ISO 27001 Compliance

Tony Loehr
Developer Advocate

ISO 27001, formally known as ISO/IEC 27001, is designed to help organizations manage the security of financial information, intellectual property, employee details, and other assets. Maintaining ISO 27001 compliance helps deepen consumer confidence in an organization’s ability to handle sensitive information, and helps establish a formal risk management process.

Who is ISO 27001 Compliance For?

The creators of this compliance framework, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), intended for ISO 27001 to provide information security management systems (ISMS) specifications. This framework encourages organizations to adopt an ISMS to protect their information in a standard, systematic, and cost-effective manner.

Because ISO 27001 is an international standard, earning certifications for this framework provides enhanced consumer trust and confidence irrespective of the market location. Any organization that handles data benefits from ISO 27001 compliance.

ISO 27001 Certification

The certificate process entails a three-stage audit to verify conformity with ISO standards: Stage 1, Stage 2, and ongoing compliance verification.

  • Stage 1 entails the verification of key documentation such as the organization’s infosec policy, Statement of Applicability (SoA), and Risk Treatment Plan (RTP).
  • Stage 2 involves a formal, detailed compliance audit that tests the ISMS against the requirements specified in ISO/IEC 27001. Once auditors have gathered sufficient evidence that the management system has been properly implemented, the ISMS will officially be considered compliant with ISO 27001.
  • Ongoing audits to help ensure continued compliance should happen at least annually. However, ISO recommends performing checks more frequently, particularly if the ISMS is still maturing. 

Though certification is not compulsory, many organizations benefit from the enhanced consumer trust that conformity to ISO 27001 provides. In addition, other stakeholders such as cyber insurance providers may require certification or other proof of compliance as a condition of service or payout.

What Are ISO 27001 Standards?

Similar to several other compliance standards, ISO management system standards provide guidance regarding best practices. Implementing the standards helps organizations manage the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information–both a best practice and a means of deepening consumer trust.

ISO names security objectives, defines a list of standard security controls, and recommends actions based on battle-tested standards to improve security.

Security Objectives

The overarching objectives of the ISO/IEC 27001 standards aim to uphold the three pillars of information security:

  • Confidentiality – only authorized people have the right to access information
  • Integrity – only authorized personnel may retrieve, add, modify, or delete the stored information
  • Availability – authorized persons must be able to access the information whenever it’s needed

To achieve these requirements, ISO 27001 prompts organizations to create an information security management system. 

How an ISMS Helps Bolster Security

Creating an ISMS helps organizations define a relevant ruleset to help identify stakeholders, risks, and objectives within a security plan. This set of rules may be kept as policies, procedures, strategies, or other processes and technologies which do not require documentation per se.

Regardless of the implementation, the strength of an ISMS is based on the robustness of the information security risk assessment. The ISMS may be graded on its ability to mitigate risks that the organization and its data may face. ISO 27001 provides a list of recommended controls that can serve as a checklist to assess whether your organization considered the controls when creating its ISMS.

ISO 27001 Control Groups / Domains

  1. Information security policies – describe how to handle information based on its characteristics, content, and classification.
  2. Organization of information security – provide the basic framework for the implementation and operation of information security by defining its internal organization through the organizational aspects of information security, like project management, use of mobile devices, and teleworking
  3. HR Security – ensure that people who are under the organization’s control are hired, trained, and managed in a secure way
  4. Asset management – ensure that information security assets (e.g., information, processing devices, storage devices, etc.) are identified, that responsibilities for their security are designated, and that people know how to handle them according to predefined classification levels
  5. Access control – limit physical and logical access to information and information assets according to the principle of least privilege
  6. Cryptography – provide the basis for proper use of encryption to protect the confidentiality, authenticity, and/or integrity of information
  7. Physical and environmental security – prevent unauthorized access to physical areas, and protect equipment and facilities from being compromised by human or natural intervention
  8. Operations security – ensure that the IT systems, including operating systems and software, are secure and protected against data loss
  9. Communications security – protect the network infrastructure and services, as well as the information that travels through them
  10. System acquisition, development, and maintenance – ensure that information security is taken into account when purchasing new information systems or upgrading the existing ones
  11. Supplier relationships – ensure that outsourced activities performed by suppliers and partners also use appropriate information security controls, and they describe how to monitor third-party security performance
  12. Incident contingency planning – provide a framework to ensure the proper communication and handling of security events and incidents, so that they can be resolved in a timely manner; they also define how to preserve evidence, as well as how to learn from incidents to prevent their recurrence
  13. Business continuity management – ensure the continuity of information security management during disruptions and the availability of information systems
  14. Compliance – provide a framework to prevent legal, statutory, regulatory, and contractual breaches, and audit whether information security is implemented and is effective according to the defined policies, procedures, and requirements of the ISO 27001 standard

ISO 27001 Compliance with Cycode

The Cycode platform includes automated compliance scans to help ensure continuous, seamless compliance. Automated compliance audits make it much less labor-intensive to maintain continuous compliance with ISO 27001. If implemented properly, these automated checks can enable continuous compliance checks that help ensure the posture does not falter. 

Cycode’s compliance check feature supports ISO 27001, SOC 2, PCI DSS, and more frameworks, helping save the most valuable resource: time. Cycode helps organizations comply with requirements by consistently applying security policies at all stages of the software development cycle. Cycode offers security policies to establish access control, support source integrity, and monitor for violations that can result in vulnerabilities.

The Cycode platform helps enforce least privilege entitlements and overprovisioned permissions, such as cloud configurations that allow unsupervised shared admin roles. Cycode is able to identify exactly which violations need to be fixed to comply with a mandate. It also provides remediation assistance in the form of fix suggestions, code fixes, and in some cases automated remediation to efficiently solve the detected issues.

Cycode helps to automatically generate the specific evidence auditors are looking for with regards to specific compliance mandates and security controls. Our system shows the policies in place as part of each security control and can generate suitable evidence to use for attestation–this process helps organizations fulfill auditor needs and frees up time developers would otherwise spend manually verifying audit fulfillment status.

One of the most significant issues with common security tools is the prevalence of false positives. Cycode’s data-driven security tools aggregate data from multiple stages in the development pipeline to create complex insights, detect anomalies that can signal a vulnerability, and avoid false positives.

Want to Learn More?

A great place to start is with a free assessment of the security of your DevOps pipeline