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Which Industries Require ISO 27001 Certification



The rise of remote work and the digitisation of many processes have opened up the world more than ever before. However, a more interconnected digital business landscape means that the importance of information security is also rising at a significant rate.

Worldwide cybercrime costs are expected to hit $10.5 trillion annually as soon as 2025, with over 2,200 attacks occurring across the globe every single day. As the number of attacks continues to grow and become even more sophisticated, it’s vital that companies have robust security measures in place to safeguard their information and that of their customers.

This is where ISO 27001 comes in. ISO 27001 is an international standard that outlines requirements for any organisation to build, maintain, and continually improve an information security management system (ISMS). It consists of a framework of security controls designed to protect information, analyse potential risks, and outline all internal processes.

Understanding ISO 27001 Certification

If your company is managing any form of digital data, it’s vitally important that you have a robust framework in place for keeping it safe and secure. This is where an ISMS comes in. An ISMS involves a systematic approach where all processes, technology, and individual stakeholders are aligned to a consistent methodology to effectively manage your level of digital risk. 

If your ISMS is the foundation, ISO 27001 provides the building blocks for an up-to-date and secure system. It provides best practices that are constantly being updated to match the evolving world of cybercrime and relies on internally-driven risk assessments that allow your organisation to consistently identify any new security threats and adjust to deal with them in real-time.

ISO 27001 is quite wide-reaching in its scope, meaning it can sometimes be difficult to understand exactly what’s required to become compliant. The core documentation requirements are extensive, but some of the key areas to focus on initially are:

  • Defining the scope of your ISMS
  • Definition of security roles and responsibilities
  • Inventory of assets
  • Incident management procedure
  • Legal, regulatory, and contractual requirements
  • Records of training, skills, experience and qualifications
  • Internal audit programme and results

Who Needs ISO 27001 Certification

While data security should be an important consideration for any business, there are certain industries where it’s critical. Examples include healthcare or government agencies, both of which handle extremely sensitive information. Data breaches in either of these industries could lead to significant violations of privacy, the potential for identity theft, or even the compromise of individual or national safety.

ISO 27001 can adapt to the needs of each specific industry to ensure they get the protection required. In healthcare, for example, an ISMS can be tailored to comply with specific regulations such as GDPR in Europe or HIPAA in the US. Likewise, government agencies can place a heavier emphasis on access controls or encryption to keep highly classified information safe.

ISO 27001 is also extremely relevant for individual companies across all sectors and of any size. Larger enterprises can ensure global regulatory compliance across a variety of regions, while also extending their security requirements across their entire global supply chain. Medium-sized businesses can also benefit, due to the highly scalable nature of ISO 27001 allowing it to grow as they do.

Is ISO 27001 Mandatory or Recommended?

ISO 27001 is a voluntary standard, meaning that there is no outright legal requirement to engage with it. However, some industry-specific regulations essentially mandate its use — often indirectly.

One example is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the US. This is a federal law that operates to protect patient healthcare information. It doesn’t explicitly state that ISO 27001 compliance is required, but many of its guiding principles align with those of ISO 27001. By complying with ISO 27001, healthcare institutions are already a long way towards also being HIPAA compliant, particularly around areas such as integrity and confidentiality.

For those operating in verticals outside of those that may indirectly mandate ISO 27001 to be a requirement, there are still plenty of advantages to voluntarily engaging with the standard. Outside of the fact that being ISO 27001 compliant will provide a significant boost to your overall digital security, it also brings a hugely positive reputational impact. 

Security-conscious clients are much more likely to opt for your services upon seeing your dedication to continued security, giving you an advantage in any bidding process. It also allows trust to develop between you and your clients, particularly when dealing with sensitive data.

Samples of ISO 27001 Usage

Certain industries will likely demand that ISO 27001 be introduced despite it not being a legal requirement. Two such industries are the finance industry and the telecommunications industry. Both face a set of extremely specific challenges that ISO 27001 can help address and mitigate.

In finance, many organisations are classed as high-value targets for cybercriminals. The sensitive nature handled by financial companies, coupled with the highly regulated nature of the industry, means that there are extremely strict requirements around the protection of customer data. ISO 27001 helps here as it allows these institutions to continuously stress-test and subsequently update their security features to keep ahead of any potential threats.

Similarly, the telecommunications industry is also a common target for cybercrime due to the critical nature of much of its infrastructure. Companies must be able to ensure the safe transmission of data across their communication networks. ISO 27001 aids with advanced data protection, while also establishing clear and secure supply chain practices to minimise any potential data leaks.

Making Informed Decisions

Adopting ISO 27001 is a way to instantly improve your data security while also communicating to your clients and stakeholders that you truly care about the safety of their data. It’s a proactive and adaptable solution for those dealing with diverse security challenges, and it can change and grow with your business as you scale.

You should be constantly assessing your own information security needs and regulatory requirements already, but DigitalXRAID can help simplify the process for you. We provide tailored guidance and support to anyone looking to complete their ISO 27001 certification. Get in touch today for a consultation, and take the first steps on your journey to a safer and more secure digital future.

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