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Sunday, July 6, 2008

ISMS Auditing Guideline [ Pdf File ]

This guideline has been written by members of the ISO27k Implementers' Forum, an international online community of neatly 1,000 practitioners actively using the ISO/IEC 27000-family of Information Security Management System (ISMS) standards known colloquially as "ISO27k", and base at Our primary aim is to contribute to the development of the new standard ISO/IEC 27007 by providing what we, as experienced ISMS implementers and IT/ISMS auditors, believe is worthwhile content. A secondary aim to provide a pragmatic and useful guideline for those involved in auditing ISMSs.

At the time of first writing this guideline (February-March 2008). ISO/IEC 27007 is currently at the first Working Draft stage ("ISO/IEC WD 27007") and has been circulated to ISO member bodies for study and comment by March 14 2008. Its working title is "Information Technology - Security techniques - Guidelines for information security management systems auditing".

The Proposed outline structure of ISO/IEC WD 27007 is presently as follows:
- Foreword and introduction
1. Scope
2. Normative references
3. Terms and definitions
4. Principles of auditing
5. Managing an audit programme
6. Audit activities
7. Competence and evaluation of auditors
- Bibliography

In the proposed structure, section 6 should presumably explain how to go about auditing an ISMS. The current working draft has headings for a guide to audit process but little content on the actual audit tests to be performed, although in section 6.3.1 it identifies a list of items that are required by ISO/IEC 27001 and says that "Auditors should check that all these documents exist and conform to the requirements in ISO/IEC 27001"2005". This is probably the most basic type of ISMS audit test: are the specified ISMS documents present? We feel that a generic ISMS audit checklist (often called an "Internal Controls Questionnaire" by IT auditors) would be a very useful addition to the standard and producing one was a key aim of this guideline - in fact we have produced two (see the appendices). We also aim to contribute content draft 27007 and hope to track its development through future revisions.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

ISO/IEC 27005 Information technology -- Security techniques -- Information security risk management

This standard was published in June 2008.

“ISO/IEC 27005:2008 provides guidelines for information security risk management. It supports the general concepts specified in ISO/IEC 27001 and is designed to assist the satisfactory implementation of information security based on a risk management approach. Knowledge of the concepts, models, processes and terminologies described in ISO/IEC 27001 and ISO/IEC 27002 is important for a complete understanding of ISO/IEC 27005:2008. ISO/IEC 27005:2008 is applicable to all types of organizations (e.g. commercial enterprises, government agencies, non-profit organizations) which intend to manage risks that could compromise the organization's information security.”

ISO/IEC 27005 revises the Management of Information and Communications Technology Security (MICTS) standards ISO/IEC TR 13335-3:1998 plus ISO/IEC TR 13335-4:2000.
Some personal comments on ’27005

[These are just my personal perspective. They inevitably reflect my own prejudices and limited experience with information security risk management.]

At around 60 sides, ISO/IEC 27005 is a heavyweight standard although the main part is just 24 pages, the rest being mostly annexes with examples and further information for users. There is quite a lot of meat on the bones, reflecting the complexities in this area.

Although the standard defines risk as “a combination of the consequences that would follow from the occurrence of an unwanted event and the likelihood of the occurrence of the event”, the risk analysis process outlined in the standard indicates the need to identify information assets at risk, the potential threats or threat sources, the potential vulnerabilities and the potential consequences (impacts) if risks materialize. Examples of threats, vulnerabilities and impacts are tabulated in the annexes; although incomplete, these may prove useful for brainstorming risks relating to information assets under evaluation. It is clearly implied that automated system security vulnerability assessment tools are insufficient for risk analysis without taking into account other vulnerabilities plus the threats and impacts.

The standard includes a section and annex on defining the scope and boundaries of information security risk management which should, I guess, be no less than the scope of the ISMS.

The standard deliberately remains agnostic about quantitative and qualitative risk assessment methods, essentially recommending that users choose whatever methods suit them best, and noting that they are both methods of estimating, not defining, risks. Note the plural - 'methods' - the implication being that different methods might be used for, say, a high-level risk assessment followed by more in-depth risk analysis on the high risk areas. The pros and cons of quantitative vs qualitative methods do get a mention.

