Unveiling ISO 27001: A Deep Dive into Key Security Controls

Unveiling ISO 27001: A Deep Dive into Key Security Controls

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have come together to create a standard known as ISO/IEC 27001. It is designed to aid organizations in establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving their Information Security Management Systems (ISMS). This standard provides a comprehensive set of controls, outlining best practices for information security management. In this blog post, we delve into the key aspects of ISO 27001, discussing its security controls that work to safeguard an organization’s information assets.

What Is ISO 27001?

What Is ISO 27001?ISO/IEC 27001:2013, also known simply as ISO 27001. It is an internationally recognized standard set forth by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The standard provides a framework for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an Information Security Management System (ISMS) within an organization. It sets out specific requirements that organizations can follow. That helps them manage and protect their information assets.

An ISMS is a systematic approach to managing sensitive company information. This ensures it remains secure. It encompasses people, processes, and IT systems, using a risk management process. ISO 27001 promotes the implementation of security controls tailored to the needs of the individual organization, according to their own risk assessment. This allows organizations to assure stakeholders that their information is protected. And it can demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements.

What Are The ISO 27001 Controls?

ISO 27001 controls are a comprehensive set of practices, legal requirements, and procedures that are intended to manage or reduce information security risks in an effective manner. They are part of an organization’s overall Information Security Management System (ISMS).

These controls are outlined in Annex A of ISO 27001. And they consist of 14 domains, 35 control objectives, and a total of 114 controls. Here’s a brief summary of each domain:

A.5 Information Security Policies

This domain is about the management direction for information security in accordance with business requirements and relevant laws and regulations. It includes two controls:

  • A.5.1.1: Policies for Information Security: A set of policies for information security, aligned with the organization’s strategic direction, should be defined, approved by management, published, and communicated to employees and relevant external parties.
  • A.5.1.2: Review of the Policies for Information Security: The policies for information security should be reviewed at planned intervals or if significant changes occur to ensure their continuing suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness.

A.6 Organization of Information Security

This domain helps ensure that the organization’s information security arrangements are coordinated in a cohesive manner. It includes control categories such as internal organization, mobile devices, and teleworking. For example, A.6.1.1 includes identifying an individual or a group who would be responsible for information security within the organization.

A.7 Human Resource Security

A.7 Human Resource SecurityThis domain aims to ensure that employees and contractors are aware of and fulfill their information security responsibilities. It addresses aspects such as prior to employment (background checks, roles, and responsibilities), during employment (awareness and training, disciplinary process), and termination or change of employment.

A.8 Asset Management

This domain is about identifying organizational assets and defining appropriate protection responsibilities. It involves creating an inventory of assets, defining ownership of assets, classifying information, and handling assets appropriately based on their classification. For example, A.8.1.1 involves creating an inventory of assets associated with information and information processing facilities.

A.9 Access Control

This domain aims to prevent unauthorized physical and logical access to the organization’s information. It includes user access management (like user registration and de-registration, user access provisioning, and management of privileged access rights), and system and application access control (like secure log-on procedures, password management, and use of utility programs). And user responsibilities (like password use and unattended user equipment).

A.10 Cryptography

This domain is designed to ensure that information is protected against unauthorized disclosure and modification. And that the integrity and confidentiality of information are maintained. This involves using cryptographic controls like encryption, key management, and digital signatures. All this is to protect your data during transmission and storage.

A.11 Physical and Environmental Security

This domain addresses the need to secure the physical environment where critical or sensitive information is processed or stored. This includes controls for securing offices, rooms, and facilities, protecting against external and environmental threats, and managing equipment securely to minimize the risk of theft, damage, or compromise of assets.

A.12 Operations Security

This domain covers the correct and secure operations of information processing facilities. It addresses operational procedures and responsibilities, system planning and acceptance, capacity management, protection from malware, backup, logging and monitoring, control of operational software, technical vulnerability management, and information systems audit considerations.

A.13 Communications Security

This domain is designed to ensure the protection of information in networks and its transfer across communication facilities. It includes network controls, segregation in networks, and information transfer policies and procedures. Also, secure system engineering principles.

A.14 System Acquisition, Development, and Maintenance

This domain ensures that information security is an integral part of the systems throughout their entire life cycle. It also covers the management of technical vulnerabilities. This includes controls for secure development policy, system changes control procedures, and technical review of applications after operating system changes. And restrictions on changes to software packages.

A.15 Supplier Relationships

This domain addresses the organization’s relationships with its suppliers (vendors, service providers, etc.). It aims to ensure that security is maintained when an organization outsources any information processing or IT services to a third party. Controls here include identifying the risks related to suppliers, setting out appropriate terms and conditions in contracts to mitigate these risks, and managing changes in supplier services.

A.16 Information Security Incident Management

This domain ensures the organization can effectively respond to and manage information security incidents. The goal is to limit the damage of incidents and improve the recovery time and costs. Controls include reporting information security events, managing information security incidents and improvements, and collecting evidence.

A.17 Information Security Aspects of Business Continuity Management

This domain ensures the organization can continue its operations even during adverse conditions, such as a natural disaster, a cybersecurity attack, or any other disruptive incident. Controls include understanding the organization’s requirements for information availability and maintaining an information processing environment that can quickly recover from disruptive incidents.

A.18 Compliance

This domain ensures the organization operates within the legal and regulatory environment relevant to its information security system. This includes respecting copyright and intellectual property rights, ensuring data protection and privacy of personal information, and regulatory compliance. There are also controls for ensuring the independent review of information security and compliance with policies and standards within the organization.

These controls help an organization address information security risks in a comprehensive and systematic manner, and each control can be tailored to the organization’s specific needs based on its own risk assessment.

What Are The Benefits Of It?

What Are The Benefits Of It?Implementing the ISO 27001 standard can offer a number of advantages to organizations. Here are five key benefits:

  1. Risk Reduction: ISO 27001 helps organizations identify and address security risks. By assessing vulnerabilities and implementing appropriate controls, businesses can reduce the likelihood and impact of security breaches or data losses.
  2. Compliance: Many organizations operate in sectors where demonstrating compliance with security standards is mandatory. Even if it isn’t legally required, being ISO 27001 certified can help show customers, suppliers, and stakeholders that your organization takes security seriously.
  3. Competitive Advantage: Achieving ISO 27001 certification can give your organization a significant competitive edge. It demonstrates to customers and partners that your organization is committed to safeguarding data and can foster trust in your security measures.
  4. Improved Client Confidence: By certifying to a globally recognized standard like ISO 27001, your organization can assure clients that their sensitive information is managed and protected in a professional manner. This can help enhance client trust and potentially attract new business.
  5. Operational Efficiency: The systematic approach of ISO 27001 can lead to operational efficiencies. By clearly defining processes, roles, and responsibilities, your organization can operate more smoothly and effectively. This can lead to cost savings and improved performance.


In conclusion, the ISO 27001 controls provide a comprehensive set of guidelines to help organizations manage and reduce their information security risks effectively. These controls are defined across 14 domains. And these are ranging from information security policies to supplier relationships and compliance. Which covers nearly all aspects of an organization’s information security management system (ISMS).

Implementing these controls not only ensures the protection of critical information assets but also enhances the overall operational efficiency and compliance of the organization.

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.