Maintaining ISO 27001 compliance: Our top tips

Information security is a growing concern for organisations, and as we have seen time and again, the fallout from data breaches can be catastrophic.

In just a few months, we have seen large-scale data breaches from well-known companies such as Telstra, Optus and Medibank.

In September of 2022, Optus fell victim to a cyber attack that resulted in about 10 million customers having their personal data stolen, including names, home addresses, passport numbers and driving licence numbers.

The following month, a cyber attack targeting Medibank led to the release of up to 10 million customers’ private data on the dark web. The company is now facing a second class action as a result of the breach.

Soon after, the personal information of more than 130,000 Telstra customers was exposed in a data breach when customer details were wrongly made available on the online White Pages.

Data breaches can be incredibly damaging to companies and, importantly, their customers who have their confidential information stolen. A breach damages a company’s reputation by causing a poor experience for customers, and the consequences of this can lead to long-term business loss.

The Australian Government has also recently introduced a new privacy penalty bill, which will see companies that fail to adequately protect customer data face much higher penalties. For repeated or serious breaches, maximum penalties have risen from $2.22 million to whichever of the following is higher:

  • $50 million;
  • Three times the value of any benefit obtained through the misuse of information;
  • 30% of a company’s adjusted turnover in the relevant period.

As cyber threats continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, the risk of inaction is too big for companies to ignore. Many companies are opting to get ISO 27001 certified as a way to strengthen their information security efforts and protect their confidential data.

If you’re one of them, avoid falling into the trap of “setting and forgetting” systems and instead maintain your ISO 27001 compliance with these tips.

1. Regularly audit your information security system

Completing comprehensive audits of your information security systems is essential for maintaining ISO 27001 certification. By helping you methodically identify any gaps or vulnerabilities in your security controls, it allows you to proactively take corrective action before a breach occurs.

2. Make ISO 27001 a part of “the way things are done” at your business

Compliance isn’t something to address periodically or only before an audit. It requires continuous effort from everyone in an organisation. By embedding security controls and practices into your company’s culture and operations, you can ensure that they are consistently followed and upheld by all employees, reducing the risk of non-compliance or security incidents. Ensuring that employees receive adequate training and understand their roles and responsibilities in maintaining compliance is one way to do this.

3. Monitor how ISO 27001 fits into your overall security efforts

Regularly reviewing and aligning ISO 27001 with your other security measures ensures that all efforts are integrated and working together effectively. This robust approach to information security management makes it easier to identify any gaps or redundancies in your security controls, which in turn facilitates a more efficient and effective process.

4. Document all relevant actions or changes and keep documentation up-to-date

This includes documenting any changes or updates to your security controls, policies, procedures and risk assessments. Having accurate and up-to-date documentation helps to ensure that you are meeting the necessary compliance requirements and can assist with identifying any areas that require improvement. It also provides evidence of your company’s commitment to maintaining a strong information security management system.

5. Correct any issues when they appear

Promptly identifying and addressing any non-conformities or security incidents as they arise prevents them from becoming bigger problems and demonstrates your company’s commitment to protecting personal data. This involves conducting root cause analysis, implementing corrective actions and continuously monitoring the effectiveness of the corrective measures.

6. Keep senior management informed and engaged with information security systems

Senior management plays a critical role in ensuring that the company’s security goals are aligned with its overall business objectives. Regularly communicating the status of the information security management system, including any potential risks or threats, to senior management helps to ensure they can make informed decisions regarding resource allocation, risk mitigation and overall security strategy.

7. Continue to communicate regularly with employees about any issues, opportunities or improvements

It’s important to involve all employees in the information security management system and keep them informed of any changes or updates to security policies, procedures or controls. Regular communication encourages a culture of security throughout the organisation while also giving employees a chance to provide valuable insights into potential vulnerabilities or areas for improvement, which can strengthen the overall security approach.

Contact us about maintaining ISO 27001 compliance

Get in touch with our team of consultants across Australia for assistance maintaining your ISO 27001 certification. We help businesses in a wide range of industries develop lean, low-burden systems.

Alternatively, ask about our compliance softwarelegislative updatesISO gap analysis or integrated management system development services.

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