The steps in the process are (mostly) defined to the level of inputs -> actions -> outputs, with additional “implementation guidance” in similar style to ISO/IEC 27002.

The standard incorporates some iterative elements e.g. if the results of an assessment are unsatisfactory, you loop-back to the inputs and have another run through. For those of us who think in pictures, there are useful figures giving an overview of the whole process and more detail on the risk assessment -> risk treatment -> residual risk bit.

AMS9000 Audit Management Software

The value of information within an organisation is enormous. But there are lots of threats that put this value at risk. How to protect it best? Typically individual solutions are used to respond to specific threats. However, to be successful you need a framework for information security. This is a management system as it is described in ISO 17799 and BS 7799. It allows to integrate individual solutions into one concept.

The PDCA model is already used in other management systems like quality management. And it works fine within the information security management system (ISMS):

* Plan: Establish the information security management system (ISMS).
* Do: Implement and operate the ISMS.
* Check: Monitor and review the ISMS.
* Act: Maintain and improve the ISMS.

Close the gaps with AMS9000 and protect the value of your information

AMS9000 assists you in establishing and maintaining your ISMS

As part of the JKT9000 family of management software modules, AMS9000 is the audit management software. This programme is designed to handle all aspects of an internal audit programme, from planning audits to the follow-up of corrective actions against deficiencies found.

AMS9000 can be used to verify compliance with any kind of standards including ISO 17799 or ISO 27001. Further you can use it to audit e.g. your quality management system (ISO 9000) or your environmental management system (ISO 14000).
The Workflow of the AMS9000-Navigator, ISMS Audit Software

AMS9000 uses a Navigator which includes a brief workflow of the steps being subject to audit management. To enter any of these steps the users just clicks the icon.
audi tmanagement software

Functions of AMS9000, Audit Management Software

* maintains the audit schedule, checklist preparation and all audit info.
* allows to enter own checklist items and/or text directly from own procedures.
* comes with checklist requirements derived directly from the 1994 and 2000 ISO9001 Standards
* stores pending files for follow-up items to be considered in future audits
* allows to take containment, corrective and preventive actions against deficiencies found in the audit
* tracks all nonconformances, including actions and verification
* comprises reports covering trend analysis and audit summaries and 'reminder' reports to track corrective action and implementations.
* Field names of the screens can be altered to suit your individual company language.
* provides user-definable fields.
* all users get their information relevant to their needs by email.

Reports in AMS9000, Audit Management Software

All reports mentioned below can be filtered by further criteria to meet the user's information needs.

* audit schedules
* audit history report
* print checklists
* internal audit Corrective Action Summary
* supplier audit Corrective Action Summary
* Corrective Actions not responded to yet
* NCs vs. ISO clause x-tab
* past due Corrective Action responses
* pending Corrective Action implementations.

Next to these standard system reports which might cover the basic needs the user has the option to create 'custom reports'.

When printing Corrective Action reports, there are the following options:

* prints Corrective Action Request on a single page
* prints Corrective Action Request on 3 pages minimum, but expands as required
* prints Corrective Action Request summary and attaches all activity logs.
* prints Corrective Action Request summary and attaches all subcase activity.
* prints blank page for manual use
* completed Corrective Action Request form shows more details on one page
* Corrective Action Request 7 Step (Chrysler) Style form
* Corrective Action Request 8D style single page form.

Module types of AMS9000, Audit Management Software

* Standalone & LAN Configurations
* WAN & Client Server Configurations
* Web-based Configuration

The standards ISO 17799/ISO27001 and BS 7799

ISO 17799 (ISO 27001 or BS 7799-1) is a code of practice for information security management. It gives recommendations for information security management, i.e. for initiating, implementing or maintaining security. ISO 17799 provides a comprehensive set of controls comprising best practices in information security. It is intended to provide a common basis for developing organisational security standards and effective security management practice. It provides recommendations and guidance that usually an organisation should address. This means that an organisation is requested to go ahead from this starting point or common basis. This has to be kept in mind when using general checklists to audit an ISMS. The specifics of an organisation always have to shine through the design of the ISMS including the audit checklist and audit procedures.

