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How do I explain an ISMS to my colleagues?

What is an ISMS?

An information security management system (ISMS) is essentially a cohesive collection of documents, systems and data that combine to enable the appropriate measures to be taken to manage information security to be managed for your business or organisation.

Do I have to explain the ISMS to my colleagues?

Yes! Well somebody needs to as ISO 27001 requires that the ISMS is part of and is integrated with the organisation’s processes and management structure. Further requirements dictate that the individuals be aware of the information security policy and to know about their personal roles in the ISMS. This means that the explanation needs to be planned and implemented properly.

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How do I explain the ISMS to my colleagues?

If we make the broad assumption that most people will only have a vague understanding of ISO 27001, then it may be a good idea to feed them information over time.

Some general information about your decision to build the ISMS, who is involved, the timescales, the motives and drivers for doing so and the like will give all an idea of the project. Then some detail on various parts of ISO 27001 that affect individuals or teams will be appropriate.

Remember that new starters will need some awareness and staff may need refreshers. Lastly, remember that not everybody needs to know about everything and plan accordingly.

Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

Simply, everywhere. ISO 27001 dictates and forms the mandatory structure of your ISMS. All the areas of your organisation that are within scope are required to engage with the ISMS to the relevant degree. Everybody has some level of involvement, with some departments or functions likely to be actively responsible for the operation of parts of your ISMS.

Why is ISO 27001 important to your business or organisation?

The reasons for this will obviously vary per organisation, but very often one or more of the following are cited:

  • Risk mitigation
  • Commercial advantage
  • Improved security posture
  • Better resilience
  • License to operate
  • Reputation management
  • Organisation-wide central framework

How your colleagues will support ISO 27001 ISMS implementation

Each ISMS usually has a figurehead individual or team (such as the Business Information Security Board). This individual or team does not usually implement the entire ISMS in isolation and, as a minimum, they will have management and leadership support (as it’s a requirement of ISO 27001). Others are very likely to be involved because parts of the ISMS will be their core specialism and responsibility – think functions like Human Resources, IT and Procurement.

How do I make sure everyone uses our ISMS?

ISO 27001 demands integration into day to day business operations. Educating staff and assigning responsibilities to the people or departments that run components of your ISMS will aid engagement.

A regular series of communications (maybe using a communications plan) will aid users on the importance of their involvement with the ISMS. If all else fails, then there is a clause in ISO 27001 that, somewhat ominously, requires users to understand the “implications of not conforming with ISMS requirements”. So we have carrot and stick approaches at our disposal.

Explaining your role as a Lead Implementer

The role of a Lead Implementor is very important in an information security management system (ISMS). The Lead Implementor is responsible for implementing the standards and practices of the ISMS. However, their duties are not limited to implementing the ISMS. They will also be involved with planning and directing the actions of other personnel.

Explaining the role of an auditor

The auditor is an independent third party, usually, an experienced certified person, who is vested with the responsibility to verify the effectiveness and subsequent benefits derived from an organization’s Information Security Management System (ISMS). The auditor has the expertise to determine whether specific areas are being managed and operated effectively and whether the environment is safeguarding information assets and the confidentiality of critical security information.

Auditors and their organizations also play a pivotal role in promoting the observance and adherence to information security standards within public and private industries.

Everyone we’ve helped go for ISO 27001 passed the first time. You could too.

The differences between competing ISMS solutions

There is nothing new about Information Security Management Systems (ISMS). In fact, there are a number of them available today, each touting benefits they can give to your organisation.

Each of these systems has overlapping capabilities, at least one can claim to do everything. So we are faced with a question: should we implement another ISMS or enhance our existing solution? What are the key differences between competing ISMS solutions?

Software

An ISMS software solution is essential for any business, simply because it follows the globally accepted standards and ensures that a business has a structured and systematic approach to managing risks. ISMS software enables the creation of more structures that is useful in managing the ISMS.

A basic ISMS software comes with document storage, classification, versioning, and authorisation, the ability to construct templates for various document kinds, task management, and much more. As a result, it’s much easier to keep the material constant. It’s much simpler if a third-party vendor has already set up a system, provided appropriate templates, and so.

Spreadsheets and documents

Given that an ISMS is heavily reliant on structured data and documents, using office tools such as spreadsheets and editors such as Microsoft Excel and Word seem to be a viable option.

This is unquestionably doable for simple structures and modest data sets. However, an integral part of an ISMS is the complex connecting of data, documents, and tasks – and in the case of Office, these connections must be manually made and updated. This can easily become tasking and lead to mistakes and audit traps (like contradictions). Using spreadsheets and documents is conceivable if the structure is kept basic and the user has a high level of patience.

While spreadsheets do not appear to provide the same level of functionality as ISMS software, businesses may often see them as a cheaper alternative.

Cloud software

Cloud-based information security management software (ISMS) is all the rage these days. Cloud-based software allows you to stay current and secure on the latest patches and enhancements, offering a lot of flexibility in terms of what devices your employees use and where they work.

Cloud-based Information Security Management Software (ISMS) provides businesses with a platform to manage all their security requirements in one place without the inconvenience of on-site hardware etc.

A cloud-based ISMS software solution is a safe online information security management system (ISMS) and data privacy solution that includes tools, policies, and frameworks. In contrast to traditional installable software, the Information Security Management System (ISMS) is securely distributed via the cloud. This implies having a safe cloud information security management system that is always available (ISMS).

