyle writer. She is a mom of two and a successful homemaker. She loves to cook and create beautiful projects with her family. She writes informative and fun articles that her readers love and enjoy. You can directly connect with her on email - or visit her website


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