“Data is the new oil!” The phrase was famously uttered by British mathematician Clive Humby nearly 20 years ago but it’s often used today, not in its original context, but to try to convey the idea that data is valuable in its own right.
The reality of course is that the information that can be extracted from the phenomenal volumes of data that are available today for mining, analysis and processing, is hugely valuable, and that information really does power modern businesses and economies. And as almost everyone on the planet now realises, safeguarding that information has become an unavoidable critical business necessity, which is where ISO 27001 can come into play.
ISO/IEC 27001:2022 (or just ISO 27001 for now) is an international, generally-well understood standard that an organisation can rely upon as an integral part of the organisation’s strategic investment plan. In this post, we delve into the depths of ISO 27001, and we outline why organisations should view ISO 27001 not just as a certification but as a strategic investment that can yield significant financial and competitive benefits.
And this time with other animals, not just rabbits!
ISO 27001 and its role in information security
Before we look at ISO 27001 as a strategic investment, let’s first understand what ISO 27001 is and what it entails. ISO 27001 is an international standard that provides a robust framework for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an Information Security Management System (ISMS). The standard sets out the requirements for how to manage the security of various assets such as financial information, intellectual property, employee details, or information entrusted to a business by third parties.
In the current digital landscape, data breaches and cyber threats are more prevalent than ever. The consequences of such breaches can be devastating, leading to financial losses and serious damage to an organisation’s reputation. This is where ISO 27001 shines. It offers an effective way to manage risks, helping to ensure that an organisation’s information and reputation are appropriately and effectively protected.
Make no mistake though: ISO 27001 is not a silver bullet! It’s about process; about establishing a culture of security within the organisation. An organisation that uses ISO 27001 to its advantage will create processes and policies that ensure every member of the organisation understands the importance of information security and their role in maintaining it. ISO 27001 about creating a proactive, rather than reactive approach to information security.
ISO 27001 as a strategic investment
When we talk about strategic investments, our minds typically gravitate towards financial investments, spending up on new technology, or acquiring new talent. But what about information security?
An investment is strategic when it aligns with the organisation’s overall goals and provides long-term benefits. ISO 27001 fits this bill perfectly. It’s not just a cost of doing business or a box to check off for compliance purposes (well, it can be, but more on that below). When successful, ISO 27001 is a value-for-money investment into bolstering your organisation’s information security foundations.
Implementing ISO 27001 requires resources – time, money, and manpower. But considering the increasing risk of data breaches and cyber threats, the cost of not investing could be much higher. A single data breach could result in financial losses that far exceed the cost of ISO 27001 implementation, not to mention the potential damage to an organization’s reputation.
Moreover, ISO 27001 certification signals to customers, partners, and stakeholders that your organization takes data security seriously. It builds trust and can even give your organization a competitive edge. As more businesses and consumers become conscious of data security, being ISO 27001 certified could become a deciding factor for consumers when choosing between you and your competitors.
In this way, ISO 27001 is not just a certification. It’s a strategic investment that can lead to improved business processes, increased customer confidence, enhanced reputation, and overall business growth.
The benefits of ISO 27001 as a strategic investment
Investing in ISO 27001 certification offers a multitude of benefits that extend beyond mere compliance. Here are some key advantages that underscore its value as a strategic investment:
- Lower overall costs: A single data breach can result in financial losses that far exceed the cost of ISO 27001 implementation. These can include fines for non-compliance with data protection laws, remediation costs, and the loss of business due to reputational damage.
- Increased revenue: ISO 27001 certification can give your business a competitive edge, helping you win more contracts and retain existing customers. Many organisations prefer, or even require, their partners to be ISO 27001 certified.
- Improved efficiency and lower overheads: By identifying redundancies and gaps in your information security processes, ISO 27001 can help improve operational efficiency, leading to cost savings in the long run.
- Enhanced reputation: In an era where data breaches are common headlines, demonstrating a commitment to information security can significantly enhance your organisation’s reputation. ISO 27001 certification shows that you prioritise data protection, which can lead to increased trust and credibility in the market.
