ISO 27001 vs. ISO 27002: Grasping the Essential Differences

What are the dissimilarities between ISO 27001 and ISO 27002 standards? How do they relate? Get information on ISO 27001 versus 27002 in this article.

There is no gainsaying that information security is more crucial than ever. This is because of the rise in digital threats, leaving unprotected businesses prone to cyber-attacks. But companies are not left without solutions. Online safety standards are put in place to help prevent data breaches and enhance protection. 

Two of such standards are ISO 27001 and 27002. However, there's often confusion about their roles and applications, leading organizations to miss out on leveraging their full benefits. This blog post explores ISO 27001 and ISO 27002 by diving into their scopes, key differences, and how they complement each other while also elucidating when to employ each standard. Let's dive in. 

What Is ISO 27001?

This international standard provides a framework for creating, implementing, maintaining, and continuously enhancing an Information Security Management System (ISMS). The primary purpose is to help firms safeguard their digital assets by identifying threats and putting in place suitable controls to handle and mitigate them. 

Scope of ISO 27001

ISO 27001 outlines the extent of your certification, covering various elements you aim to secure through your ISMS. This includes not only types of information but also processes, services, products, and even geographical locations. For example, for a SaaS platform, the scope could include design, development, maintenance, and other activities related to its services.

Key Components of ISO 27001

The main elements of this framework include:

  • Scope Definition: Identifying what information, departments, and processes will be included in the ISMS.
  • Risk Assessment: Evaluating the risks to the company's digital infrastructure and determining their impact and likelihood.
  • Risk Treatment Plan: Deciding on the appropriate controls to mitigate identified risks.
  • Policy and Objectives: Establishing safety policies and objectives aligned with the organization's business goals.
  • Control Selection: Implementing rules from Annex A or other sources to manage identified risks.
  • Training and Awareness: Educating staff about safety guidelines and procedures.
  • Monitoring and Measurement: Regularly reviewing the system's effectiveness and controls.
  • Internal Audits: Conducting audits to ensure compliance with the ISMS.
  • Management Review: Ensuring that the top management reviews the ISMS at planned intervals for continuous improvement. 
  • Documentation: Maintaining records to demonstrate compliance and to track performance metrics.

Certification Process

This process involves several steps, including the following:

Gap AnalysisAn initial review to identify the current state of the safety system and what needs to be done to achieve compliance.
Risk AssessmentA comprehensive evaluation of threats that can affect the business's digital assets.
ImplementationDeveloping and executing the ISMS based on the risk assessment and treatment plan.
Internal AuditAn internal review to ensure that the company meets all the requirements of ISO 27001 and that the controls are effective.
Management ReviewA formal review by the top management to ensure the ISMS aligns with the organization's strategic direction.
AuditConducted by an external body in a two-step process: Stage 1 is a preliminary review to check readiness for Stage 2, which is a detailed examination to verify ISMS compliance.
CertificationIf the organization passes the inspections, it receives the certificate, which is generally valid for three years.
Surveillance AuditsPeriodic audits are conducted to ensure ongoing compliance.

What Is ISO 27002?

It is a supporting guideline that provides best practices for implementing controls in an ISMS. Unlike ISO 27001, it is not a certifiable standard. Its primary goal is to offer detailed guidance on the factors that should be considered when setting up your security system, focusing on areas such as access control, encryption, and incident management.

What Are the Controls Outlined in ISO 27002?

ISO 27002 offers a structured approach to online safety by dividing its guidelines into various sections, each focusing on a specific area of concern. Here's a closer look at each segment:

  • Information Protection Policies: This part provides a framework for establishing robust policies that govern the overall approach to data safety within a business.
  • Organization of Information Security: It outlines the structural and functional responsibilities that ensure a cohesive approach to managing safety measures.
  • Human Resource Security: Focuses on the human element, describing processes to ensure staff awareness and compliance with established guidelines.
  • Asset Management: It offers a systematic procedure for pinpointing, organizing, and managing digital infrastructures, ensuring they are adequately protected.
  • Access Control: This section elaborates on mechanisms for regulating access to various types of information, ensuring only authorized personnel can access them.
  • Cryptography: It provides comprehensive guidelines on using encryption and other cryptographic methods to secure data.
  • Physical Environment: Focuses on the physical protection of assets and locations, outlining measures such as access restrictions and environmental controls.
  • Operations Safety: It offers best practices for the secure management and monitoring of daily activities, including data processing and storage.
  • Communications: Provides safeguards for protecting information during transmission over networks.
  • System Acquisition, Development, and Maintenance: It sets criteria for integrating safety features into systems and software from the initial stages of development.
  • Supplier Relationships: This part provides a framework for managing and securing third-party interactions, ensuring suppliers meet the firm's safety standards.
  • Incident Management: Outlines procedures for effective incident response, from identification to resolution and post-incident analysis.
  • Business Continuity: This section presents plans and techniques for maintaining safety measures during disruptions like natural disasters or cyber-attacks.
  • Compliance: It details the legal and contractual obligations an entity must adhere to, including data protection laws and industry-specific regulations.

ISO 27001 vs. ISO 27002: Exploring Key Differences

While ISO 27001 provides the "what" and "why" of data security, ISO 27002 provides the "how," offering best practices and controls to achieve the set objectives. The table below further provides an insight into the differences between both frameworks. 

