ISO 27001:2013 – Information Security Management Systems

What is ISO 27001:2013?

ISO 27001 (formally known as ISO/IEC 27001:2005) is a specification for an information security management system (ISMS). An ISMS is a framework of policies and procedures that includes all legal, physical and technical controls involved in an organisation's information risk management processes.

According to its documentation, ISO 27001 was developed to "provide a model for establishing, implementing, operating, monitoring, reviewing, maintaining and improving an information security management system."

ISO 27001 uses a topdown, risk-based approach and is technology-neutral. The specification defines a six-part planning process:

  • Define a security policy.
  • Define the scope of the ISMS.
  • Conduct a risk assessment.
  • Manage identified risks.
  • Select control objectives and controls to be implemented.
  • Prepare a statement of applicability.

ISMS scope, and Statement of Applicability (SoA)

Whereas the standard is intended to drive the implementation of an enterprise-wide ISMS, ensuring that all parts of the organization benefit by addressing their information risks in an appropriate and systematically-managed manner, organizations can scope their ISMS as broadly or as narrowly as they wish - indeed scoping is a crucial decision for senior management (clause 4.3). A documented ISMS scope is one of the mandatory requirements for certification.

Although the “Statement of Applicability” (SoA) is not explicitly defined, it is a mandatory requirement of section 6.1.3. SoA refers to the output from the information risk assessments and, in particular, the decisions around treating those risks. The SoA may, for instance, take the form of a matrix identifying various types of information risks on one axis and risk treatment options on the other, showing how the risks are to be treated in the body, and perhaps who is accountable for them.

Why achieve ISO 27001 certification?