- Increased customer confidence: Customers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of data security. A business that can demonstrate its commitment to protecting customer data through ISO 27001 certification is likely to inspire greater confidence among its customer base.
- Improved organisational information security: ISO 27001 plays a pivotal role in improving information security by providing a robust framework for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continuously improving an Information Security Management System (ISMS) within an organisation. The ongoing management and auditing requirements of the standard ensure that the organisation is continually enhancing its security posture, providing reassurance to stakeholders about the protection of valuable information assets.
- Improved governance and lower risk: ISO 27001 requires the organisation to establish, implement, and maintain an ISMS according to defined policies and procedures with clearly defined information security roles and responsibilities. These guide the behaviour of employees and other stakeholders, ensuring that everyone is on the same page about security expectations.
How to fail at ISO 27001
Now who doesn’t like a bit of drama and as the saying goes, “Failing to plan is just planning to fail.” In the world of ISO 27001 there are a couple of other cracker ways to fail, where by “fail” we mean taking longer than you need to (thereby missing opportunities), spending valuable time looking for short-cuts rather than making commitments (thereby eventually incurring extra assessment and non-compliance costs), or spending more money than you need to (thereby… err… spending more than you need to).
Here are the two main pitfalls that can lead to failing at ISO 27001:
- Management avoids being seen to overtly and confidently support the exercise. ISO 27001 is a continuous, organisational, risk management (identification and treatment) program of work that requires the unequivocal, overt support from business owners, leaders and managers.
The easiest way to ensure ISO 27001 failure then, is for the organisation’s leaders to ignore the program or better yet, hobble it by failing to allocate sufficient resources, artificially constraining the scope of the ISMS, or by failing to support changes to business processes when those changes are needed. No one likes change so if the leaders are openly change-averse, then everyone who looks to the leaders for direction will oppose those changes too, and the ISO 27001 band-wagon will surely falter and stall.
- Management treats the whole compliance program as a cynical tick-the-box exercise. There are some companies out there who will provide your business with ISO 27001 certification for a flat-fee, ISMS unseen. Alas for our early retirement and boat-owning plans, DotSec is not one of those businesses but a quick Google will quickly get you going if that’s the direction you want to take.
The downside of course is that organisations that do go down this path do not actually use ISO 27001 to improve their organisational risk management capabilities, and so they are as likely to get hosed after the certification as they were before. (Of course, the overall certification costs will be lower, so there’ll be more to spend on incident recovery and response… perhaps not so cynical after all 🙂 )
Notice that both these pitfalls start with “management”. As we noted above, ISO 27001 is all about an organisation demonstrating to stakeholders and customers that it is committed and able to manage information securely and safely, and that kind of organisation commitment can only work from the top, down.
Letting DotSec help navigate your ISO 27001 journey
By now it should be clear that achieving ISO 27001 certification is a non-trivial task that requires time, expertise, and resources, but which can result in real, tangible benefits for the compliant business.
Can DotSec help your business achieve its ISO 27001 goals at a reasonable time and cost?
Well yes, yes indeed we can!!
As a leading provider of information security services, DotSec has a team of experienced information security professionals who can guide your business through the certification process. We can help you understand the requirements of the standard, conduct a gap analysis to identify areas of improvement, develop a comprehensive ISMS, and provide support during the certification audit.
If you’re ready to make a strategic investment in ISO 27001, DotSec is here to help. Our team of experienced professionals can guide you through the entire process, ensuring that you reap the maximum benefits from your investment. We offer a tailored approach that takes into account your unique business needs and objectives, enabling you to get the most out of ISO 27001.
Investing in ISO 27001 is investing in the future of your business. It’s about creating a resilient, trustworthy, and efficient organisation that is prepared to face the challenges of tomorrow’s digital landscape. With DotSec by your side, this journey becomes a lot easier.
Contact us today to start your ISO 27001 journey. Let’s work together to create a secure, successful future for your business.