Why ISO Standards are Important for an Organization?

Kavitha Srinivasulu | May 5, 2022

ISO Standards play a vital role in the IT world to ensure quality and compliance in both products and services to enable business resilience. They are necessary in each organization to improve an organization’s business processes and add value to the security landscape. It covers all aspects of an organization’s security control to ensure all the business stakeholders are involved while building the security culture in an organization. Gaps should be expected while implementing in the current environment because it is unrealistic to create a perfect system the first time. Hence, the standard is defined to fit the company, not the other way round.

An ISMS (Information Security Management System) standard provides a systematic approach for managing an organization’s information security/cybersecurity posture effectively. It centrally manages framework that enables you to manage, monitor, review and improve your information security practices aligning to defined ISO standards.

ISO standards offer various solutions and best practices for almost all types of technology and businesses, helping organizations to increase performance while protecting customers and the IT ecosystem. They aim to break down barriers to international trade. Some well-known standards include ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) and ISO 27001 (information security management).

ISO standard covers a set of best practices that would help an organization to build 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. 

Need for adherence to ISO standards & regulations

  • It helps organizations to comply with ISO best practices
  • It ensures legal and regulatory compliance
  • It gives organizations a competitive advantage
  • Improves security posture of information security

The ISO standard key principles are primarily focused on:

  • Customer focus
  • Leadership
  • Engagement of people
  • Process approach
  • Improvement
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Relationship management

The relative importance of each principle varies from organization to organization and may change over time.

Strategies to Strengthen Security Posture

Organizations are constantly facing a variety of cybersecurity challenges and cyber-attacks. Hence, most of the organizations are working on identifying how to reduce vast attack surfaces, how to secure their IT assets and how to keep hackers from breaching their systems. There are several places where the ISO standards can enhance organizations security postures to meet these challenges:

  • Create a cybersecurity framework. Companies should align their security requirements with ISO standards to define goals and objectives of the business.
  • Perform a risk assessment. A risk assessment should be done aligning to ISO31000 to identify the level of vulnerability across an organization’s assets. Based on the results organizations can determine what they need to do to improve their security postures and help identify the security controls they should put in place to protect the business against future attacks.
  • Implement automated cybersecurity tools. Using automated tools aligning to security ISO standard to reduce incident response times and prevent hackers from infiltrating the network.
  • Educate workers. Security training on ISO standards is recommended at all levels to maintain compliance. In addition, companies should regularly test employees on their knowledge of the organizations’ cybersecurity policies, including their social media.

How does complying with ISO standards help the organizations?

1. Calibration: ISO standards play a major role in simplifying and building the security governance frameworks in an effective manner to standardize the security practices. Implementing the ISO standards ensure there is a consistency, governance, and compliance across functions/businesses.

2. Gaining customer confidence: Some companies only do business with ISO certified suppliers. So, adhering to ISO standards and complying with the same is a very important requirement to gain the customer confidence and do an international trade.

3. Improve the quality of processes and products: The adoption of ISO standard methodology is all about building a robust quality/risk/security framework to improve the quality and alignment to ISO standards. It primarily helps in building quality for the whole organization, and for every process and product.

4. Advance the consistency of operations: Reducing disparity in the organization’s policy and processes is the best definition of consistency. Aligning to ISO standards help the organizations to stay aligned to industry best practices and follow a governed methodology to be consistent in nature.

5. International Trade: Obtaining or aligning to ISO standards help the organizations to build a global recognition in gaining customer confidence and ISO compliance.

There are numerous benefits obtained through aligning and adhering to ISO standards. However, no matter how clear and obvious they are, when a company insists on acquiring ISO certification just because of market pressures, these benefits can easily be diluted. Hence, applying the best ISO Practices across the functions/businesses is very important and recommended to build a robust Governance structure to stay compliant in nature.

About the Author –

Kavitha Srinivasulu

Kavitha Srinivasulu

Kavitha has 18+ years of experience focused on CyberSecurity, Data Privacy, Business Resilience, Security Assurance and Vendor/3rd party Risk Management across Healthcare, Financial Services, Telecom, IT Services and Product Corporates.
She is a natural leader with versatility to negotiate and influence at all levels. Kavitha is self-driven and is willing to learn from everything life has to offer.

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