what does isms stand for in the ISO security standards

What does ISMS stand for in ISO security standards?


If you have begun to implement an ISO 27001 management system, you have surely come across the term Information Security Management System or ISMS. Although the term seems pretty vague, it is the main output of implementing an ISO 27001 framework. In the simplest of terms, an information security management system is a set of regulations and rules that an organisation requires to establish security across its processes. Nevertheless, one may still wonder what exactly is ISMS in ISO 27001, and how do you set an ISMS policy? The following article of Edara Systems will define an ISO 27001-based ISMS, its components, its purpose and how it helps to manage complex security systems.

What is ISO 27001 ISMS requirements and its 6-part planning process?

ISO 27001 was developed as a framework for establishing, implementing, operating, monitoring, reviewing, maintaining and improving an information security management system. The standard utilises a top-down, risk-based approach to create a technology-neutral environment. The standard specification defines a six-part planning process to enhance information security through the development of the following:

  • A definite security policy
  • A clear scope of the ISMS
  • An in-depth risk assessment
  • A definite plan to manage identified risks
  • Appropriate control objectives
  • A statement of applicability

Essentially, the standard describes a comprehensive set of information security control aimed at establishing good security practices within organisations.

ISO 27001 ISMS requirements

What does ISMS stand for in the ISO security standards?

The ISO 27001 contains a detailed description of the development of the ISMS. The ISMS can be considered to be a systematic approach for managing and protecting an organisation’s information. If you are interested in ISMS and ISO 2700, you might want to know about ISO 14001 too. For developing your organisation, read more about ISO 14001 audit.

Components of ISMS in ISO/IEC 27001

During the implementation of the ISMS, it is necessary to understand how to correctly establish each ISO 27001 policy or procedure. The ISMS represents a set of policies, procedures and various controls that set information security rules in an organisation. The objectives of the ISMS holistically include the following:

  1. Identification of the stakeholders and their expectations in terms of information security.
  2. Identification of existing risks for the organisation’s information.
  3. Defining controls or safeguards or other mitigation methods to meet the identified expectations and handle potential risks.
  4. Setting clear objectives on what needs to be achieved concerning information security.
  5. Implementing all controls and other risk treatment methodologies.
  6. Continuously measuring the efficiency of the implemented controls to evaluate if they are performing as expected.
  7. Making continuous improvements to enhance the existing quality of the ISMS.

These seven methods clearly says that why ISMS is very valuable. If you are tend to get this certification, first you have to read about ISO 27001 audit cost.

ISO/IEC 27001

ISO 27001 framework; How does an ISMS work in ISO 27001?

For collecting more information about what does ISMS stand for in the ISO security standards, you have to know how ISO 27001 work. The heart of ISO 27001 is risk management. The standard gives you a framework that organisations can utilise to decide on appropriate protection. In this manner, the standard helps organisations perform a customised risk assessment and risk treatment. In other words, the ISMS allows organisations to have a systematic overview of the potential risks, helping them decide which safeguards to implement as anticipatory interventions. Hence, the type of control is decided based on the results of the risk assessment and the requirements of the interested parties. For each risk that needs to be treated, a combination of different types of controls can be implemented. A list of controls is provided in Annex A.

ISO 27001 framework

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Several controls are needed for each risk; ISO 27001 standards list

A common misconception is that every risk requires a single type of control. However, the ISMS suggests organisations use a unique combination of controls for the identified risks. Let us take an example to explain why a combination of controls works better than a single control. Imagine that you frequently leave your laptop in your car. So, the probability of your laptop getting stolen increases. In such a case, how can you decrease the risk to your information? Risk to your information can be decreased by applying several controls like not leaving the laptop in the car, protecting your laptop with a password, and encrypting your disks. These layers of protection safeguard your information and prevent unauthorised access, even if your laptop gets stolen. Similarly, it is necessary to create several layers of control to mitigate potential risks that may develop in an organisation. Examples of such layers include conducting an employee awareness programme to increase the knowledge about information security obligations, creating definite terms of accepted usage and defining the terms of using personal devices.

Managing complex security systems; ISO 27001 requirements

The only method to manage all these different levels of safeguards is to set clear and definite security processes. The development of clear, concise and comprehensive processes is called a process approach in ISO management. A process approach is crucial for making the connection between responsibilities and technical controls. Only when employees have clarity about their duties and tasks, will they have a foundation for enabling and interacting with the security controls.

ISO 27001 requirements

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The purpose of ISMS after knowing about ISO 27001 meaning

In this article we talked about ISO 27001 and what does ISMS stand for in the ISO security standards. The purpose of an ISMS is to provide encompassing protection to all levels of information security. The implication is that ISMS security controls are not only technical or IT related, but also contain a combination of documenting software and training elements. Documenting procedures help to establish organisational control, software tools help to implement controls in information technology and training controls help to manage human resources.

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