What is ISO certification?
ISO certification is a global standard that is used by millions of companies in various industries to demonstrate they are committed to quality management principles. To become ISO certified, companies must meet certain requirements that have been developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and which are used to ensure the quality, safety, and efficiency of products, services, and systems.
Essentially, ISO certifications are proof that a company adheres to certain standards and conducts itself to a high standard. Namely, they ensure business processes are in line with accepted international practices processes and allow for better risk management.
In this article, we will look at the different ISO certifications for IT companies, reveal the best way to achieve ISO certification, and go over the key qualities you should look for in an ISO advisor.
Why do IT companies need ISO certification?
While ISO certification is important for companies across all industries, it is particularly important for IT companies. This is because IT companies deal with sensitive data, so taking adequate measures to ensure security is paramount. Clients will feel more confident working with an ISO certified IT company that they can trust to keep their data safe and provide high-quality services at the same time.
Therefore, ISO certification is an excellent way for IT companies to show clients they are trustworthy and reliable, while also gaining a competitive advantage and opening their doors to new business opportunities. Additionally, becoming ISO certified promises companies many benefits, like:
- Enhanced business performance by increasing efficiency.
- Improved customer satisfaction by providing consistent quality.
- Better risk management by improving work processes.
- Increased employee motivation through job clarity.
- Enhanced customer service by following industry best practices.
- Greater security and data protection by implementing an efficient management system.
What ISO standards apply to IT companies?
ISO standards are divided into “families” or groups that specialize in different areas, such as information security management or quality management. Here is a list of the ISO standards that are most valuable to IT companies:
ISO/IEC 27001 (Information Security Management)
ISO/IEC 27001 is an information security management standard that outlines the requirements for a robust information security management system (ISMS). It also defines processes for managing risks related to information security and privacy.
By getting ISO/IEC 27001 certified, you will be able to:
- Protect data from unauthorized access or modification, and maintain records of data usage.
- Strengthen system security and identify potential threats against your system and take appropriate measures against them.
- Improve business resilience and ensure your business can continue operating efficiently in the event of malicious attacks or natural disasters.
ISO 22301 (Business Continuity Management Systems)
ISO 22301 is the international standard for business continuity management systems (BCMS). It provides a framework that organizations can use to ensure the continual functioning of their business in the face of various disruptions, like cyber attacks or natural disasters.
By getting ISO 22301 certified, you will be able to:
- Improve business continuity by identifying critical components, processes and systems, while developing recovery strategies and implementing effective recovery plans.
- Demonstrate that you have taken steps to protect assets against disaster by having certified BCMS. This can help boost your reputation and earn your clients’ trust.
- Ensure revenue and asset protection by having procedures in place to recover from incidents quickly and minimize financial loss due to downtime or disruption of services.
ISO/IEC 27701 (Security Techniques for Privacy Information Management)
ISO/IEC 27701 is a data privacy extension to ISO/IEC 27001. The standard aims to improve privacy information management systems (PIMS) and helps companies better manage compliance with GDPR and other privacy regulations.
By getting ISO/IEC 27701 certified, you will be able to:
- Make sure data is handled securely and only shared with authorized parties by implementing procedures for handling sensitive information.
- Comply with privacy regulations such as GDPR by having an effective PIMS that can keep track of information related to the collection of personal data.
- Clarify the roles and responsibilities within your organization so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to managing personal data and is working towards the same goals.
ISO/IEC/IEEE 90003 (Software Engineering)
The ISO/IEC/IEEE 90003 standard is a set of guidelines for the development, operation and maintenance of computer software and related support services. It was developed to help organizations meet the requirements of ISO 9001.
By getting ISO/IEC/IEEE 90003 certified, you will be able to:
- Comply with all the regulations related to the development, operation and maintenance of computer software.
- Increase customer satisfaction by delivering high-quality software services that meet their expectations.
- Identify potential areas for improvement, manage associated risks, and avoid issues that may result in loss of customers or revenue.
ISO/IEC 27017 (Information Security Controls for Cloud Services)
ISO/IEC 27017 is a code of practice for information security controls based on ISO/IEC 27002 for cloud services. It provides guidelines for information security controls applicable to the use of cloud services and aims to create a safer cloud-based environment and reduce the risk of security problems.
By getting ISO/IEC 27017 certified, you will be able to:
- Increase customer trust and confidence in your ability to protect sensitive data.
- Protect against cloud-related threats by making sure you have appropriate security measures in place.
- Minimize the risks posed by data breaches by addressing vulnerabilities in your system early on.
ISO/IEC 27018 (Protection of Personally Identifiable Information in Public Clouds)
ISO/IEC 27018 is an extension to the ISO/IEC 27001 and ISO/IEC 27002 standards and focuses on data privacy in cloud computing. It provides guidance for introducing measures to protect personally identifiable information (PII) in public clouds and better manage risks unique to PII in cloud computing.
