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Conducting ISO/IEC 27001 audits: A step-by-step guide for Lead Auditors

ISO 27001:2013 Lead auditor certification

What is an internal audit for ISO 27001?

Prior to the primary certification audit by an external auditor, the ISO 27001 internal audit functions much like a dress rehearsal. Organizations must undertake internal audits at predetermined periods in accordance with ISO/IEC 27001:2013. Internal audits determine whether the Information Own Management System (ISMS) of a company complies with both its security standards and the ISO standard. In other words, they assist in identifying any holes or weaknesses that may affect the effectiveness of your organization’s ISMS and its capacity to achieve the targeted information security goals.

Internal audits are not one-off procedures. Even after a successful certification (but before your recertification audit), they must be carried out to determine whether your Information Security Management System still complies with the ISO 27001 standard. This is to determine whether your firm is audit-ready.

Internal audit standards are outlined in clause 9.2 of the ISO/IEC 27001 standard. Internal audits are required:

  1. To occur at regular periods
  2. Specify the objectives and parameters of each audit while taking into account the findings of earlier audits.
  3. Pick auditors carefully so that the audit process is kept neutral and objective.
  4. See to it that audit findings and conclusions are communicated to management.
  5. Keep records for each stage of the audit.

Keep in mind that ISO 27001 does not specify how frequently a company must perform an internal audit.

Internal Audit Process for ISO 27001 (Step-by-step)

The audit criteria and scope for each audit should be established before beginning an internal audit. The audit scope may include, among other things, the information assets, systems, procedures, locations, personnel, goods, and services of your company.

Assuming you have an internal auditor in place, let’s walk through the internal audit procedure step by step.

Step 1: Initial Review of Documentation

To make sure the audit scope is appropriately defined and adequately covers the ISMS, the internal auditor will first review all of your documented information, including the ISO 27001 Scope Statement, Statement of Applicability, Information Security Policies, Risk Assessments, and Risk Treatment Plan, among others.

The internal auditor can assess if the controls according to the ISO standard have been implemented properly with the aid of an examination of the documentation.

Making a list of the individuals who designed, implemented, or kept an eye on your ISMS’s controls is a smart idea. Control owners can assist in addressing any questions the internal auditor may have.

Step 2: Management review

The management should examine and approve the full audit plan. It’s a good idea to schedule regular meetings to define timetable expectations and maintain open lines of communication with management.

The management must also evaluate the internal audit report and decide whether the company is prepared for the external ISO certification audit after consulting with the internal auditor.

Step 3: Field Evaluation

Your internal audit evaluation is a field review. Following a review of your paperwork, the auditor will assess your ISMS by conducting audit tests, validating the evidence, recording the tests and observations, and gathering evidence to illustrate what is and isn’t working. In order to understand how the staff adheres to the ISMS, the auditor will also interview staff members.

Step 4: Analysis

This stage comprises assessing and analysing the gathered data in order to match it to the organization’s risk management strategies and control goals. These studies often highlight the need to strengthen your security posture, carry out more tests, or close control holes.

Noncompliances often fall under one of the following categories:

  1. Significant deviation
  2. A little deviation
  3. Possibility for development

All problems or non-conformities found during the internal audit must be monitored, recorded, examined, and fixed.

Step 5: Internal Audit Reports

On the basis of their observations and analyses, the auditor will present an internal audit report. The audit’s scope, objectives, and extent will be included in the report. The report will go into depth about the auditor’s findings on the ISMS, as well as the policies, procedures, and security measures that are effective and ineffective.

The auditor will deliver an internal audit report to management based on their audit findings and analyses. The report will outline the audit’s scope, goal, and breadth. It will also provide evidence for which policies, procedures, and controls are effective and which are not.

For instance, the auditor would flag it as a non-conformity if your organization’s security policy mentions taking system backups once per day but the backup log doesn’t support this.

The report includes information on remedial measures, recommendations, and remediations in addition to the main findings. As previously stated, this report is given to management for additional evaluation and an action plan.

How can Tsaaro help?

The goal of ISO 27001:2013 Lead Auditor Certification is to develop experts who can assist a company in establishing, administering, and implementing an Information Security Management System (ISMS) based on ISO/IEC 27001.

A professional qualification for audit team leaders working for certifying bodies or conducting supplier audits for large enterprises is the Certified ISO 27001:2013 Lead Auditor credential. Two years of professional experience as an auditor or lead auditor in training are required for ISO 27001:2013 Lead Auditor Certification, in addition to tertiary education. You will have the power to oversee the full risk management system after you are certified to ISO 27001:2013.

By utilising widely accepted audit principles, methods, and methodologies, ISO/IEC 27001 Lead Auditor training helps you to gain the competence essential to conduct an Information Security Management System (ISMS) audit.

The course lasts five days and includes live online instruction (via Zoom). This comprises 40 hours of instruction led by instructors.

Developing the knowledge and abilities necessary to organise and carry out internal and external audits in accordance with ISO 19011 and ISO/IEC 17021-1 certification procedure is one of the objectives. It also entails learning audit procedures and developing the necessary management skills for an audit team, audit programme, customer relations, and conflict resolution.

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