Software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies continue to gain popularity and a footing across the board, but security remains their top barrier to adoption. Therefore SaaS deployments must achieve competitive differentiation by demonstrating to their prospects and clients that they are fully committed to and capable of securing their data.
As a SaaS company, you must prove that your offering is architected and operated securely and reliably. To do this, you need to achieve an ISO 27001 certification. This post discusses ISO 27001 compliance for SaaS companies, why it is useful, the certification requirements and best practices, and audit readiness.
ISO 27001 certification refers to the only internationally-recognized and accepted standard for governing informational assets. It creates an effective, sustainable, and reliable Information Security Management System (ISMS).
Using ISO 27001 enables organizations of any kind and size to manage the security of its assets, such as financial information, employee details, intellectual property, or information entrusted by third parties. ISO 27001 is not obligatory. Some organizations opt to implement the standard to benefit from its best practice, while others decide to get certified to assure their clients and prospects that they follow set recommendations.
As a SaaS working with companies in the health sector, the ISO certification helps you cover the parts of their HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) compliance requirements.
On the other hand, if you are working with financial services companies, they may sometimes send over security forms to fill out to ascertain the security of their data and information on your end. They may also ask to see your security set up. In such cases, you can prepare and send over a summarized version of your present ISO documents showing compliance.
ISO 27001 compliance makes the process of filling out security documents much more straightforward and assists you in securing more sales and contracts.
You see, financial and health companies do not just tick the box. They have rigorous legal requirements to keep their customer data secure. So given a choice between two companies, one with ISO 27001 certification for SaaS and the other without but has developed stringent internal security and audit systems, they go with the safer, globally accepted option.
More companies in industries such as financial services, health care, government, and heavy industry, mainly in Asia and Europe, and increasingly in the US, require ISO 27001 certification for SaaS. Without ISO 27001 compliance, you are increasingly less likely to make security-conscious prospects' shortlist for further evaluation. Eventually, don't be surprised to see increased attrition among your existing clients.
It is pertinent to treat ISO 27001 compliance as any other ongoing IT project. As such, there is no fast-track solution to implementing the standard. Some best practices include:
The ISO 27001 certification standard recognizes that every SaaS organization has its unique requirements when developing an ISMS. Therefore, there is no universally mandatory information security control for compliance because not all will be appropriate. Instead, organizations should perform activities that inform their decisions on which controls to implement.
Below are the essential SaaS requirements when implementing ISO 27001 certification for SaaS:
After implementing these steps, SaaS companies should regularly conduct management reviews and internal audits to identify instances of non-conformities to improve the ISMS continually.
If you want to start the ISO 27001 certification process, GreyCastle Security can help. Our readiness service provides a 100% success rate and provides clients with assurance in the security of their organizations. Use our ISO 27001 certification for SaaS guides to prepare your business for compliance. Also, get the certification requirements, essential information, and best practices to prepare for your audit.
As the single globally accepted information security standard, the ISO 27001 certification demonstrates your ability to put the full spectrum of data security best practices in place. Furthermore, it proves that you have a managed, verifiable, and mature approach to information security, which encompasses risk, compliance, and governance.
Contact GreyCastle Security to help you prepare for your ISO 27001 certification today!
Looking for additional information about ISO 27001? Be sure to download our ISO 27001 Compliance Roadmap.