Practical guide to ISO 27001 documentation

ISO 27001 standard is a part of the ISO standards that helps organize assets and them secure. This standard helps the organization manage the security of assets like financial information, intellectual property, also employee details and even information entrusted to the organization by third parties.

ISO 27001 documentation:

As per the ISO 27001 certification requirements documentation is also needed. The ISO 27001 documentation provides as a base for ISO 27001 compliance. Thus the documentation needs to be smartly designed such that it is practical and implementable by the company and at the same time meets the ISO 27001 certification requirements.

ISO 27001 requires a long list of documents which goes something like this:

  • ISO ISMS Scope

  • ISO 27001 ISMS policy and objectives

  • Risk assessment documents

  • Statement of Applicability

  • Procedure for document management

  • Control of record management

  • Procedure for internal audit, corrective action and preventive action.

  • Records of many different kinds like management decisions, internal audit, management audit, preventive actions, etc.

Purpose of ISO 27001 documentation:

ISO 27001 is quite demanding as far as the documentation is concerned. The documentation is an integral part of the ISO 270001 certification like any other ISO standard. Each one of the required documents has a great level of significance and thus should not be ignored. The main purpose of this documentation is as described below:

  • Communication of Information: The process of planning, general operation and control within an organization requires the necessary information to be pass on successfully. Documentation supplements this process and helps in the process of the communication of information. As far as the type of information is concerned, that can vary. The type of information in fact depends largely on the communication skills of the employees and additionally on the communication system of the organization.

  • Evidence of Conformity: The ISO 27001 guidelines are a very generic one and thus the method in which they apply to each individual company is different. hence by properly implementing the procedure and documenting it as well, the organization has the evidence of having followed the procedure.

  • Knowledge reservoir and sharing: During the process of attaining the ISO 27000 certification the organization needs to undergo several processes and policies improvements and amendments. Once the new policies are established they also need to be implemented by the organization. In addition to this they are also documented which helps the organization preserve a successful and established strategy for their particular organization. That aside the documentation also successfully captures the experience, business and technical know-how.

  • Training Tool: ISO 27001 training is of great importance. The documentation of a company developed during the process of attaining the ISO 27001 compliance either by a professional or otherwise needs is a very useful collection of information as far as training the respective employees is concerned.

  • Consistency of Performance: The documentation at times is the only source of information for all the methods and procedures followed by the organization. This is due the fact that employees tend to move on or get promoted and may or may not be permanent. With new employees running the show it is necessary that they maintain the consistent performance of the organization by using tried and tested procedures. The documentation makes this possible and much easier.

  • Promoting best practices: The documentation is a good source of information for the best method of performing certain procedures and activities. Having a documented set of instructions or description save a lot of effort and repetition of work as far as the organization is concerned. And at the end of the day helps the overall development of the organization.

The ISO 27001 documentation requirements:

A certain standard needs to be maintained while making the documentation for ISO 27001 conformity. All the documents that are required by the ISO standard need to be produced and in addition to which it is also beneficial to produce more documents. These additional documents can be the documents that are useful for procedures.

Medium of Communication for ISO 27001 documentation:

The medium of communication is very flexible. This includes paper, electronic, or optical computer disc, photographs and audio-visual mater. Additionally there are several beliefs that using the corporate intranet to publish the documents is the best alternative. The main reason being that if it is on the intranet than it is accessible to anyone in the organization with a PC. Besides which it is easier to control the content published on a website rather than that printed. It is possible that the printed version may get outdated soon. The intranet version however can be continuously updated by the appropriate department and thus the readers can be sure that they are always accessing the current version. Besides which it is easier to present the document with all the bells and whistles on the intranet rather than in the printed format.

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Thus even in this day and age the documentation still remains a vital element for attaining ISO 27001 certification. Besides being useful for the ISO 27001 process the documentation also serves towards being a good reference and record for the organization. It provides a base for them to work from when all is lost or when changes are required. It can be considered as a onetime process which will benefit the organization in the longer run.


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