BS 7799-2 is concerned with the management system. The standard mentions four major areas:

* Information Security Management System (ISMS)
* Management Responsibility
* Management Review
* ISMS Improvement

Benefits for your information security management system

AMS9000 is an audit software tool to audit an information security management system. It supports the entire audit process.

It can be used to audit compliance with standards such as ISO 17799 / ISO 27001 and BS 7799.

Further benefits are:

* AMS9000 kann zum Auditieren nach ISO 17799 / SO 27001, BS 7799 und anderer Standards zur Informationssicherheit benutzt werden. Darüber hinaus kann es für andere Audit benutzt werden, wie sie etwa aus dem Qualitätsmanagement bekannt sind. Sie brauchen nicht für jeweils verschiedene Audits eine andere Auditsoftware.
* AMS9000 can be used to audit against ISO 17799 and BS 7799 or any other information security management standard. However, it can be used for other audits as well known from quality management. You do not need a different audit tool for each kind of audit.
* Get evidence of conformance with ISO 17799 or whatever checklist you apply. This can be helpful when you like to register to BS 7799 part 2.
* Efficient and quick analysis and report significantly reduces time and resources necessary.
* Low training needs through ease to use and intuitive handling of the software.
* Management of corrective actions assists you in improving your information security management.

AMS9000, Audit Management Software, is developed by

auditmanagement software

Monday, June 30, 2008

ISO 27001 Certification FAQ

What is certification?
ISO/IEC 27001 certification is the process by which an organization’s ISMS is examined against the ISO/IEC 27001 specification by an accredited certification body.

What is a certification body?
A certification body (also called a registration body, assessment and registration body, or registrar) is a third party that assesses and certifies that the ISMS of an organization meets the requirements of the standard.

Who accredits certification bodies?
Accreditation organizations accredit the competence of certification bodies to perform services in the areas of product and management system approval. These accreditation organizations are often, but not always national in scope.

What is the certification process?
The certification process includes:

1. Part 1 audit (also known as a desktop audit). Here the CB auditor examines the pertinent documentation.
2. Taking action on the results of the part 1 audit.
3. Part 2 audit (on site audit). Here the CB sends an audit team to examine your implementation of the reviewed, documented ISMS.
4. Correction of audit findings. Agreeing to a surveillance schedule.
5. Issuance of certificate. (Depending on the CB this can take a few weeks to several months.)

Following initial certification, the ISMS is subject to surveillance as specified by the CB, and then requires re-certification after three years.



Contrary to common belief, certification is applicable against ISO 27001, rather than ISO 17799. The certification itelf is international, in that National Accreditation Bodies have a mutual recognition model in place enabling certifications granted in one territory to be recognized in another. Clearly, this is essential for an international standard.

Common reasons to seek certification include: Organisational assurance; trading partner assurance; Competitive advantage (market leverage); reduction or elimination of trade barriers; reduced regulation costs; and so on.

To meet the certification requirements, an organization's ISMS must be audited by a 'Certification Body' (or strictly speaking, an assessor who works for a Certification Body). There is a clear segregation of dutues here: the assessor must be independent of consultancy and training.

A Certification Body must have been accredited by the National Accreditation Body for the territory in question (eg: UKAS in the UK). This helps ensure that the Certification Bodies meet national and international standards for their services, and ensure consistency. In respect to ISO 27001, this is typically a document called EA-7/03 (‘Guidelines for Accreditation of Bodies Operating Certification / Registration of Information Security Management Systems’).

