How to Overcome the Challenges of ISO 27001 Certification

A business seeking ISO 27001 certification will face several major and minor hurdles to its goal. Several of these companies give up, considering that the certification might be more trouble than it’s worth. There are two ways to view certification hurdles. The first is that it makes the achievement of certification a meaningful experience. If it were so simple that anyone could achieve it, it wouldn’t be worth anything. The second and more critical ideal is that difficult certifications show competence and mastery of a particular field. ISO 27001 certification, according to the International Organization for Standardization, is a framework for developing an information security management system (ISMS). Businesses that manage to achieve this certification show their dedication to creating a robust information management system that remains secure and has contingencies in place to keep it that way. But this is no easy task. What is the most challenging part of getting ISO 27001 Certification?

Risk Assessment and Management

One of the core competencies in ISO 27001 certification has to do with risk management. For a business to cope with the current threats to the industry, it must first realize where these threats come from. Assessing and treating information security risks across the organization is crucial to meeting the requirements of ISO 27001. Risk assessment, therefore, needs to be the first and most vital pillar in a business’s ISO 27001 certification attempt. Unfortunately, some businesses start the process without conducting proper research into the threats to their own organization. The result is a company that’s woefully underprepared to deal with the demands of the standard. More often than not, this leads to businesses quitting before they achieve certified status.

Lack of Proper Planning

Preparation is crucial to achieving any goals, and this is doubly true for ISO certification. Planning requires a company to map out their path from uncertified to certified, going through each step of the process and outlining ways to tackle the challenges the standard presents. Lack of adequate planning leads to complications. While some companies see planning as an unnecessary time-sink, others realize how crucial it is in a complex undertaking like ISO certification. The businesses that realize how vital planning is to reaching their goals are the ones who manage to achieve them.

Performance Evaluation and Self Improvement

I’ve mentioned the benefits that ISO 27001 offers to a business before. Many of these bonuses come from the fact that self-improvement is hard-wired into the standard. The ISO requires that companies inspect their ISMS and develop ways to improve them throughout their operation. Unfortunately, many businesses trip in this hurdle. Failure at this critical task might be due to internal auditors not looking at the company’s efforts objectively. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the business doesn’t need to improve what it’s doing. The problem with this shortsightedness is that it could extend the time the company needs to achieve certification. Calling in an external consultant can help to mitigate this issue.

Access Control

An ISMS requires a business to have appropriately managed access controls. This access control requirement ensures that individuals can’t access data without the proper credentials. Unfortunately, many companies don’t have a robust access control system in place. Despite the criticality of this point, many companies overlook it, with roles not being adequately defined within the access database. This issue is a technical one that should be addressed before the business seeks external audits for its certification.

Overcoming These Challenges

While many other hurdles exist that a business needs to vault over to get to ISO 27001 certification, these are the most pressing issues. In most cases, dealing with these issues requires outside input. Hiring external consultants can go a long way towards providing the perspective a business needs to properly approach the problem and achieve certification in a reasonable timeline. Contact Sync Resource today to schedule a meeting with a professional ISO consultancy group!

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founder of sync resource

About Author

Sunita Verma, Founder and President of Sync Resource started the company in 2009 with a vision to provide management consulting to small & medium size businesses around the country.
Sunita holds a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering(India) with prestigious gold medal by then President of India and renowned Scientist Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
As an active philanthropist she believes in pay it forward and is a contributing member of charitable organizations like St. Jude’s Foundation and North Fulton Charities.


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