Information Security Management System (ISMS)

What is an ISMS?

An information security management system (ISMS) involves putting policies, procedures, and controls into writing to create an official system that instructs, monitors, and improves information security. An ISMS will also cover topics such as how to protect sensitive information from being stolen or destroyed, and detail all the mitigation necessary to achieve infosec goals.

What are the goals to aim for regarding information security management?

The ultimate goal of an ISMS is to minimize risk to your organization’s information and ensure business continuity.

The three universal goals of Information Security are the triage:

  1. Confidentiality – This governs access management, authorization, encryption- anything related to ensuring data privacy.
  2. Integrity – Information must be guarded so that it should not be changed unwillingly or by the wrong party, and should remain true to its form, content and intent.
  3. Availability – A vital part of information security is ensuring that information is reliable. It should be accessible as needed by the right people and in the right context.

Goals of an ISMS include:

  • Protection of information – As spoken about above, your priority will always be the protection of your company or customers information 
  • Meeting compliance requirements – Non-compliance with industry laws or regulations can end in costly legal fees, fines or damage and reputation control. An ISMS will show you clearly where your levels of compliance are holding and where they need to be aligned.
  • Maintaining Business Continuity – Cyber threats and negative incidents may happen, but having an information security plan in place will minimize damage, breaches and long lasting effects. Most importantly, it will minimize loss of productivity and have your business continue its operations as quickly as possible.
  • Evidence of Information Security – A well written and organized ISMS can verify that due diligence has been carried out and all efforts made to uphold high levels of security.
  • Cost effectiveness – Prioritize remediation efforts, use resources effectively, invest efficiently.

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The Difference Between Information Security and IT Security

It is important to note that an ISMS isn’t about defining a security program for the Information Technology department. IT is all about the storage and sharing of digital information. IT security is all about securing the networks, systems, hardware, and software that make up the IT department. Information Security is all about protecting the information housed on those networks, systems, hardware, software etc. They may share certain controls but are protecting separate assets of an organization.

Planning an ISMS

The ISO 27000 series are ideal frameworks to use for creating ISMS plans. They are flexible and built for all types of organizations and all sizes. The two most popular standards are ISO 27001 and ISO 27002. They establish the procedures and requirements for creating an information security management plan.

Step 1: As with any project, define your scope. 

Decide which part of your organization necessitates an ISMS, according to compliance requirements, safety and security. 

Step 2: Information Security Risk Assessment

In order to plan a comprehensive and relevant ISMS, a thorough infosec risk assessment is necessary. Prior to detailing the required policies and mitigation measures (also known as “internal controls”), it is important to be able to recognize the complete spectrum of risks that the business and its data may encounter in the near future. 

An information security risk assessment will assess the effectiveness of your current system, determine security gaps, identify vulnerabilities and give you an overall picture of the work that needs to be done to achieve the necessary level of information security you’re aiming for. 

Taking this risk assessment and analyzing the results will help you to prioritize tasks, decide which risks are not vital to information security objectives and simultaneously allow you to see if you are meeting compliance requirements.

Step 3: Determine and build policies, procedures, processes, workflows, and implement controls to further the company’s data security objectives.

The right organizational and technical measures for risk avoidance or mitigation must then be chosen and put into place based on the prior risk assessment. This is where the Information Security frameworks come in handy. Clearly identifying roles and responsibilities is another aspect of this.

Step 4: Test, test, test.

Review the controls, policies and procedures to ensure they are achieving their purpose! The ISMS process must be repeated if the review of the implemented measures shows flaws or new risks have been discovered. This allows the ISMS to be regularly adjusted to new circumstances or requirements, enhancing information security inside the organization.

Using cyber security management software

In order to know that you haven’t overlooked any important infosec considerations, consider using a cybersecurity management platform that automatically leads you through a thorough cyber risk assessment, lays out the results for easy quick analysis and prioritization, and keeps you compliant with relevant laws and regulations. 

Using a modern cybersecurity management tool such as Centraleyes ensures you’ll produce a rigorous and robust information security management plan. Look out for tools that will automate data collection and analysis, generate reports for informed decision making, and leverage the AI-powered remediation insights and actionable steps. 

Onboard in minutes and begin meeting your ISMS compliance today with the Centraleyes platform.

Start Getting Value With
Centraleyes for Free

See for yourself how the Centraleyes platform exceeds anything an old GRC
system does and eliminates the need for manual processes and spreadsheets
to give you immediate value and run a full risk assessment in less than 30 days

Want to talk to Centraleyes about Information Security Management System (ISMS)?

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