Reasons and Requirements for an ISMS
Jessica Doering

August 2, 2022



 min reading time

What is an ISMS and what are the requirements?

Cyberattacks are nothing new, but why is ISMS, as a sort of "solution" to them, booming in Google search results right now? 

Information Security Management System better known as “ISMS”.

The ISMS itself is also nothing brand new, but with the age of COVID, the security problems of corporate IT departments have changed. Cue remote access, cue boredom from hackers and professional data thieves, cue watching Netflix or hanging up on insecure websites with the company computer... oops.

Cyberattacks happen every second, in some cases all it takes is a click on the link in the promising email.... I mean, I won $10,000, all I have to do is click on the link, right? No, if you are lucky you will probably only get lifetime spam emails about the best high tech vacuum cleaner you can buy in Montana. If you're unlucky, it puts your  whole business at considerable risk. Absolutely not funny at all! 

But as a business owner, you don't have the ability to control Everyone and  Everything ... so there has to be at least some way to respond quickly if something goes wrong, right? Who wants to lose customers, or worse, go out of business altogether... Or get in trouble with some annoying lawyers. No offense for lawyers ;).  

Accordingly, the four domains of information security are hardware, software, processes and the most complex issue: humans - also known as employees. 

So, first of all: 

An ISMS makes a significant contribution to the fulfillment of corporate objectives. Possible risks are identified at an early stage and security gaps can be remedied in good time.

So why wouldn't you want something special like that in your (business) life? 

An ISMS sets itself the goal of continuously improving a company's information security in a risk-oriented manner. In this context, it is of great importance that an ISMS is aligned with the organization's business objectives in order to support and accompany their fulfillment. 

Probably the best known and most established ISMS in companies is described in the ISO/IEC 27001 standard. Good to know, but what do You actually have to deal with? 

What is an ISMS?

An information security management system (ISMS) is a documented management system consisting of security requirements and controls. More specifically, it is a set of policies and procedures for systematically managing an organization's sensitive data.

Within the ISMS, rules, procedures, measures and tools are defined with which information security can be managed, controlled, ensured, and optimized. Risks caused by IT should be identifiable and manageable. 

It also includes guidelines and rules of conduct for employees and partners with regard to their handling of information resources. The ISO 27001 standard specifies which documents must be available as a minimum. 

For a detailed list of the requirements, download the Secfix ISO 27001 Guide for Startups here.

What are the benefits of an ISMS?

‍An ISMS enables a company to demonstrate implementation and compliance by providing a structured approach to integrating information security into business processes and ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of corporate and customer data.

‍As a positive side effect, an ISMS increases the transparency of business processes, improves the external image through proof of implemented security measures, and effectively reduces costs in the company after the initial effort.

‍It is a centralized managed framework that helps you manage, monitor, review, and improve your information security practices from one place. Nice, sounds like one has an overview of things going on in the company.

Who is responsible for an ISMS?

An ISMS is often developed by a team formed by IT professionals and also including board members, department managers and other IT staff. This team is tasked with designing, implementing, and maintaining a set of policies that comply with ISO 27001, the international standard for information security management systems. Or you should contact us!

Some considerations for organizations thinking about the scope and design of their ISMS:

  • It is a strategic business decision that must support the strategic goals of the organization and should involve top management and key internal stakeholders, so it is not just an IT or information security decision.

  • The ISMS should be flexible as it needs to evolve in response to changes within the organization, the threat landscape, and the associated risks to the organization.

  • Areas outside the scope of the ISMS are naturally less trustworthy because they are not monitored and do not mitigate risk. Therefore, additional considerations and security controls may be required for any business processes that need to share information protected and governed by the ISMS beyond the trust boundary.

  • The interfaces and dependencies between your organization's activities and other organizations that are critical to business processes and services, such as suppliers and service providers, fall within the scope of the ISMS.

What are the requirements of an effective ISMS:

1. Scope of the ISMS

2. Create an ISMS Information Security Policy (ISMS Policy)

3. Execute a risk assessment

4. Develop a risk treatment plan

5. Create an asset inventory

6. Conduct an internal audit

7. Conduct an external audit - Stage I and Stage II

8. Conduct a Management Review

Again, for detailed listing and explanation download our ISO 27001 guide right now. 

We can help you building your ISMS from the ground up, all the way to ISO 27001 certification! 

We also promise you that you will not get emails about vacuum cleaners…

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.

ISO 27001