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    June 28, 2024

    10 Steps to ISO 27001 Certification for Your Manufacturing Company

    Manufacturing companies understand the importance of robust cybersecurity to protect infrastructure, operational technology, supply chains, and IoT devices from ransomware, sabotage, and IP theft. The proliferation of connected technology in manufacturing has magnified the challenge of threat detection and infrastructure protection. It has also increased the need for manufacturing firms to verify their security posture to partners, stakeholders, and regulators. This is where ISO 27001 comes in.

    What is ISO 27001?

    The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent, non-governmental organization that works across borders to establish standards in everything from date and time formats to lab testing, instrument calibration, and even the shape and size of shipping containers.

    The ISO 27000 family of standards was originally published jointly by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). It addresses IT security, cybersecurity, and privacy protection. ISO 27001 (also referred to as ISO/IEC 27001) is considered the world's best-known standard for information security management systems (ISMS).

    ISO standards for IT provide a framework for integrating information security and data privacy into organizational processes, information systems, and management controls. By seeking and acquiring certification, manufacturing firms are able to demonstrate that they’ve met the highest international standards based on a rigorous audit and review process. 

    The difference certification makes

    Implementing ISO 27001 standards for information security helps reduce vulnerability to cyberattacks and provides mechanisms for responding to security risks—ensuring that assets remain intact, confidential, and available. ISO standards also help people, processes, and technology work together to secure information and manage risk. Manufacturing companies are seeing several benefits to ISO certification:

    Reassure customers and stakeholders – You can show off your certification. Manufacturers tout ISO certification in marketing materials and websites to demonstrate that information, products, and processes are being protected.

    Meet regulatory and legal requirements – Certification helps your company comply with data protection and privacy regulations, including the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

    Set yourself apart – You can gain a competitive advantage by demonstrating ISO 27001 certification when bidding on projects.

    Mitigate risk – A risk-based approach to information security helps you proactively identify and mitigate potential threats that could result in costly and time consuming security incidents.

    Be prepared – The ISO 27001 standard includes incident management controls that manufacturing firms can use to handle security incidents promptly and efficiently in order to minimize their impact.

    The certification process

    In order to be ISO 27001 certified, your company needs to have your Information Security Management System (ISMS) certified compliant by an accredited registrar or other official body. The process involves three stages:

    Preliminary review of your ISMS – This includes checks for the existence, completeness, and employee understanding of key documentation, including your information security policy, Statement of Applicability (SoA), and Risk Treatment Plan (RTP). Auditors will decide if you’re ready to move to the next stage, or if there are any issues outstanding.

    The formal compliance audit – Your ISMS will be tested against ISO 27001 requirements. Auditors will seek evidence to confirm that your management system has been properly designed and implemented, and is in fact in operation. Passing this stage results in your ISMS being certified compliant with ISO 27001.

    Ongoing follow-up reviews or audits – Your auditors will return periodically to confirm that you remain in compliance so that you can continue to demonstrate up-to-date certification. Maintenance requires periodic re-assessment audits to confirm that the ISMS continues to operate as specified and intended. At a minimum, these reviews should occur annually.

    10 steps to certification

    ISO 27001 certification isn’t just a matter of checking a lot of boxes. It’s a process that involves people throughout your organization. When you build out your Information ISMS, it will be unique to the needs of your company – and it needs to be able to evolve as your needs evolve. Here are ten steps to certification:

    Step 1: Secure company buy-in – You won’t be able to simply assign this task to a lone analyst and expect it to get done. You’re going to have to engage your board, leadership team, IT, and colleagues who might be impacted like operations and HR. Discuss the benefits of certification as well as their vision, concerns, and pain points.

    Step 2: Scope the project – Determine the scope of your ISMS, and define the boundaries and assets to be covered. Of course, scoping will include budgeting for the certification process. You’ll also want to select an accredited certification body. Consider getting quotes from multiple vendors to find the right fit.

    Step 3: Risk assessment and gap analysis – Conduct a risk assessment to identify and evaluate the company’s information security risks. Use a gap analysis to compare your existing information security practices against the requirements of ISO 27001. This will help you identify areas for improvement.

    Step 4: Create policies – Information security policies form the foundation of your ISO 27001 certification. These policies will be specific to your company and based on industry best practices. You can compile or update your own set of policies or purchase pre-written templates.

    Step 5: Build your Information Security Management System – ISO 27001 revolves around the implementation of an effective ISMS. While the ISO standard outlines the requirements, the art lies in how you address them for your organization. ISMS toolkits are available to fast-track the process.

    Step 6: Document your information security processes – Even if your processes are already in place, you need to write them down. For small companies, you may only need a single Information Security Operations Manual.

    Step 7: Implement controls – Included in the ISO 27001 standards is Annex A, which  provides a list of common controls that companies are expected to consider and implement as appropriate. Annex A contains a list of 93 security controls grouped into four themes: Organizational, people, physical, and technological.

    Step 8: Conduct internal audits – Once your policies, ISMS, controls, and processes are in place, it's time to conduct an internal audit. Use an ISO 27001 audit spreadsheet to check that everything is working as planned. Internal audits help identify any remaining gaps or areas for improvement before the certification audit takes place.

    Step 9: Undergo the certification audit – The certification audit is divided into two stages. The first stage focuses on the ISMS, including policies and documentation. Then you will be asked to demonstrate how your processes and controls operate in practice. The auditor will ask you to log into systems, walk through steps, and answer questions to verify that everything is working as laid out in your ISMS.

    Step 10: Celebrate your certification – Congratulations! Celebrate this significant achievement with your team, your partners, and your customers. Then update your marketing and sales materials to showcase your certification.

    By following this guide and dedicating the necessary resources, your manufacturing company can achieve ISO 27001 certification and demonstrate your commitment to robust cybersecurity practices.

    Blumira and your ISMS

    An indispensable part of a cybersecurity plan or ISMS for manufacturing companies is a 24/7 threat detection and response solution like Blumira. The Blumira SIEM + XDR provides comprehensive cybersecurity coverage with multiple available integrations. And since it’s cloud-based and backed by teams of cybersecurity experts, new detections are always being added to keep up with emerging threats.

    Manufacturing firms appreciate that they can get started with Blumira in a day rather than having to hire an expensive consulting team to make it work. Blumira automations and response playbooks check off a lot of requirements for risk monitoring and threat mitigation. And the platform’s logging and reporting capabilities help streamline compliance audits.

    ISO certification can benefit your manufacturing firm in many ways, but it’s going to be an undertaking. Blumira can help. Let us show you how our solution fits into your ISMS, or try Blumira for free today.

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