What an ISMS is and 5 reasons your organisation should implement one

Those getting started in the information security industry might be wondering why experts are telling them to implement an ISMS. We’re here to explain. 


An ISMS (information security management system) provides a systematic approach for managing an organisation’s information security.

It’s a centrally managed framework that enables you to manage, monitor, review and improve your information security practices in one place.

It contains policies, procedures and controls that are designed to meet the three objectives of information security: 

  • Confidentiality: making sure data can only be accessed by authorised people. 
  • Integrity: keeping data accurate and complete. 
  • Availability: making sure data can be accessed when it’s required. 

Discover everything you need to know about implementing an ISMS by reading Information Security and ISO 27001 – An introduction.

This free green paper explores the benefits of ISO 27001 certification, answering questions such as:

  • What is ISO 27001 and how does this standard help organisations more effectively manage their information security?
  • What is the relationship between ISO 27001 and ISO 27002?
  • What does someone need to know to initiate, or take responsibility for, an ISO 27001 implementation project?
  • What is the value of ISO 27001 certification?

Creating a best-practice ISMS with ISO 27001 

ISO 27001 is the international standard for creating and maintaining an ISMS. Its clear framework makes the implementation process relatively straightforward; all you need to do is follow the Standard’s advice. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easy. You’ll need to assign a small team to tackle the implementation project and give them anywhere between a few months and a couple of years to complete it, but it will certainly be worth the effort. 

ISO 27001 is becoming increasingly important for organisations to thrive. Cyber crime and data breaches are a real threat for all organisations, but an ISO 27001-compliant ISMS can help mitigate the risks. 

Even if you’re happy with your level of security, suppliers and clients might not be as confident. Demonstrating to them that you have met the Standard’s requirements can ease their concerns and give you a competitive advantage. 

ISO 27001 can also help you comply with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and the NIS Directive (Directive on security of network and information systems), as many of their requirements overlap. 

But that’s just one reason to implement ISO 27001. Those that have worked with it will tell you that there are countless benefits to using the Standard. 

To demonstrate that point, we asked 128 professionals from around the world about their experience with ISO 27001 and what persuaded them to adopt it. Here are the reasons they gave: 

1. It’s often required when tendering for new business

Information security is a top priority for many organisations, so it’s not a surprise that suppliers insist that third parties follow best practices. According to our survey, 46% of respondents said they adopted the Standard at the request of their partners.  

2. It helps you comply with the GDPR

ISO 27001 has a lot in common with the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), and we are among those who suggest using the Standard’s framework as the basis of your GDPR implementation project. Our respondents have taken this advice on board, with 48% doing just that.  

3. It ensures legal and regulatory compliance

The GDPR isn’t the only law that ISO 27001 can help organisations comply with. You are probably subject to dozens of regulations that contain information security requirements. Respondents were generally aware of this, with 52% using ISO 27001’s best practices to tackle these laws en masse.  

4. It gives you a competitive advantage

At a time when information security is on everybody’s mind, it pays to be able to demonstrate effective defence measures. Whether you’re targeting vendors, sub-suppliers or individual customers, you are more likely to gain their trust by displaying an ISO 27001 certificate.  

More than half of our respondents (57%) thought the same.  

5. Improve information security 

ISO 27001’s main objective is to improve organisations’ information security practices, so it’s no surprise that 72% of respondents cited this as the reason for adopting the Standard.  

Your guide to ISMS success

Those looking to get started with their ISMS should consider our ISO 27001 Toolkit.

Designed by expert ISO 27001 practitioners and enhanced by more than ten years of customer feedback, this toolkit contains the guidance and tools you need for a hassle-free compliance process.

You’ll receive more than 140 customisable templates and comprehensive compliance tools, including: 

  • A gap assessment tool;
  • A Statement of Applicability tool;
  • A roles and responsibilities matrix,
  • An Implementation Manager tool; and
  • Two staff awareness e-learning licences.

A version of this blog was originally published on 7 March 2019.

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