Is ISO27001 or Cyber Essentials right for my business?


When it comes to information security standards, selecting the right approach for your business is the key to protecting your organisation and the customers you serve.

The ISO27001 standard and Cyber Essentials certification are two of the main choices for those looking to improve how they defend their businesses and the data they hold dear in the ever-evolving cyber security landscape. So which one is right for your business? Here we take a closer look at both standards to help you answer that very question.

What is Cyber Essentials?

Cyber Essentials is an information security standard specifically developed with UK businesses in mind. The certification is available in two levels, Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus, the latter of which is verified by a third party that is independent from your business, rather than self-assessed.

Cyber Essentials is exactly that! The standard offers best practice across essential controls, such as firewalls, configuration, user access, malware and security update management. By utilising its guidance and obtaining certification across each to the specified standard, you can actively safeguard the devices, services, data and internet connection used by your organisation.

What is ISO27001?

Unlike the Cyber Essentials standard, ISO27001 is internationally recognised. The leading standard is one of the world’s best known, and provides best practice in data protection and cyber resilience.

Achieving ISO27001 certification ensures your organisation’s most valuable information can be protected. ISO27001 focuses on confidentiality, integrity and availability to uphold the highest standard of information security management, identify risks, and implement controls and other mitigation methods to reduce exposure to cybercrime.  

An ISO27001 certified organisation needs to make continuous improvements to retain their documentation and ensure their Information Security Management System (ISMS) can stand up to the latest and greatest threats.

Which is right for me?

There are many factors that will influence whether Cyber Essentials or ISO27001 is the right security standard for you. The security requirements of your organisation and the markets you reside in or target are important considerations when making your choice.

The government-backed, industry-supported Cyber Essentials scheme may cover the basics, but it is proven to guard against the most common cyber threats as well as demonstrate a commitment to cyber security that modern day consumers want to see.

Like ISO27001 certification, your Cyber Essentials standard approach must be regularly reviewed to continue to deliver the protection you and your customers deserve. Both the ISO27001 and Cyber Essentials standards are suitable for businesses of all sizes and niches.

ISO27001 is considered a more complex approach to information security, and requires assistance and support from an external auditor to achieve the necessary certification. This standard enables you to go beyond the basic controls to safeguard your informational and physical assets effectively.

It is often advisable to seek the help of ISO27001 consultants who are able to provide an objective external perspective on an organisation in order to identify weaknesses and recommend remedial work.

Why choose just one?

You don’t have to stick to just one information security standard. Many organisations use both the Cyber Essentials and ISO27001 standards to ensure complete business protection, updated controls, and a vital defence against cybercrime.

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