Most organizations have realized the need to have a strict and structured information security management system (ISMS) to protect their vast data and informational assets. Information security risks are growing in businesses every day in the form of cyber hacking, data manipulations, data losses, and so on. ISO 27001 certification helps organizations take their ISMS to one step further. It explains the crucial regulatory guidelines for businesses to protect their information assets or data stored in multiple ways, such as paper files, computers or IT devices, software applications, online datasheets, etc.

However, the ISO 27001 standard defines many requirements or regulatory guidelines in the interest of ensuring information security in businesses. Therefore, it is the responsibility of top leaders or senior management to make sure that their implemented ISMS is appropriate for their specific informational assets, data storage devices, and associated risks. They are also responsible to assess and cross-check the ISMS as many times as possible to ensure that it purely complies with ISO 27001 requirements.

In short, reviewing the ISMS is necessary by senior management of organizations to make it effective. They will also be able to take strategic decisions to further improve its purpose. This article explains why management review is considered to be a crucial step for ISO 27001 certification and strengthening the functioning of ISMS.

Right Implementation

Reviewing by management will help information security management officials to implement the ISMS correctly. Just like ISO 14001 certification or any other integrated management standard, ISO 27001 also needs to be implemented in the context of the organization and the needs of interested parties, including customers, employees, suppliers, and associated members who share confidential information with the organization. A review will ensure the effectiveness of ISMS implementation by helping staff to align the process with the documented ISMS, which is formulated according to ISO 27001 requirements. Also, conducting a management review during the ISMS implementation phase will help to pace the process and determine the next goals. They will ensure certain implementation milestones are achieved or the predetermined timeline is followed, which will help information security staff to move in the right direction.

All-round Assessment

Formal review of the ISMS by management officials will give an overall view of the system to information security staff, who can then decide on a further course of action. Reviewers will shed light on changes/improvements achieved in external and internal information security aspects. They will give feedback on the performance of your ISMS by examining IT systems and data processes, reviewing risks, and ensuring there are enough security controls to prevent them. Conducting a comprehensive review of ISMS helps the management team see whether its scope is effectively integrated into every process, department, system, function, service, or product of the organization. So, it allows information security staff to learn the validity of their ISMS approach and get closer to complying with ISO 27001 standard.

Continual Improvement

Regularly reviewing the ISMS by the central management board is a useful tool that makes the ISMS efficient and compliant with ISO 27001, and it also helps to continually improve or strengthen information security. Roles of designated staff around the ISMS are evaluated and insights about ISMS performance are presented in reports. Anyone from the ISMS team can access those reports and they can collaborate to find out new actions, security controls, or policies of further data security. In other words, reviewing with top officials and generating reports on your ISMS performance will show you more opportunities for improving the scope of ISMS.

With the importance of management review for ISMS is now established, there is the big question regarding the frequency or intervals for reviews. Experts of information security suggest that a larger interval period allows the chance of inconsistencies in the ISMS to increase. Therefore, conducting monthly or bi-monthly reviews is always recommended. It is also because there are more challenges in cyber-security and IT service operations, with new vulnerabilities, hacks, or thefts occurring more often. The management board must review the ISMS regularly and thoroughly, conform its implementation with ISO 27001 certification, and ensure adequate information security in their business.

Author's Bio: 

Damon Anderson is a veteran ISO 27001 certification consultant who provides advice and resources to businesses on strengthening their ISMS and gaining stakeholder’s confidence. He is also the supervising consultant of a renowned ISO consultancy agency that helps businesses in different areas with major certifications, including ISO 9001, ISO 45001, ISO 31000, ISO 14000 certification, and so on.

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