Understanding Information Security Management System (ISMS) & How to Implement it?

Today, business operations relying on technology are vulnerable to privacy and security threats. While advanced technologies can help, they aren’t sufficient to defend against sophisticated cyberattacks. Cybercrime is rising, and so is the need for robust security measures in business processes and employees. 


However, achieving this can be challenging, so companies turn to frameworks to ensure they follow the best practices for information security. This is where Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) come in. Continue reading the article to understand ISMS, its benefits, and how organizations can ensure information security. 


What is the Information Security Management System (ISMS)?


An Information Security Management System (ISMS) outlines the policies and protocols for managing an organization’s confidential information effectively. It aims to minimize potential harm to the business while ensuring business continuity by proactively reducing the impact of security breaches. 


Furthermore, an ISMS addresses both the employees’ behavior and processes, as well as technology and data. It can be used to focus on protecting specific data, for instance, customer information. Also, organizations can integrate ISMS into their security culture as a comprehensive approach to InfoSec.


How does ISMS work?


While ISMS is formulated to develop a comprehensive approach to information security management abilities, today’s technology-driven business landscape requires organizations to adapt to ongoing digital evolution and improve their security policies and controls. 


The structure and guidelines developed by an ISMS may only be applicable for a limited time, and your workforce may struggle to adopt them in the initial phases. Organizations need to evolve with security control mechanisms as their threat landscape changes. 


ISO/IEC 27001 is an international standard for InfoSec and establishing an information security management system. According to ISO 27001, organizations can follow a Plan-Do-Check-Act (PCDA) for continuous improvement in information security management processes.




  • Plan: Organizations can start by identifying the problems and gathering information needed to plan and evaluate security risks. Define the policies and procedures you can use to address security issues and maintain continuous improvement in ISM processes. 


  • Do: Implement the security policies and processes planned and follow ISO standards while implementing. However, the implementation may be based on your organization’s available resources. 


  • Check: Continuously monitor the effectiveness of your security policies and controls and behavioral aspects relevant to the ISM processes. 


  • Act: Ensure continuous improvement in ISMS. Document the outcomes and take feedback to outline future improvements of the PDCA model implementation. 


Benefits of ISMS


Implementing an ISMS brings a comprehensive approach to managing information systems within a company, offering various advantages.


  • Protection of sensitive data: An ISMS ensures the protection of confidential information covering all forms of proprietary information, whether in physical or digital form, including personal information, financial records, intellectual property, and third-party data.


  • Ensure regulatory compliance: An ISMS ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and offers a better understanding of legal obligations related to information systems, which is particularly important for industries like finance and healthcare, facing heavy fines for violations.


  • Ensure business continuity: Since organizations investing in an ISMS increase their defense level against security threats, this reduces security incidents, such as data breaches, and leads to fewer disruptions and less downtime, maintaining business continuity.


  • Reduced costs: A comprehensive risk assessment of assets is provided by an ISMS. This allows companies to prioritize their highest-risk assets and avoid overspending on unnecessary defenses. By focusing on the most critical assets, organizations can adopt a more targeted approach to security, decreasing downtime and ultimately reducing their overall expenses.


How to implement the Information Security Management System (ISMS)?


There are several ways to set up an information security management system in your organization. Many companies may follow the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) model, as mentioned earlier, or they get certified to ISO 27001, which comprehensively addresses the ISMS requirements. 


Also, you may follow these steps to implement an ISMS in your organization:


Define your business scope and objectives


Start by defining the business goals you aim to achieve from this implementation and which areas of the business need protection the most. Also, consider senior management preferences and define clear goals about the application and limitations of the ISMS.


Identify critical assets


Once you have set the objectives, identify your critical assets by creating an inventory of assets, including software, hardware, databases, systems, information, and services.


Discover the risks


After identifying the critical assets, analyze their risk factor and score them based on their risk rating. Also, keep in mind the regulatory guidelines. For example, inquire about the potential consequences if the confidentiality or integrity of information assets is compromised and the likelihood of such a compromise happening. The objective should be to determine which risks are acceptable and which must be addressed promptly due to their potential harm.


Establish mitigation controls


An efficient Information Security Management System (ISMS) recognizes not only potential risks but also implements effective strategies to mitigate and remediate them. The measures taken should provide a clear plan to prevent the risk from occurring. For instance, to avoid the risk of losing a laptop containing confidential customer information, a company could implement a policy prohibiting employees from storing such data on their laptops. This policy would serve as an effective mitigation measure.


Improve gradually


Monitor, audit, and evaluate all measures mentioned for their effectiveness. If any deficiencies or new risk factors are identified through the monitoring process, restart the ISMS implementation process from the beginning. This allows the ISMS to adapt to changing circumstances quickly and provides an efficient method for defending against information security risks for the organization.


Simplifying compliance with information security standards with CyberArrow


Understanding the information security management system (ISMS) is necessary to implement effective controls for information security and comply with InfoSec standards, such as ISO 27001. Organizations can also automate the compliance process with CyberArrow.


CyberArrow is a compliance automation platform to enable organizations to streamline the process of ensuring adherence to InfoSec regulations and standards. Simplify the implementation of an ISMS by automating compliance to standards with CyberArrow.


Get in touch to learn more, or book a free demo today!




What is the meaning of an Information Security Management System?

An Information Security Management System (ISMS) outlines the policies and protocols for managing an organization’s confidential information effectively. It aims to minimize potential harm to the business while ensuring business continuity by proactively reducing the impact of security breaches.


What is the purpose of an ISMS?

The purpose of an ISMS system is to protect the organization by providing a set of policies and processes to manage information security risks. It enables organizations to manage, monitor, review, and upgrade their information security practices.


What is the information security management system ISO 27001?

ISO/IEC 27001 is an Information security management standard that outlines the policies and procedures for how businesses should manage risks associated with information security threats.


What are the five major components of information security management?

The five components of an information security management system include confidentiality, availability, integrity, authenticity, and non-repudiation of information security assets.

Avatar photo
Amar Basic


No Comments

Post a Comment