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How to Maintain ISO 27001 Certification

Apr 23, 2021

Organizations need to cultivate a culture and Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) that allow compliance with the ISO standards. A properly ISO certified company will need to have a higher standard for their information security mechanisms.

Understanding the basic maintenance requirements ensures compliance. With the importance of how to maintain ISO 27001 certification apparent, organizations should understand how long the certification lasts and the basics of the renewal process.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at this popular certification and how businesses can properly prepare and maintain their ISO certification.

Before we dive in though, for those unfamiliar with this compliance standard, check out this overview ISO 27001.

How Long is ISO 27001 Valid for Once Certified?

ISO 27001 certification is valid for 3 years.

However, organizations need to manage and maintain the Information Security Management Systems throughout the entire period. The certified body performs audits every year and may strip an organization of its certification if it does not meet the ISO 27001 standard requirements.

An ISO certification renewal is essential after every 3 months. For ISO 27001 certified companies to keep the certification, they must renew the certification. Otherwise, it becomes invalid.

How to Maintain ISO Certification?

After completing the long certification process, it’s vital businesses plan to maintain it over the long run. To do so, there’s a variety of different practices companies can implement to ensure they remain compliant.

1. Utilizing ISMS As a core component, it’s important businesses prioritize and utilize their ISMS. Practically speaking, a business must implement all procedures, protocols, and controls as required by ISO 27001 clauses.

2. Updated Documentation Another core component businesses should plan for will be updating their documentation to continually comply with the compliance standard. As business operations evolve or expand, companies should work to maintain their policies and procedures to reflect these changes.

A benefit to continually updating your documentation will be seen when it comes time for renewal. In addition to this, businesses will benefit from having a more regular review of their policies and procedures to ensure they’re properly optimized.

3. Continued Testing and Risk Review With the digital world constantly changing, businesses must ensure they continually test and review their risks.

As new threats emerge, risk management strategies should be updated to reflect this change. Through a process of continuous testing, it will help ensure that these risks are properly identified to be mitigated, reconciled, or taken as an accepted risk.

4. Effective Internal Audits and Management Review Similar to the above point, businesses should continue their efforts to audit their systems regularly.

During these more regular testing efforts, team leaders should properly understand their system to ensure updates lead to a productive result. This will also allow leadership to be properly updated on any changes to the ISMS and actively drive changes when necessary.

5. Implement Proper Remediation Policies After discovering corrective actions, it’s important to process the necessary changes that lead to a solution. Not only will this allow operations to be improved with regards to security, but it also helps with the compliance certification process. With these two important benefits known, it should be apparent to leaders how important ISO 27001 certification and a proper remediation policy can be.

Certification Renewal

As businesses approach their certification renewal date, they should proactively prepare for the renewal. The last thing businesses want is to have to do the entire compliance audit process again.

Thankfully, the renewal process is not as intensive as the initial certification. With this in mind, businesses should plan around 3 months prior to their certification expiration date to ensure they’re properly prepared.

Owners will need to review their compliance controls to ensure they fill any gaps leading to nonconformity with the standards. Furthermore, the renewal process does require an auditor in a similar capacity to become certified.

After the auditor completes the audit, businesses will be notified with a pass or fail summary. For businesses who fail the renewal process, they do have 15 days after the report to reconcile any corrective actions.

Using Cobalt’s Pentesting to Maintain ISO 27001 Compliance

To maintain ISO 27001 certification, organizations often need to do continued pentesting of their systems. With an agile DevOps process becoming closer to a DevSecOps process, corporate entities and larger enterprises must consider a flexible solution to their ongoing penetration testing needs.

With a properly managed pentest program, businesses can prove their information systems maintain necessary security controls. Information security forms a critical component of any organization’s security, and it’s essential to keep all information systems secure.