ISO 27001 Clause 6.1 Actions to address risks and opportunities -infosavvy

ISO 27001 Clause 6.1 Actions to address risks and opportunities

Actions to address risks and opportunities


ISO/IEC 27001:2013 cares with the design of actions to deal with all kinds of risks and opportunities that are relevant to the ISMS. This includes risk assessment and planning for risk treatment.

The structure of ISO/IEC 27001 subdivides risks into two categories during planning:

  • Risks and opportunities relevant to the intended outcome(s) of the ISMS as a whole;
  • Information security risks that relate to the loss of confidentiality, integrity and availability of data within the scope of the ISMS.

The first category should be handled in accordance with requirements laid out in ISO/IEC 27001:2013 (general). Risks that fall under this category are often risks concerning the ISMS itself, the ISMS scope definition, top management’s commitment to information security, resources for operating the ISMS, etc. Opportunities that fall under this category are often opportunities concerning the outcome(s) of the ISMS, the commercial value of an ISMS, the efficiency of operating ISMS processes and knowledge security controls, etc.

The second category consists of all risks that directly relate to the loss of confidentiality, integrity and availability of data within the scope of the ISMS. These risks should be handled in accordance with (information security risk assessment) and (information security risk treatment). Organizations may prefer to use different techniques for every category.

The subdivision of requirements for addressing risks are often explained as follows:

  • It encourages compatibility with other management systems standards for those organizations that have integrated management systems for various aspects like quality, environment and knowledge security;
  • It requires that the organization defines and applies complete and detailed processes for information security risk assessment and treatment;
  • It emphasizes that information security risk management is that the core element of an ISMS. ISO/IEC 27001:2013 uses the expressions ‘determine the risks and opportunities’ and ‘address these risks and opportunities. The word “determine” are often considered to be like the word “assess” utilized in ISO/IEC 27001:2013 (i.e. identify, analyze and evaluate). Similarly, the word “address” are often considered like the word “treat” utilized in ISO/IEC 27001:2013.

When planning for the ISMS, the organization determines the risks and opportunities considering issues mentioned in understanding the organization and its context and requirements mentioned in understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties.

Implementation Guideline

For risks and opportunities relevant to the intended outcome(s) of the ISMS, the organization determines them supported internal and external issues and requirements from interested parties.

Then the organization plans its ISMS to:

  • Make sure that intended outcomes are delivered by the ISMS, e.g. that the knowledge security risks are known to the danger owners and treated to a suitable level;
  • Prevent or reduce undesired effects of risks relevant to the intended outcome(s) of the ISMS;
  • Achieve continual improvement, e.g. through appropriate mechanisms to detect and proper weaknesses within the management processes or taking opportunities for improving information security. Risks connected to a) above might be unclear processes and responsibilities, poor awareness among employees, poor engagement from management, etc. Risks connected to b) above might be poor risk management or poor awareness of risks. Risks connected to c) above might be poor management of the ISMS documentation and processes.

When a corporation pursues opportunities in its activities, these activities then affect the context of the organization (ISO/IEC 27001:2013) or the requirements and expectations of interested parties (ISO/IEC 27001:2013), may change the risks to the organization.

Examples of such opportunities can be:

Focusing its business on some areas of products or services, establishing marketing strategy for a few countries, or expanding business partnerships with other organizations. Opportunities also exist in continual improvements of the ISMS processes and documentation, along side evaluation of the intended outcomes delivered by the ISMS. for instance, consideration of a comparatively new ISMS often leads to identification of opportunities to refining processes by clarifying interfaces, reducing administrative overhead, eliminating parts of processes that aren’t cost effective, by refining documentation and introducing new information technology.

The planning includes the determination of:

  • Actions to deal with the risks and opportunities;
  •  The way to:
  • Integrate and implement these actions into the ISMS processes;
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of those actions.

The organization should:

1. Determine risks and opportunities which will affect the achievement of the goals described in a), b) and c), considering the problems mentioned in understanding the organization and its context and therefore the requirements mentioned in understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties;
2. Develop an idea to implement the determined actions and to gauge the effectiveness of these actions;

Actions should be planned considering integration of data security processes and documentation in existing structures; of these actions are linked with information security objectives against which the knowledge security risks are assessed and treated. The general requirement to repeatedly improve the ISMS stated in ISO/IEC 27001:2013, 10.2 is supported by the need to realize continual improvement given in 6.1.1 with other relevant requirements of ISO/IEC 27001:2013).The actions required in this often different for strategical, tactical and operational levels, for various sites, or for various services or systems.

Several approaches are often taken to satisfy the wants of two of which are:

  • considering risks and opportunities related to planning, implementing and operating the ISMS separately from information security risks;
  • considering all risks simultaneously.

An organization that’s integrating an ISMS into a longtime management system can find that the wants of are met by the organization’s existing business planning methodology. Where this is often the case, care should be taken to verify that the methodology covers all the wants on the general. Documented information on this activity and its outcome is mandatory only within the form and to the extent the organization determines as necessary for the effectiveness of its management system.

