ISO 27001: Everything you need to know for your SME

4 min
July 11, 2024

ISO/IEC 27001 is a globally recognized standard for information security management. It defines best practices for information systems security.

Developed in 2004 and revised in 2013 and 2022 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), this standard aims to structure the management of sensitive information within a company.

In this article, you'll find out more about ISO 27001, its objectives and principles, and how to obtain ISO 27001 certification. We'll then take a closer look at the impact of this standard on SMEs, and how your company can best prepare for it.

What is ISO 27001?

Objectives of ISO 27001

The ISO 27001 standard provides a comprehensive normative framework for organizations to detect, manage and protect their sensitive information. In doing so, they also reduce the risk of being affected by a cyber incident such as data theft or a cyber attack.

By implementing these control procedures, companies can improve the security of their sensitive information and demonstrate their commitment to protecting it.

Customer data, employee data, commercial data and financial data are all examples of sensitive information.

ISO 27001 requires companies to implement an Information Security Management System. This is a set of procedures, requirements and best practices that govern how an organization protects its information and manages information security risks.

The three principles of ISO 27001

ISO 27001 is based on three principles:

  • Confidentiality. Information is protected.
  • Integrity. Information is accurate and complete.
  • Availability. Information is accessible at all times.

Compliance with these principles ensures that the organization has properly implemented control procedures to mitigate information security risks.

The 5 pillars of ISO 27001

The three principles of confidentiality, integrity and availability are complemented by two pillars in ISO 27001:

  • Authenticity. The identity of a user interacting with data can and will be verified.
  • Non-repudiation. Any action on data can be verified and traced.

ISO 27001 certification - Practical questions

Who is affected by the directive?

Any company or organization that handles or interacts with sensitive information is covered by ISO 27001.

Designed to be flexible for all types of organization, ISO 27001 can be adapted just as easily to a start-up as to a multinational.

So, whether you need ISO 27001 certification depends essentially on the nature of your organization, your sector of activity and the information with which you interact on a daily basis.

Why get ISO 27001 certification?

Although ISO 27001 certification is not compulsory, it is recommended, as it enables you to demonstrate your enhanced ability to protect all types of sensitive information. This is a guarantee of trust and legitimacy with the stakeholders with whom you interact (customers, suppliers, subcontractors, partners, etc.).

If you're implementing ISO 27001 for others, don't forget that it can benefit you too. Being ISO 27001-compliant will improve the security of your information, and reduce the risk of cyber-incidents, which can be very damaging to a company. Depending on your location, ISO 27001 certification will also enable you to prove that you comply with regulatory legal requirements.

How ISO 27001 certification works

The ISO 27001 certification process is a series of three audits to ensure your organization's progressive compliance with the ISO 27001 standard.

How long is ISO 27001 certification valid?

ISO 27001 certification is valid for 3 years, but can be renewed several times, so you don't have to start the process all over again.

How do I know if a company is ISO 27001 certified?

To find out if a company is ISO 27001 certified, we recommend that you ask them for a copy of their ISO 27001 certificate.

Please note that a company that "respects", "complies" or "agrees" with the ISO 27001 standard does not mean that it is ISO 27001 certified; it simply means that, on certain points, it complies with the standard.

The impact of ISO 27001 on SMBs

How can SMEs benefit from this certification?

You can benefit from ISO 27001 certification regardless of your SME's sector of activity.

Indeed, if you're a supplier, being able to certify your ability to manage your associates' information is a guarantee of legitimacy. It may also become a legal requirement in the future. On the other hand, if your company sells a product or service, being ISO 27001 certified will help you build confidence with your customers. It's also an additional commercial asset.

Bastion supports your SME in achieving ISO 27001 compliance.

To become ISO 27001 compliant, your company will need to at least :

  • Train its employees (ISO27001 - 7.2.2 - "Information security awareness, education and training ")
  • Protect its data** (ISO27001 - A.8.12 - "Data leakage prevention") Secure its computer workstations (ISO27001 - A.8.12 - "Data leakage prevention"))
  • Securing your computer workstations** (ISO27001 - A.11.2 - "Equipment security") **Proactively identifying and protecting your equipment
  • Proactively identify vulnerabilities** (ISO27001 - A.12.6 - "Technical vulnerability management")
  • Have a incident detection and follow-up system (ISO27001 - A.16 - "Information security incident management").

Bastion integrates dedicated modules for each of these points, enabling you to comply with these requirements in just a few minutes. The data from each of these modules is connected to an incident detection and management system (a SIEM), providing 360° visibility of employees, SaaS applications, e-mails, workstations and web sites/apps.

I'd like to secure my employees, SaaS applications, e-mails, workstations and web sites/apps with Bastion


Whether you handle sensitive information, or want to be able to justify your ability to protect your data, there's bound to be a reason for you to take an interest in ISO 27001.

In addition to the benefits of ISO 27001 certification, compliance with this standard ensures that you respect the legal regulatory framework, and therefore the long-term viability of your business.

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