Whether you’re just starting your first ISO 27001 project or an expert wanting to combine several standards and regulations, the cloud-based capabilities of ISMS.online make it easy to get started.

The benefits of an ISMS

What are the benefits of an ISMS? It’s an important question that you should ask yourself if you don’t already have one. The International Standards Organization (ISO) published 27000, which outlines a framework for implementing information security management systems (ISMS). It provides guidelines and requirements for implementing an ISMS in order to effectively protect your organisation from cyber-attacks and threats.

Secure your information in all of its forms

Information security management systems (ISMS) provide companies and organisations with the essential framework to protect information in all of its forms. Such systems have been specifically designed to address the significant volumes of information now being used, disseminated, and managed by companies and government agencies around the world.

Increase your attack resilience

An Information Security Management System (ISMS) is an essential tool for any organisation that wants to protect its data and reduce the risk of a successful information security attack. It enables you to understand, manage and control the risks associated with your business activities and information systems.

Manage all your information in one place

An ISMS is an easy and cost-effective way to manage all your information in one place. It will help you reduce storage and operating costs, keep your data secure and provide an auditable record of the retention period for all your documents. An ISMS will also enable you to review information much quicker when responding to queries and requests for information and when your system is being audited.

Respond to evolving security threats

An Information Security Management System (ISMS) is a framework and set of standards that helps to manage the security of an organisation’s valuable assets. An ISMS consists of three stages: Plan, Do, Check and Act (or PDCA), with the first two being mandatory to ensure your organization is fully protected.

Reduce costs associated with information security

Information security management systems have been proven to reduce costs associated with information security. In fact, where there is a well-established ISMS in place, such costs (and often risks) are likely to be much lower.

Protect the confidentiality, availability and integrity of your data

The Information Security Management System (ISMS) provides a structure to help enable the confidentiality, availability and integrity of all your company’s information. In addition, it has the following benefits:

  • Eliminate or mitigate the risks to personal data or corporate assets caused by attacks on your information systems
  • Carry out internal audits to identify any security weaknesses and continuously improve their effectiveness
  • Provide better protection for customer data, comply with industry regulations such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation and others
  • Improve company culture

    Ultimately, documenting your corporate ISMS will help build your company culture. A well-defined ISMS lays out what is expected of those involved and supports the principles of continuous improvement, transparency, and trust. When your employees see that their information security is a priority, they become empowered to use their best judgment to increase safety. This allows them to take ownership and responsibility if they notice a possible issue in the workplace.

    The benefits of a
    cloud ISMS solution

    Cloud ISMS solutions are all the rage today because they make it easy for organisations to manage their security compliance in a manner that reduces business risk.

    Compliance is imperative, and too many businesses are getting penalties and fines for having non-compliant systems. It’s very expensive to get a security audit done, so the alternative is to buy a cloud ISMS solution. This makes it even easier to keep your system secure and compliant because you can get a report at the click of a button. You don’t need to worry about installing the software yourself, keeping services up-to-date or dealing with any issues that may arise.

    These cloud solutions also work across any device, anywhere in the world, making security compliance simple and even automatic.

    How ISMS.online makes your life easy

    With practically everything you need in one location, services like ISMS.online make achieving ISO 27001 certification considerably easier and faster.

    ISMS.online provides simple-to-follow frameworks that are ideal for collaboration. Whether you’re wanting to comply with rules, get certifications, or just simplify a time-consuming process, we’ve developed a variety of frameworks that are available to you.

    Our streamlined, safe, and sustainable platform will assist you in transforming your industry knowledge and information security expertise into a cost-effective, highly effective information security management system.

    We’re the most practical, user-friendly, and all-inclusive approach to ISMS success. We provide an all-in-one, cloud-based platform that enables you to confidently fulfil all of your information security and other compliance needs.

    When you log in to ISMS.online, everything you need to design, construct, and deploy your certification-ready ISMS will be waiting for you. It truly is an all-in-one solution.

    Our Assured Results Method outlines a straightforward, practical, and time-tested strategy for achieving first-time ISO 27001 success. Our integrated tools, templates, and actionable papers provide you with a 77% head start in developing your certification documentation.

    Our Virtual Coach provides 24/7 context-specific assistance, ensuring that you never take the incorrect step. Call +44 (0)1273 041140 for expert help on getting started.

    You can also send an email to enquiries@isms.online to hear from one of our experts.

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    How do I allocate the work to my colleagues for ISO 27001 certification?

    In the implementation stage, standard, simple project management methodologies will probably suffice. People need to know what they need to do, by when and the standards required. Parts of ISO 27001 lend themselves nicely to being assigned to business functions. Examples include IT, Human Resources and Supplier Management.

    Who is involved in the implementation of an ISMS?

    Not everyone has to get involved in the implementation. Most organisations deal with the implementation as a project and the project manager (commonly known as the “lead implementer”) will involve others as appropriate. The only certain other participants will be senior management in some form, often as part of a ‘steering team’, ISMS board or similar.

    Why is it important for everyone to be involved with our completed ISMS?

    Everyone in your organisation that you have decided is within its scope will eventually be part of the ISMS. Their involvement will vary - the management is ultimately responsible for the ISMS, there is usually a figurehead manager, there may be a security committee or board and certain departments may own and run components (e.g. IT). Everybody has to comply with the ISMS requirements - after all, your organisation built it as a bespoke system to fit what you do.