Even the smallest organization has a lot to gain from a certified Information Security Management System (ISMS)
New businesses often ponder the benefits of ISO 27001 Certification and, being busy with startup priorities, postpone certification until it is asked for in a tender document or by a prospective customer.
At that point it is, of course, too late. Optimistically, it takes a minimum of 5 months to get ISO 27001 certification by which time the opportunity is lost.
Is an Information Security Management System (ISMS) Necessary?
You should be proactive about information security. This is especially true when it comes to personal information, including that of your employees. The law requires it. There's also a whole list of benefits that can convince you and your colleagues to get ISO 27001 Certification.
20 Benefits of ISO 27001:2013 Certification
- Recognized reputation as a security-conscious organization. Even more, you have the internationally recognized certificate to prove it,
- Awareness at all levels and functions within the organization. As an organisation, you need to always be prepared for the existential threat that data theft poses (e.g. through phishing) for the business and of their individual responsibility in protecting that information.
- Awareness that information security is about protecting physical assets. This covers practices in the workplace, personal behaviour, working from home, etc. and not just about computer systems.
- Satisfaction at Board level. Members of the organisation can rest assured that information assets are being properly cared for,
- Satisfaction for Suppliers and Customers. Both suppliers and customers can be reassured that their information assets and/or intellectual property is being professionally protected (your Customers will be aware that attack through their Suppliers ICT systems is a well known vulnerability),
- Objective evidence for Senior Management, the C-Suite. With the help of independent auditing, senior management can be assured that information security policies are being adequately implemented,
- The reassurance that Information Security processes are in place. This will help ensure that the organization learns from its mistakes and that such errors and breaches occur only once,
- Reduced risk of data loss and of reputational damage. This can be achieved by having a robust and tested ISMS implemented and maintained that is suited to the vulnerabilities and threats the business faces,
- Larger pool of qualified candidates applying to work with your business. When you have a great reputation, attracting top talents to your organisation is a lot easier.
- Reduced absenteeism and employee turnover rates. Employees have objective reasons to feel secure in their jobs and to value them,
- Improved ability to respond to regulatory compliance issues. With an improved relationship with GDPR and other personal data regulatory authorities, you don't have to be on edge whenever new rules or guidelines get announced.
- Reduced cost of security incidents. You have a system in place to investigate them and to take formal action to prevent their recurrence,
- Reduced downtime and the costs of disruption to operations. Thanks to fewer information security incidents, issues can be dealt with systematically and efficiently,
- Reduced cost of insurance premiums. This is because insurance companies recognise that certified businesses make fewer, and less costly, claims,
- Peer recognition for having achieved an international benchmark. This, in turn, influences current and potential customers who are concerned about their intellectual property security,
- Improved scoring in pre-tender documents. This helps ensure that your organization gets a chance to compete with established businesses (especially true for public sector organizations),
- Reduced fines if prosecuted. Your certification constitutes objective evidence to a court of the seriousness with which information security is treated,
- Improved Management control. This covers all forms of business data and information,
- A formalized approach to continual improvement. When it comes to information security performance, consistency is key.
- Continual review of the ISMS. It is important to always make sure that the ISMS is aligned with the business’ strategic plan.
So, if you haven’t got certification to ISO 27001:2013 (or its identical twin the Euronorm Standard EN ISO/IEC 27001:2017), or you need ‘ammunition’ to persuade your colleagues, you now have 20 good reasons where the financial benefits, as well as the practical ones, can be calculated. Your staff will thank you for it. And so will your Customers and Suppliers.
When is the right time to get ISO 27001 Certified?
Let's distinguish between managing information security and having a formal ISMS. As processes are established as part of a startup, you'll need to address the control of workplace soft and hard copy information and in consideration of the risks involved.
So by the time you think about going forward for certification, a lot of the foundation work (in the form of policies and risk assessments, for example) will already have been completed.
As soon as processes and procedures are bedded in, you can start your certification project. You definitely won't regret it knowing that you are also addressing the concerns of current and potential customers and suppliers and in line with both legal and regulatory obligations.
And you'll have your ISO 27001 Certificate as proof of your commitment and achievements regarding information security.