ISO 27001 Certification Guide - Tips, challenges and roadmap (2024 update) - Securitybase

ISO 27001 Certification Guide - Tips, challenges and roadmap (2024 update)

The ISO 27001 standard is widely known, providing requirements for an information security management system (ISMS). Using the standard enables organisations to manage the security of assets such as financial information, intellectual property, employee details or other information entrusted by third parties.

ISO 27001 specifies a management system that is intended to bring information security under management control and gives specific requirements. It consists of 7 main clauses and 14 control sets with a total of 93 controls in the Annex, covering people, processes and technology.

The standard aims to protect and manage information (data) consistently, increase resilience to cyber attacks and reduce costs. The best practice approach of this standard provides a solid model for an information security management system (ISMS).

But what are benefits of ISO 27001 compliance, how does the certification process work and what are common pitfalls?

Benefits Of ISO 27001 Compliance

The drivers for many ISO 27001 implementations are contractual and regulatory requirements. Customers, staff, regulators and other stakeholders expect a certified Information Security Management System (ISMS) to be in place at organisations that have access and store their data. Therefore, compliance with a standard such as ISO 27001 provides confidence to internal and external stakeholders when it comes to information security. Other important benefits include;

  • Improved structure, planning, efficiency and focus
  • Protected reputation and improved company image
  • The ability to tender for more projects
  • Minimisation of IT risks, exposure and elimination of weak areas
  • Lower (cyber) insurance premiums
  • Being more attractive to customers and employees

    Complying with ISO 27001 also makes it much easier to comply with other standards, such as the ASD Essential Eight, NIST, SOC2, APP, CPS234, ISM and GDPR.

    ISO 27001 Requirements

    The standard is a licenced document from the Internation Standard Organisation. A copy can be purchased here. The document includes clauses on:

    • Context of the organisation (business needs, scope, stakeholders)
    • Leadership (commitment, policy, roles and responsibilities)
    • Planning (actions to address risks, objectives and planning)
    • Support (resources, competence, awareness, communication)
    • Operation (planning and control, risk assessment and treatment)
    • Performance evaluation (monitoring and review, internal audit)
    • Improvement (non-conformities and corrective action, maintenance)

      In addition to these main clauses, there are 93 mandatory controls listed in the Annex that have to be in place to achieve certification. Some examples of these are human resource security, asset management, access control, physical and environmental security, communications security, supplier relationships and business continuity.

      ISO 27001 Certification Roadmap

      This example certification process for ISO 27001 includes the development of an information security management system, risk assessment, gap analysis, stage 1 and stage 2 audit. 10 steps to achieve ISO 27001 certification:

      1. Appoint an ISO 27001 project lead to ensure a smooth implementation and certification process.
      2. Determine the context, scope and objectives. This is not only a requirement to comply with the standard, but will also inform the implementation plan.
      3. Create the ISO 27001 Statement of Applicability (SoA). This mandatory document determines the certification scope.
      4. Conduct an initial gap analysis to determine the current maturity level, resources and timeline.
      5. The ISO 27001 is a risk-based standard. The risk assessment is an important step because it informs the required controls to mitigate exposure to cyber risks.
      6. The implementation of controls, development, review and updating documents and procedures.
      7. Measure, monitor and review, and conduct an internal audit to assess the preparedness level for the audit.
      8. Choose a certification body to conduct the audit.
      9. Prepare to make a good impression to the auditor and ensure a structured document hierarchy, with easy to find ( but secure) information on each clause and control.
      10. The certification audit. Starting with stage 1, the documentation review, followed by stage 2, the main audit.

        How Long Does It Take To Get ISO 27001 Certified?

        Every certification process is different, depending on factors such as the size, industry, location, current maturity level and regulatory environment of the organisation. The implementation and certification process can be completed in a month for a small organisation, is typically achieved after six months for a mid-size organisation, but can take up to a year for large, complex organisations.


        When implementing this standard and preparing for certification, the biggest challenge is the tendency to over-focus on IT. The document is focusing on information security, but other aspects (non-IT related) such as personnel, physical security and governance are less technical. Other challenges include;

        • Confidence in controls, even when they are not effective
        • Limited involvement of HR, legal, procurement and facilities
        • Classification of information (Secret, Internal use only, Public)
        • Lack of formal roles and responsibilities
        • Cloud vulnerabilities (connectivity, dependence on supplier)
        • Limited awareness of regulatory compliance
        • Missing policies for remote working, acceptable usage policy

          ISO 27001 Consultant In Adelaide

          As experienced and certified ISO 27001 specialists based in Adelaide, we have guided a range of organisations with their ISO 27001 gap analysis, implementation or audit preparation. If you have any questions on the ISO 27001 standard, implementation process or audit procedures please contact us today.

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