Cyberattacks are on the rise. Every month it seems like another major business gets hit, with their data and customers compromised at an ever-growing cost. But more and more it's not just the large, global conglomerates who are at risk — small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) are increasingly becoming targets as well. While a recent survey showed two-thirds of organizations with over 1,000 employees were hit by cyberattacks in 2022, SMBs aren’t faring much better with a reported 43% of all cyberattacks targeting them. And that number is expected to rise in the coming years.
These attacks not only cause significant disruption to business operations, but they are also affecting the corporate bottom line. Last year, the average cost of a cyberattack in the US hit $9.4M along with all the additional time and effort spent to deal with the damages done. Because of this growing problem, many businesses are actively seeking ways to signal to their potential customers and attackers that they take cybersecurity seriously. One way for organizations of all sizes to show this commitment is to gain ISO 27001 certification.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a multinational federation of standards organizations from 168 countries around the world. They serve as a forum for members to collaborate in the development and promotion of worldwide standards for technology, scientific testing, and working conditions. These approved standards are then sold by the ISO to global accrediting organizations, issuing certifications to businesses and institutions that apply for them and then ensuring they comply with these standards.
Currently, ISO 27001 is the industry’s leading standard for information security management systems. Today, some of the world’s largest technology companies have ISO 27001 certification, including Microsoft, Verizon, Apple, Google, Intel, and Amazon. But it’s not just for the larger, global conglomerates. ISO 27001 can provide companies of any size with guidance for establishing, implementing, and maintaining their systems to manage risks related to the security of the company’s data.
Additionally, ISO 27001 promotes a holistic approach to information security by vetting people, policies, and technology. When an information security management system is implemented according to this standard, it becomes an essential tool for risk management, cyber-resilience, and operational excellence. According to the ISO, implementation of their 27001 standard helps organizations in multiple ways by:
- Reducing vulnerability to the growing threat of cyberattacks, and helping companies respond to evolving security risks
- Ensuring assets such as financial statements, intellectual property, and employee data entrusted to third parties remain undamaged, confidential, and available
- Providing a centrally-managed framework that secures all information in one place, including paper-based, cloud-based, and digital data
- Preparing people, processes, and technology throughout an organization to face technology-based risks and other threats
- Saving money by increasing efficiency and reducing expenses for ineffective cyberdefense technology
The ISO standard also benefits companies by signaling to potential customers that they take cybersecurity seriously. Certification demonstrates that a vendor is committed to constantly investing in the infrastructure, staff, and policies needed to ensure that their customers’ data remains safe and secure. This is especially important for businesses that provide IT or technology services to other organizations like MSPs, SaaS vendors, or cloud hosting organizations. Also, clients working in extra sensitive industries like healthcare and defense are often required by law to work with IT vendors who maintain ISO 27001 certification for compliance reasons. That means certification can bolster a company’s reputation in these sectors while opening them up to new customers and markets.
Miradore, the mobile device management company I work for, recently received its own ISO 27001 certification. Initially, we did this to show our commitment to strong cybersecurity practices and demonstrate our commitment to protecting our customers. But we had also heard from many potential customers that they wanted to work with us but needed an ISO 27001–certified vendor. Now, by having this certification, we can bring in new business while ensuring that all of our customers are protected by the industry’s leading data security practices.
After our experience with this certification, which has had so many positive results, we now recommend that any companies that are serious about cybersecurity, especially those providing IT/tech services to clients, should start pursuing ISO 27001 certification immediately.
As cyberattacks continue to increase in frequency and cost, it’s clear that companies of all sizes need to do everything they can to stay current with cybersecurity best practices. ISO 27001 is one of the best ways for businesses to do this. It ensures internal compliance with industry-standard practices, signals to potential customers and attackers that you take cybersecurity seriously, and broadens an organization’s appeal to new customers and additional markets. Not only does it protect your data and clients, it ultimately protects your bottom line and the very future of your business.