ISO 27001 Requirements

Clause 4.2 Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties 
Clause 4.4 Information security management system
Clause 4.3 Determining the scope of the information security management system
Clause 5.1 Leadership and commitment
Clause 5.2 Policy
Clause 5.3 Organizational roles, responsibilities and authorities 
Clause 6.1.2 Information security risk assessment process
Clause 6.1.3 Information security risk treatment
Clause 6.2 Information security objectives & planning
Clause 7.1 Resources
Clause 7.2 Competence
Clause 7.3 Awareness
Clause 7.4 Communication
Clause 7.5 Documented information Implementation Guideline
Clause 8.1 Operational planning & control
Clause 8.2 Information security risk assessment
Clause 8.3 Information security risk treatment
Clause 9.1 Performance evaluation Monitoring, measurement, analysis & evaluation
Clause 9.2 Internal audit
Clause 9.3 Management review
Clause 10.1 Non conformity and corrective action
Clause 10.2 Continual Improvement  

ISO 27001 Annex A Controls

Annex A.5 Information Security Policies
Annex A.6 Organization of Information Security
Annex A.6.2 Mobile Devices and Teleworking
Annex A.7 Human Resource Security
Annex A.7.2 During Employment
Annex A.7.3 Termination and Change of Employment
Annex A.8 Asset Management
Annex A.8.1.3 Acceptable Use of Assets & A.8.1.4 Return of Assets
Annex A.8.2 Information Classification
Annex A.8.2.2 Labeling of Information & A.8.2.3 Handling of Assets
Annex A.8.3 Media Handling
Annex A.9 Access Control
Annex A.9.1.2 Access to Networks and Network Services
Annex A.9.2 User Access Management
Annex A.9.2.3 Management of Privileged Access Rights  
Annex A.9.2.4 Management of Secret Authentication Information of Users
Annex A.9.2.5 Review of User Access Rights 
Annex A.9.2.6 Removal or Adjustment of Access Rights
Annex A.9.3 User Responsibilities
Annex A.9.4 System and Application Access Control
Annex A.9.4.4 Use of Privileged Utility Programs 
Annex A.9.4.5 Access Control to Program Source Code
Annex A.10 Cryptography
Annex A.11 Physical and Environmental Security
Annex A.11.2 Equipment
Annex A.11.1.3 Securing Offices, Rooms and Facilities
Annex A.11.1.4 Protecting Against External and Environmental Threats
Annex A.11.1.5 Working in Secure Areas
Annex A.11.1.6 Delivery and Loading Areas
Annex A.11.2.4 Equipment Maintenance
Annex A.11.2.5 Removal of Assets
Annex A.11.2.6 Security of Kit and Assets Off-Premises
Annex A.11.2.7 Secure Disposal or Re-use of Equipment
Annex A.11.2.8 Unattended User Equipment
Annex A.11.2.9 Clear Desk and Clear Screen Policy
Annex A.12 Operations Security
Annex A.12.2 Protection from Malware
Annex A.12.3 Backup
Annex A.12.4 Logging and Monitoring
Annex A.12.5 Control of Operational Software
Annex A.12.6 Technical Vulnerability Management
Annex A.12.7 Information Systems Audit Considerations
Annex A.13 Communications Security
Annex A.13.2 Information Transfer
Annex A.13.2.3 Electronic Messaging
Annex A.13.2.4 Confidentiality or Non-Disclosure Agreements
Annex 14 System Acquisition, Development and Maintenance
Annex A.14.1.2 Securing Application Services on Public Networks
Annex A.14.1.3 Protecting Application Services Transactions
Annex A.14.2 Security in Development and Support Processes
Annex A.14.2.3 Technical Review of Applications after Operating Platform Changes
Annex A.14.2.4 Restrictions on Changes to Software Packages
Annex A.14.2.5 Secure System Engineering Principles
Annex A.14.2.6 Secure Development Environment
Annex A.14.2.7 Outsourced Development
Annex A.14.2.8 System Security Testing
Annex A.14.2.9 System Acceptance Testing
Annex A.14.3 Test data
Annex A.15 Supplier Relationships
Annex A.15.1.2 Addressing Security Within Supplier Agreements
Annex A.15.1.3 Information and Communication Technology Supply Chain
Annex A.15.2 Supplier Service Delivery Management
Annex A.16 Information Security Incident Management
Annex A.16.1.2 Reporting Information Security Events
Annex A.16.1.3 Reporting Information Security Weaknesses
Annex A.16.1.4 Assessment of and Decision on Information Security Events
Annex A.16.1.5 Response to Information Security Incidents
Annex A.16.1.6 Learning from Information Security Incidents
Annex A.16.1.7 Collection of Evidence
Annex A.17 Information Security Aspects of Business Continuity Management
Annex A.17.1.3 Verify, Review and Evaluate Information Security Continuity
Annex A.18 Compliance
Annex A.18.1.3 Protection of Records
Annex A.18.1.4 Privacy and Protection of Personally Identifiable Information
Annex A.18.1.5 Regulation of Cryptographic Controls
Annex 18.2 Information Security Reviews

About ISO 27002

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