CriteriaISO 27001ISO 27002
Nature of the StandardA certifiable standard for which organizations can attain accreditation.A guidance document that serves as a best practice guide for information security controls.
Primary FocusFocuses on the establishment and maintenance of an ISMS.It is often used by organizations that already have an ISMS in place and are looking to enhance their safety rules. 
RequirementsProvides mandatory requirements to which businesses must adhere.Offers a set of suggested controls but does not require them.
Risk ManagementIncludes a comprehensive risk assessment and treatment methodology.Does not include threat assessment or remediation plans; it focuses on the controls themselves.
ComplianceEnsures that firms are compliant with legal and regulatory requirements.Does not concentrate on compliance but can be used to support such efforts.
ScopeCovers the entire ISMS, not just individual controls.Focuses solely on individual data safety controls.
CertificationCompanies can obtain certificates to demonstrate compliance.It is not a certifiable standard; it serves as a guideline.
ImplementationRequires a holistic approach involving policies, processes, and people.Explains the technical aspects and execution of specific controls.
AuditingNeeds regular internal and external audits to maintain certification.Does not require auditing but can be used as a reference during ISO 27001 audits.
FlexibilityAllows for flexibility in the selection of controls based on risk assessment. Provides a fixed set of controls without considering the organization's specific risks.

How Do Both Framework Relate?

Both standards share a symbiotic relationship, each enhancing the effectiveness of the other. More specifically, ISO 27001 provides the overarching framework for building and sustaining an ISMS by outlining the requirements and controls that should be in place. On the other hand, ISO 27002 explains the details by suggesting a comprehensive set of controls and best practices to be implemented within the safety system. When used together, they offer a complete data protection package.

How ISO 27002 Controls Are Used Within the Framework of ISO 27001

Companies are required to utilize the ISO 27001 framework to identify their specific needs and risks. Upon identification, they can turn to ISO 27002 for comprehensive guidelines to mitigate these risks. Often, the controls from ISO 27002 are employed to populate the 'Statement of Applicability' (SoA) in ISO 27001, which is a crucial document detailing which controls are applicable and how they are implemented.

For example, suppose the risk assessment identifies data transmission as a vulnerability. In that case, the firm can refer to the 'Communications Security' section of ISO 27002 for specific controls like encryption protocols or secure channels. These are then integrated into the ISMS, and their effectiveness is monitored and reviewed as part of the ongoing maintenance process.

Scenarios Where ISO 27001 Is More Applicable

Given below are some of the use cases for this framework:

  • Regulatory Compliance: Companies, such as healthcare or financial services, subjected to stringent regulations often require a certifiable standard to demonstrate compliance. The procedure provides a clear pathway to meet these requirements.
  • Global Operations: For entities operating across multiple countries, it offers a universally recognized framework. This makes creating a consistent data protection strategy easier across diverse regulatory landscapes.
  • Stakeholder Assurance: When there is a need to provide stakeholders with a high level of assurance regarding cybersecurity, the certificate validates your company's commitment to data protection.
  • Start-Ups and Scale-Ups: Emerging businesses aiming to establish market trust can leverage ISO 27001 certification as a strong differentiator. It signals a mature approach to online safety, which can be incredibly worthwhile when competing with established players.

Scenarios Where ISO 27002 Serves as a Better Reference

Below are a few cases where you can find ISO 27002 more beneficial: 

  • Policy Development: When creating or revising internal safety policies and procedures, the in-depth controls outlined in it can serve as an excellent reference point.
  • Third-Party Relationships: Organizations often need to assess the defense posture of suppliers or partners. ISO 27002 provides a robust set of criteria for this evaluation, ensuring that third-party relationships do not introduce unacceptable risks.
  • Skill Development: For professionals looking to deepen their expertise, it offers a wealth of knowledge and serves as a training resource, helping professionals understand the nuances of various controls.

Achieve ISO 27001 and ISO 27002 Certification With Eden Data 

Ready to level up your cybersecurity? ISO 27001 certification is the surest path to more secure online business activities for your organization, but with more than 100 controls to manage, achieving compliance can be daunting. This is where Eden Data comes in. We help start-ups, cloud organizations, and scale-ups handle online safety, compliance, and data protection. 

As your cybersecurity sidekick, you can rely on us. Why? We will simplify the entire process while speeding up audits for faster certification and reliable security across all your systems. 

Our experts can help you with the following:

  • Gap analysis and audit roadmap
  • Policies, procedures, and controls
  • Overseeing audit readiness
  • Liaising with auditors
  • Training your employees 
  • Conducting internal audits

But wait! Wondering what about ISO 27002? We can help you with these:

  • Select controls that match your business risk
  • Update SoA
  • Set up policy refinement
  • Conduct internal audits for specific controls
  • Compliance mapping

But that is not all! We offer cybersecurity consulting services like assessment, advisory, oversight, and management and cover different industries, from IT services and consulting to healthcare, financial services, and biotech companies. 

Some of the benefits of partnering with us include:

  1. Access to a team of specialists, mostly Big 4 professionals and former military experts who have experience safeguarding companies across industries. 
  2. You know how much to pay! No long-term contracts or hidden fees. With Eden Data, you pay as you go! 
  3. We assess your security gaps and create customized plans to keep your digital assets safe. 

So, are you ready to level up your security game? Start your journey today! 

  • Explore our services here.
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  • Reach out to us to kickstart your journey here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between ISO 27001 and 27002?

ISO 27001 outlines requirements for an Information Security Management System (ISMS), focusing on risk management, while ISO 27002 provides best practice guidelines to support the ISMS implementation.

What is the meaning of ISO 27002?

ISO 27002 is an international standard that provides guidelines for implementing information security controls. It complements ISO 27001, which focuses on the development and maintenance of an ISMS.

Can you be ISO 27002 certified?

No, it is not a certifiable standard, but it serves as a guide for enforcing ISO 27001.

Why is ISO 27001 not enough?

While ISO 27001 provides the framework for an ISMS, it lacks detailed controls. ISO 27002 complements it by offering specific guidelines for carrying out effective security measures.

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