By getting ISO/IEC 27018 certified, you will be able to:
- Mitigate risks and reputational damage.
- Improve security and legal protection.
- Streamline sales processes.
- Inspire trust and confidence in your services.
- Gain a competitive advantage.
ISO/IEC 20000-1 (Service Management)
The ISO/IEC 20000-1 standard is a set of requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and continually improving a service management system (SMS). It helps organizations enhance their performance by complying with relevant requirements and setting clear objectives related to IT services.
By getting ISO/IEC 20000-1 certified, you will be able to:
- Develop a well-defined service management system.
- Make improvements to your SMS and services.
- Reduce the risk of cyber threats by having effective controls in place.
- Increase credibility and trust by providing greater reassurance to clients and stakeholders.
- Meet contractual requirements by ensuring you comply with requirements.
ISO 9001 (Quality Management System)
ISO 9001 specifies the requirements for an effective and robust quality management system (QMS). It aims to provide an efficient QMS that will improve and monitor all areas of business. According to the International Organization for Standardization, there are over one million companies and organizations in over 170 countries certified to ISO 9001.
By getting ISO 9001 certified, you will be able to:
- Demonstrate your ability to provide products and services that meet regulatory requirements.
- Enhance customer satisfaction by improving your quality management system.
- Boost employee morale by clarifying roles and responsibilities.
- Increase revenue by attracting new clients looking to work with a reliable partner.
- Measure and monitor processes to ensure consistent outcomes.
ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Systems)
ISO 14001 provides guidance on how to develop and implement an environmental management system (EMS) that can improve an organization’s environmental performance. The standard focuses on identifying, assessing, and managing environmental responsibilities, while ensuring compliance with legal requirements.
By getting ISO 14001 certified, you will be able to:
- Demonstrate you are meeting environmental obligations through continuous improvement.
- Minimize your negative impacts on the environment and maximize positive contributions.
- Improve your reputation by showing your commitment to the environment.
- Gain a competitive advantage by being one step ahead of your competitors.
- Reduce the amount of waste and the cost of waste management via the efficient use of resources.
What is the best way to achieve ISO certification?
While you can go through the whole ISO certification process on your own, you need to take into account that it is a complex and time-consuming process. Yes, selecting an ISO standard, implementing the requirements, and applying for certification may sound easy enough but the hard truth is that it is anything but.
From our experience, the simplest and best way to achieve ISO certification is by working with a reliable ISO advisor that offers a range of ISO-related services, such as:
- ISO advisory services. Get an extra layer of support by receiving guidance on various practices such as regulatory compliance, employee onboarding, and risk management.
- ISO training. Learn more about ISO standards, their requirements, implementation, and the changes a standard would bring to your organization’s management systems.
- CISOaaS. Work with an experienced chief information security officer on an as-needed basis. Get access to industry knowledge to keep your data safe and minimize security risks, without the long-term commitment.
- Internal audits. Maximize performance by performing internal audits to check how well your organization’s management systems are working and what needs to be improved.
- Second party-audits. Make sure your organization’s supplier is meeting all the specific requirements set in your signed contract.
What should you look for in an ISO advisor?
Remember, getting ISO certified is a great way to set your company apart from the competition. So, working with someone who has ample knowledge and experience, will not only help you achieve ISO certification, but maintain it too. In your search for an ISO advisor, look for the following characteristics:
- Extensive experience. Make sure the ISO advisor is experienced in everything related to ISO, from requirements and implementation to certification and recertification.
- Personalized approach. Look for someone who takes a personalized approach to creating an action plan that will help you meet requirements and become ISO certified.
- Industry knowledge. Work with an ISO advisor that has helped other IT companies in the past and has a wealth of industry knowledge.
- Good track record. Check whether the ISO advisor has a history of success working with IT companies and providing ISO advisory services.
- Flexible schedule. Ensure the ISO advisor is easy to reach and always available for a quick chat or consultation.
- Ongoing support. Look for someone who will support you throughout your ISO certification journey, from your first audit all the way through recertification.
If you’re not sure whether or not you need an ISO advisor, here are some signs that you do:
- You have no idea what certificate you need.
- You have no time to process requirements.
- You need to implement practices fast.
- You want to achieve long-term efficiency.
Though the road to ISO certification is not always an easy one, the benefits you stand to gain far outweigh the challenges you may experience along the way. You will increase business efficiency, boost productivity and performance, get more clients, enhance the quality of your services, and position yourself as a leader in your industry.
If you don’t already have an ISO certification—or you do but you’re not sure if it’s up to date with the latest versions—consider getting one. Becoming ISO certified will ensure that you meet industry standards, while staying competitive.
The good news is that you don’t have to go through the ISO certification process alone. Working with a reliable partner that offers various ISO advisory services, like TestDevLab, can simplify this complex and time-consuming process. We can help you understand requirements, implement changes to your internal processes, perform audits, and provide ongoing support. Contact us to find out more about our ISO advisory services and how we can help you.