What is an ISO 27001 Audit?

ISO 27001 technical graphic

An ISO 27001 audit is a systematic and documented way of gathering facts about your information security management system (ISMS) to identify areas for improvement. Doing this helps guarantee that corporate information remains safe and secure at all times.

The ISO 27001 audit process involves two stages: Stage 1 and Stage 2. This involves document review, a field audit, and documentation testing.

ISO 27001 technical graphic

Stage 1 Audit

Stage 1 Audit is the initial step an ISO 27001 auditor takes to confirm your management system is ready for certification. It may be conducted onsite or remotely, depending on the circumstances. Ultimately, this ensures you have all of the processes and procedures in place necessary for achieving ISO 27001 standard compliance.

During an audit, the auditor reviews your management system documentation to confirm it meets the requirements of the standard. This includes policies and procedures as well as any supporting documents.

Furthermore, auditors verify your organisation has an efficient internal audit program. They’ll request proof that you conduct internal audits according to standard requirements, and take corrective action where needed in order to enhance compliance levels.

They will also consider any internal audit reports and management reviews you have conducted, which demonstrate your management system has been implemented effectively and thoroughly. This type of evidence is essential in convincing them your management system is effective and up to date.

Once the audit is complete, you can move forward to Stage 2 Audit. At this stage, your organisation will be assessed for any minor and major nonconformities that the audit has revealed.

Major nonconformities are identified by the certification body as failures to meet the requirements of ISO 27001 standards and must be corrected before your company can receive its certificate. To remedy these issues, create documentation outlining your remedial actions and present it to the auditor at this time.

Take this time to review any areas that need amending or adding. Doing so before submitting your Stage 2 audit documents to the Certification Body will give you enough time for thorough revision and minimise potential non-conformities.

The ISO 27001 audit is a detailed process that takes considerable planning, research and implementation. However, the outcomes of the audit can be an invaluable asset for improving your company’s compliance and operational processes. Furthermore, it serves to build trust and confidence among stakeholders, as proof that your business is serious about establishing an effective management system.

Stage 2 Audit

In contrast to a Stage 1 audit, the Stage 2 auditor will assess your entire information security management system. This includes policies, procedures and processes that help determine if it satisfies ISO 27001 requirements and is effective.

Your certification body will conduct this audit, which typically takes place onsite but can also be conducted remotely in certain circumstances. Typically, the assessment is concluded within one to two days and serves to assess your organisation’s readiness for the next step of certification.

The audit is intended to give your organisation feedback about the progress it has made with its ISMS, as well as identify any areas for improvement that need attention. Furthermore, this could be an ideal time for reviewing documentation to confirm it is fully compliant with standards and includes all pertinent documents and records.

After the audit is complete, the certification body will assess whether your ISMS meets the requirements of ISO 27001 standard. If so, your organisation will be granted approval to move on with certification.

In the event that your ISMS does not meet the standards, an additional Stage 2 audit may be required before certification to the ISO 27001 standard can be granted. This is because any major non-conformities identified during the Stage 1 audit must be corrected in order to achieve certification.

Your auditor will interview key members of your ISMS team and assess how effectively the security management system is being implemented. They also examine evidence such as audit reports, internal audits and management reviews to confirm that improvements have been made based on the results of the previous Stage 1 audit.

The outcome of the stage 2 audit is a report that highlights any areas of concern or non-conformance with ISO 27001 standard. Additionally, it provides you with a strategy for the future, including resource allocation and details for the next stage of auditing.

Stage 3 Audit

Stage 3 Audit is an integral component of ISO 27001 certification that assesses your organisation’s Information Security Management System (ISMS). This audit typically occurs during the final year of a three-year certification period and is necessary for maintaining your company’s ISO 27001 accreditation.

At this stage, an auditor reviews documentation that proves your company has met the requirements of ISO 27001 standard. This includes documents such as your Statement of Applicability, ISMS policy, risk assessment report and internal audit records.

At this stage, the auditor interviews stakeholders and assesses your ISMS. He or she may suggest remediations which must be addressed prior to moving on to the next step. If it proves difficult for your organisation to fulfil these requests, rescheduling an audit may be necessary.

Once the document review and field audit are complete, the auditor will generate a final report that assesses your organisation’s adherence to ISO 27001 standards. Additionally, they will identify any nonconformities or opportunities for improvement that should be addressed.

Minor nonconformities should not prevent you from achieving ISO 27001 certification, however, major ones can prove costly and deny your business the certificate. In such instances, the auditor will give you a deadline to resolve the issue (usually 90 days).

To guarantee you meet deadlines and avoid nonconformity penalties, implement an intuitive compliance workflow management system. This will streamline your paperwork by reducing the number of required forms and providing evidence to back up answers to auditor inquiries.

This is an essential step, as it creates a robust audit trail that verifies your company’s compliance with the ISO 27001 standard and shows that your company is proactive about data protection and security.

The audit itself is conducted by a certified auditor and involves interviewing stakeholders, testing controls, and reviewing your ISMS. It plays an integral role in the certification process since it detects issues early on so your company can take appropriate actions before becoming too costly or time-consuming to fix.

Stage 4 Audit

Organisations pursuing ISO 27001 certification must pass a series of audits to demonstrate their information security management system is compliant with the standard. These audits must be performed by certified auditors who possess all necessary qualifications for valid internal and external assessments.

If you are seeking ISO 27001 certification, it is recommended that you select an accredited certification body. Doing this guarantees the auditors performing your audits are knowledgeable about the standard and will supply you with a valid and precise report.

Stage 1 Audit is an integral component of certification, as it examines an organisation’s information security management system (ISMS). This includes reviewing an ISMS’ policies and procedures to confirm they meet the requirements set out in ISO 27001 standard.

After the audit is complete, your auditor will provide feedback indicating whether or not your organisation is ready for Stage 2 Audit. If a nonconformity needs correction, they require corrective action plans and evidence of correction before permitting you to move forward with this stage of the process.

During the Stage 2 Audit, your auditor will also look for areas in which to improve your ISMS. If they identify any nonconformities, you must share corrective action plans with them within a specified timeline. Otherwise, they may recommend that you repeat the entire Stage 2 audit process from scratch.

At the conclusion of Stage 2 Audit, your auditor will issue a report outlining their findings. They’ll highlight major and minor nonconformities as well as opportunities for improvement.

In the case of a major non-conformity, you must take corrective action and provide evidence to the auditor before they will issue you with your ISO 27001 certificate. If you fail to comply with these requirements, your certification may be revoked.