Comparing ISO 27001 with other information security standards, the key differences appear.
Jessica Doering

February 28, 2023



 min reading time

Key differences between ISO 27001 and other information security standards

Why ISO 27001?

A valid question, especially since there are thousands of standards and norms for every problem... and everyone claims to be the universal solution to this or that problem. Yeah, cool, but you just can't compare Kobe, Michael Jordan or Lebron James to Messi, Ronaldo or even Serena Williams. Michael Phelps with 28 Olympic medals....

Everyone has their own empire and in the end it's all about follower numbers on Instagram anyway! Oh well. But since Secfix has only shifted its focus to specific athletes, let's look at the main person, of course.

THE ISO 27001 - long known and much revered. And if ISO 27001 would run an Instagram account, the Kardashians would be sad. 

Why is ISO 27001 the darling of information security?

ISO 27001 is often considered the best standard for information security because it provides a systematic and rigorous approach to managing and protecting sensitive information. Here are some reasons why ISO 27001 is highly regarded:

  • Comprehensive approach: ISO 27001 provides a comprehensive approach to managing information security risks, covering all aspects of the information security management system (ISMS). This includes policies, procedures, guidelines, and controls for managing information security risks.
  • Widely recognized: ISO 27001 is widely recognized and accepted as a global standard for information security. This means that organizations that implement the standard are demonstrating their commitment to protecting sensitive information and meeting international best practices.
  • Risk-based approach: ISO 27001 takes a risk-based approach to information security, which means that organizations must identify, assess, and mitigate information security risks based on their likelihood and potential impact.
  • Continual improvement: ISO 27001 requires organizations to continually monitor and improve their information security management system. This ensures that organizations stay up-to-date with the latest threats and vulnerabilities, and that they are continually improving their security posture.
  • Third-party validation: ISO 27001 certification provides third-party validation of an organization's information security management system. This can help build trust and confidence with customers, partners, and other stakeholders.

In total, ISO 27001 is a highly respected and widely recognized standard for information security.

By implementing the standard, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to protecting sensitive data and systematically and rigorously managing information security risks.

Key differences between ISO 27001 and other standards

  • Scope: ISO 27001 has a broader scope than many other information security standards, as it covers all aspects of an organization's information security management system (ISMS). Other standards may focus on specific areas, such as network security or application security.
  • Risk management: ISO 27001 places a strong emphasis on risk management, requiring organizations to identify and assess risks to their information security and implement controls to mitigate those risks. Other standards may have less prescriptive requirements for risk management.
  • Continuous improvement: ISO 27001 requires organizations to continually monitor and improve their ISMS, through regular reviews and assessments. Other standards may have less emphasis on continuous improvement.
  • Certification: ISO 27001 is a certifiable standard, meaning that organizations can obtain certification from an accredited third-party certification body. Other standards may be more focused on guidelines or best practices, without a formal certification process.
  • Flexibility: ISO 27001 is designed to be flexible and adaptable to the needs of different organizations, regardless of their size, industry, or specific information security risks. Other standards may be more prescriptive in their requirements, which may not be suitable for all organizations.
  • Compliance: While ISO 27001 is not a legal or regulatory requirement, it can help organizations demonstrate compliance with various information security regulations and laws. Other standards may be more closely tied to specific regulations or compliance requirements.

It's important to note that many information security standards have overlapping requirements and areas of focus, and organizations may choose to adopt multiple standards to address their specific needs. However, ISO 27001 is widely recognized as a comprehensive and adaptable standard for information security management.

Let's take a look at the main "rivals "! 🦾

But one thing should be made clear here. One standard does not exclude another standard! ON THE CONTRARY! 

Often a company needs multiple standards or mechanisms tailored to itself, such as TISAX®, which is only relevant to the automotive industry. Or Cyber Essentials, which is not just a UK issue. Cyber Essentials focuses on cybersecurity, whereas ISO 27001 prefers to deal in information security, which kind of covers cybersecurity as well.  And GDPR? GDPR compliance is basically mandatory if you operate in the EU area. 

