Similarities And Differences Between ISO27001 And GDPR

iso 27001 and gdpr

In today’s digital landscape, organizations face increasing challenges in protecting sensitive information and ensuring compliance with regulations. Two critical frameworks that address these concerns are ISO 27001 and GDPR. Understanding the similarities, differences, and how these frameworks intersect is crucial for organizations aiming to enhance data security and privacy. This blog explores the things common and different between ISO 27001 and GDPR. We will also discuss which one is better.

What Is ISO27001?

What Is ISO27001?ISO 27001 is an international standard for information security management. It provides a framework and guidelines for organizations to establish, implement, maintain, and continually improve an information security management system (ISMS). The standard sets out requirements for managing risks to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information within an organization, and it encompasses processes, policies, procedures, and controls to ensure information security. By implementing ISO 27001, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to protecting sensitive information and managing security risks effectively.

What Is GDPR?

What Is GDPR?GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It is a comprehensive data protection and privacy regulation that was implemented in the European Union (EU) in May 2018. The GDPR aims to protect the personal data of EU citizens and gives individuals more control over how their personal information is collected, processed, stored, and shared by organizations.

What All Is Common And Similar In ISO 27001 And GDPR?

ISO 27001 and GDPR share several commonalities and similarities:

  • Information Security: Both ISO 27001 and GDPR emphasize the importance of information security and the protection of personal data. They require organizations to implement appropriate security measures to safeguard sensitive information.
  • Risk Management: Both frameworks highlight the significance of risk management. ISO 27001 provides a structured approach to identify, assess, and treat information security risks, while GDPR requires organizations to assess and mitigate risks to individuals’ privacy rights.
  • Compliance and Accountability: ISO 27001 and GDPR promote a culture of compliance and accountability within organizations. ISO 27001 requires organizations to establish policies, procedures, and controls to ensure compliance with information security requirements. GDPR emphasizes the need for organizations to demonstrate compliance, maintain records of data processing activities, and implement measures to ensure accountability.
  • Continuous Improvement: Both advocate for a cycle of continuous improvement. ISO 27001 encourages organizations to continually monitor, review, and improve their information security management system. GDPR promotes regular assessments and reviews of data protection practices to enhance privacy and security.
  • Third-Party Relationships: ISO 27001 and GDPR address the management of third-party relationships. ISO 27001 requires organizations to assess and manage the security risks associated with third-party access to information. GDPR holds organizations accountable for the actions of their third-party processors and mandates the use of data processing agreements to ensure appropriate data protection measures are in place.

Major Differences Between ISO27001 And GDPR

ISO 27001 and GDPR have distinct differences in terms of scope, focus, and purpose:


Scope ISO 27001 and GDPRISO 27001 is a globally recognized standard for information security management systems, applicable to all types of organizations and industries. It focuses on protecting information assets and managing risks related to information security.

On the other hand, GDPR is a regulation specifically designed to protect the personal data of individuals within the European Union (EU) and governs how organizations handle and process personal data.

Purpose and Focus

ISO 27001 primarily concentrates on establishing and maintaining an effective information security management system (ISMS) within an organization. It sets out requirements and best practices for managing risks, implementing security controls, and continuously improving information security. Its focus extends beyond personal data and covers all types of information assets.

GDPR, on the other hand, aims to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals regarding the processing of their data. It places a strong emphasis on privacy and gives individuals control over their personal information. GDPR outlines specific obligations for organizations, such as obtaining consent for data processing, providing transparent privacy policies, responding to data subject rights requests, and reporting data breaches.

Legal Framework

Legal Framework ISO 27001 and GDPRISO 27001 is a voluntary international standard developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Organizations can choose to adopt and seek certification for ISO 27001 compliance, but it is not a legal requirement.
In contrast, GDPR is a legally binding regulation that applies to organizations processing the personal data of individuals in the EU, regardless of their location. Non-compliance with GDPR can result in significant fines and penalties.

Compliance Requirements

ISO 27001 focuses on establishing a systematic and risk-based approach to information security management. It provides a framework for organizations to implement and maintain security controls based on their identified risks. ISO 27001 certification demonstrates an organization’s commitment to information security best practices, but it does not guarantee compliance with specific legal requirements such as GDPR.
GDPR, on the other hand, has specific legal requirements that organizations must adhere to when processing personal data. It includes provisions for obtaining consent, providing data subject rights, conducting data protection impact assessments (DPIAs), and implementing appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect personal data.

Which One Is Better? ISO27001 v/s GDPR

Which One Is Better? ISO 27001 and GDPRISO 27001 and GDPR serve different purposes and cannot be directly compared with one being “better” than the other.

The choice between the two depends on an organization’s specific needs and circumstances. If an organization operates globally and wants to establish a robust information security management system, ISO 27001 can be a suitable choice. It helps demonstrate a commitment to information security best practices and can apply to organizations beyond the scope of GDPR.

However, if an organization processes the personal data of individuals within the European Union, GDPR compliance is essential to meet legal obligations. Organizations need to understand and adhere to the specific requirements of GDPR, such as obtaining consent, implementing privacy policies, and ensuring data subject rights.

Can ISO27001 Certification Also Ensure One’s GDPR Compliance?

Does ISO27001 Certification Ensure Your GDPR Compliance?While ISO 27001 certification demonstrates that an organization has implemented an effective information security management system (ISMS) and follows best practices for managing information security risks, it does not guarantee GDPR compliance.

ISO 27001 and GDPR have different scopes, requirements, and legal obligations that organizations must fulfill when processing personal data. Compliance with these GDPR requirements goes beyond the scope of ISO 27001.

However, implementing ISO 27001 can provide a solid foundation and help organizations in their journey toward GDPR compliance. Many of the controls and practices outlined in ISO 27001 align with the security and privacy principles of GDPR. Organizations that have implemented ISO 27001 may find it easier to address certain GDPR requirements, particularly those related to information security and risk management. But, in the end, it is important to comply with these two separately.


In conclusion, ISO 27001 and GDPR are essential frameworks for information security and data protection. ISO 27001 focuses on establishing an effective information security management system, while GDPR safeguards individuals’ privacy rights and sets specific obligations for personal data processing. Organizations should assess their specific requirements and seek professional assistance to ensure both ISO 27001 implementation and GDPR compliance are achieved effectively. Seek help from experts to navigate these frameworks successfully.

If you are looking to implement any of the Infosec compliance frameworks such as SOC 2 complianceHIPAAISO 27001, and GDPR compliance, Impanix can help. Book a Free consultation call with our experts or email us at  [email protected] for inquiries.