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How To Get An ISO 27001 Certification: A Complete Guide

You may have heard the term “ISO certification? before, especially if you’re in the IT field. What exactly is the ISO, what do its certifications mean, and what are some benefits of being ISO certified? These topics will all be covered in this article, along with the costs of becoming ISO certified and some reasons your company may want to pursue the process.?

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What Is The ISO?

First, let’s talk about what the ISO is. The International Organization for Standardization, commonly called ISO, is an international, independent, non-governmental organization of 165 national standard bodies. There is one member per country, and they represent the foremost standards organizations in their respective countries. ISO brings together experts to disperse knowledge and form voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant international standards that provide solutions to challenges worldwide and support innovation.?

Beyond the job of guiding thousands of documents through drafting, review, publication, and voting, ISO also provides a range of services to support their strategic goals. ISO works with other organizations, such as IEC and ITU, to raise public awareness of the importance of standards and standardization. ISO promotes the teaching of standardization through participating directly in a joint master’s program, assisting members in setting up similar programs, and maintaining a database of materials related to standards in education at every level. ISO also functions as a resource for standards-related research and industry training.


Why Have Standards?

Now that you’re familiar with what ISO is let’s talk about the overall importance of standards. Many organizations look at ISO certifications when deciding on which vendors to choose for their IT needs. These kinds of measures are useful in letting customers know which applications and gear are up to regulation. However, have you ever considered applying ISO standards to your own internal IT operations? ISO standards can reassure management and users of IT organizations that your data and processes are safe and worth the investment they put into it. ISO 20000, ISO 27001, and ISO 22301 are three standards related to IT service management, information security, business continuity, and IT departments in any size of the company and any industry. Essentially, it’s the philosophy of the ISO standards that make them so useful to many companies. Most of the IT operations an IT company sees will be looking at the criteria to assist them in raising their service quality.?


What Are The Three Main ISO Standards For Technology?

Three primary ISO standards are commonly utilized in IT departments and companies.


ISO 20000

ISO 20000 is known as a standard for information technology service management. In practice, it details how to manage IT services that the rest of the organization utilizes.?


ISO 27001

This standard is all about the management of information security. The ISO’s website states that this family of standards will help your organization manage the security of assets like financial information, employee details, intellectual property, or information entrusted to you by third parties. So how does an IT department figure out whether or not they should consider ISO 27001 certification? To determine this information, an IT department would have to think about whether they have a lot of sensitive or confidential information that requires an additional level of protection. If everything is stored on a single computer, they may not need the standard, but if it’s spread out on multiple systems, the standard can be highly helpful.?

ISO 22301?

ISO 22301 addresses businesses’ continuity for when things take a total left turn. The top two standards are management systems standards, while ISO 22301 is a societal security standard. The ISO notes that the committee that engineers societal security standards does so through an expansive view. This is the technical committee in charge of developing standards for protecting society from, and in response to, incidents, disasters, and emergencies caused by international and unintentional human acts, technical failures, and natural hazards. For most modern organizations, information technology is an essential part of the business assets that have to be preserved to keep going.?


Related: Implementing An IT Security Program



Benefits Of Becoming ISO Certified


So what are some key benefits of becoming certified in ISO/IEC 27001? ISO 27001 is an internationally recognized management system for managing the governance risk of information security. The standard offers a best-practice framework, ongoing governance, and proper management of the system to:

  • Increase information security awareness
  • Identify and minimize any risks to your corporation information
  • Raise stakeholder confidence and company reputation
  • Lower staff-related information security breaches
  • Keep up-to-date and compliant with relevant legislation


Internationally recognized ISO/IEC 27001 provides a fantastic framework to assist organizations in managing and protecting their information assets to remain safe and secure. It’s also an excellent way for you to refine continually and review the way you choose to do your information security management, not only for right now but also for the future. By providing a framework for organizations to manage and protect their information assets and secure corporate information through supporting constant reevaluation, ISO 27001 protects and adds value to your business.?


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Costs Of Becoming ISO Certified


The biggest problem with offering a single ballpark cost figure for a 27001 certificate is a tremendous amount of variability. Some factors that can influence the cost include:

  • The current maturity level of the Information Security Management System (ISMS)
  • The size of the company and physical/logical scope of the ISO-27001 certificate
  • The in-house capability/capability to develop the ISMS and close any identified gaps
  • The gap between the desired state and the current state of the control environment.?
  • How soon the certificate is required.


However, you can still estimate how much ISO 27001 may cost in a particular environment. Here are some external cost projections of an “average” customer trying to go through the ISO 27001 certification process:

  • Precertification Phase I: $20,000 (e.g., Risk Assessment, Scope Definition, Risk Treatment Plan, Gap Assessment, Phase II Remediation Plan)
  • Precertification Phase II: $18,0000 (e.g., collaborative gap closure, ISMS Artifact development, registrar selection, Risk Management Committee, Incident Response, On-site certification audit support, internal ISMS audit)
  • Certification audit: $10,000
  • Total ISO 27001 certificate cost: $48,000


After obtaining the certificate, your company will need a “surveillance” audit in years 2 and 3 to keep the certificate. An Internal ISMS audit will have to be performed every year, so your year 2 and year 3 costs can be estimated as:

  • Internal ISMS Audit: $7,000
  • Surveillance Audit: $7,500


It’s important to remember that your costs may vary considerably, and can range anywhere from $5,000 to $70,000.


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