Each industry and region brings its own regulations, laws and rules, and the type of company and service/product should also be considered. And most importantly, what kind of data is a company juggling? 

The financial company on the corner has more than one standard to meet, the bakery next door only has the tax office breathing down its neck and doesn't have to prove itself with certifications of this kind. If you sell a good croissant, the whole apartment block knows it. The only thing these two different businesses have in common is customer trust and satisfaction! Which in turn maintains and even drives sales! 

And without praising ISO 27001 to the skies.. but it remains the non-plus-ultra as a security bunker and this can also be expanded with pleasure, because all norms, standards and mechanisms were developed for one reason - to protect data and information, transactions and above all people! 

ISO 27001 vs. other information security standards

ISO 27001 vs. SOC 2

The main difference between ISO 27001 and SOC 2 is their focus. ISO 27001 focuses on establishing and maintaining an effective information security management system, while SOC 2 focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of an organization's controls against specific trust service criteria. 

While ISO 27001 provides a comprehensive approach to managing information security risks, SOC 2 can provide a detailed assessment of an organization's controls related to specific problem areas.

More specifically: 

ISO 27001 is designed to ensure that an organization's information security policies and procedures are effectively designed, implemented and maintained, and that the organization continuously improves its information security posture.

SOC 2, on the other hand, is a standard developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) that focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of an organization's controls over security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy. SOC 2 reports are often used by organizations to demonstrate to their customers and partners that they have effective controls in place to protect their data and systems.

ISO 27001 vs. GDPR

ISO 27001 is a globally recognized standard that provides a framework for managing information security risks, while GDPR is a regulation designed to protect the privacy and personal data of individuals in the European Union. While ISO 27001 is focused on establishing and maintaining an effective information security management system, GDPR requires organizations to protect the privacy and personal data of EU citizens and provides guidelines for doing so. The role of ISO 27001 in GDPR Implementation? Read on here!

ISO 27001 vs. TISAX®

As already mentioned, TISAX® likes to meet with automotive geeks. Founded in Germany, actually mandatory for suppliers and manufacturers worldwide if they want to have a chance on the market. Why TISAX® and ISO 27001 are an unbeatable Team in the automotive industry? Read on here!

ISO 27001 vs. HIPAA

The HIPAA standard stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a U.S. federal law passed in 1996.

The goal of HIPAA is to protect the privacy and security of individuals' health information, known as protected health information (PHI).

In summary, HIPAA is a U.S. law that focuses on protecting personal health information, while ISO 27001 is an international standard that focuses on information security management in general. Here too, then, an addition to a special topic of information security. Wanna learn more about Information Security in Healthcare? Read on here.

ISO 27001 vs. Cyber Essentials

The main difference between ISO 27001 and Cyber Essentials (a UK government-backed system) is the scope and level of detail. ISO 27001 provides a comprehensive approach to managing information security risks and requires the implementation of a wide range of security controls, while Cyber Essentials provides a set of basic controls that organizations can implement to protect themselves from common online threats. 

ISO 27001 is suitable for organizations of all sizes and types, while Cyber Essentials is aimed primarily at small and medium-sized businesses looking to improve their cybersecurity.

To name a few more that we won't go into in this blog: NIST-SP, NIST-CSF, HITRUST, PCI DSS, CIS, CSA, FINRA, copyright law, patent laws, IT law, IPR, etc.

As mentioned earlier, ISO 27001 is THE total package in information security that can be applied individually to any organization.

However, some companies may need additional frameworks, certifications, mechanisms or are required by regulations and laws to comply with a specific framework. It simply also closely depends on the industry in which the company operates, what data is worked with, and what the company's goal dictates!

Either way, schedule a consultation with us and find out what best fits your business. 🚀

Focus on building Security and run Compliance in the background

Secfix has the largest partner network of pentesting companies and auditors in EU and can reduce the time, effort and cost for an ISO 27001 certification with its software.

non-binding and free of charge

Jessica Doering

Jess is the marketing mind at Secfix. She loves every dog on this planet and is especially open-minded for any future-oriented inspiring humans and things that cross her path.

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