The following diagram may clarify this process:

Different certification bodies tend to adopt slightly different approaches to the exercise, with some being more 'hands on' than others. However, the following six step process is a fairly common one:

1 - Questionnaire (the Certification Body obtains details of your requirements)
2 - Application for Assessment (you complete the application form)
3 - Pre-assessment Visit or a ‘Gap Analysis’ (optional).
4 – The Stage 1 Audit (a ‘Document Review’). This is the first part of the audit proper.
5 - The Stage 2 Audit (otherwise called the ‘Compliance Audit’)
6 – Ongoing Audits

Monday, June 9, 2008

How to apply ISO 27002 to PCI DSS compliance

This tip is part of's Compliance School lesson, Building a risk-based compliance program. Visit the Building a risk-based compliance program main page for related materials, or check out the Security School Course Catalog for more learning content.

The PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) consists of 12 mandatory high-level requirements for all organizations that store, transmit, or process payment cards. These 12 requirements are further subdivided into sections, describing activities that organizations must engage in while managing their networks, administering their systems, and, in general protecting the payment card data with which they have been entrusted.

While PCI DSS details compliance requirements in most areas, its directives make only passing reference (if at all) to an overall security framework into which the required actions must fit. If organizations simply follow the PCI DSS blindly, they may not achieve the overall security goals.

ISO 27002, also known as ISO 17799, is a security standard of practice. In other words, it is a comprehensive list of security practices that can be applied -- in varying degrees -- to all organizations. The benefit of such a standard to organizations attempting to comply with the PCI-DSS is twofold. First, it provides a framework that allows organizations to achieve their PCI security goals along with those from other sources, like industry or governmental regulations. Second, it provides guidance on how to fit some of PCI's governance and policy requirements into an organization's compliance program.

For example, ISO 27002 discusses the necessity of involving business, management, human resources and technology representatives in the security program. It also provides references for high-level policies for important areas such as data classification, data handling and access control. While PCI DSS describes specific technical practices and organizational activities, it doesn't talk about the overall program in which these activities exist or the specific policies that require these activities.

When a company establishes a program based on a broad standard like ISO 27002, it can treat the PCI-DSS requirements as a subset of those required by the ISO. Further, a program structured according to ISO 27002 will require organizations to employ critical support systems required by many regulations (and PCI DSS in particular). For example, ISO 27002 requires change control in network administration, system configuration, policy management, procedure management and software development. PCI DSS calls out the need for accurate diagrams and documentation for its network and systems as well as change control processes to ensure discipline in administration of the PCI DSS-related components.

ISO 27002's broad requirements for change control associated with all aspects of administration encourage a consistent approach across an enterprise. This kind of approach, when applied to PCI DSS, would help improve both the consistency, effectiveness and efficiency of change control across a company and increase the likelihood that an auditor would find a company's practices acceptable.

Another benefit of combining the structure of ISO 27002 and the specific requirements of PCI DSS is that the PCI DSS helps organizations define three of the most challenging aspects of ISO compliance: scope of compliance, data classification and data handling. Armed with these constraining requirements, organizations can define policies and procedures that are consistent with best practice as specified by ISO and directly address PCI DSS compliance. For example, PCI DSS defines what aspects of credit card data are sensitive. It describes access control requirements for credit card information, encryption requirements for transmission and storage, and even the testing necessary to verify effectiveness of controls. These specific requirements allow organizations to state how systems must be configured, how employees must treat data and how an organization monitors the effectiveness of its controls.

A growing number of organizations are building security programs according to standard frameworks like ISO 27002. These frameworks are allowing organizations to factor compliance with multiple regulations and contracts into their security programs in a consistent and effective manner.

The beauty of using the ISO standard with specific regulations is that the regulations fill in the necessary details that the framework lacks while the framework provides structure to address multiple sets of requirements consistently. The two concepts work hand in hand and provide effectiveness, efficiency and auditability.

About the author:
Richard E. "Dick" Mackey is regarded as one of the industry's foremost authorities on security and compliance. He is a frequent speaker and contributor to magazines and online publications. He has advised leading financial firms on compliance with PCI, GLBA and SOX. He has also provided guidance to a wide range of companies on enterprise security architectures, identity and access management and security policy and governance.

New Risk Assessment Tool for ISO27001 Consultants Simplifies and Accelerates Compliance Process for Clients

Following the successful launch of the vsRisk ISO27001 compliance tool at Infosecurity Europe 2007, Vigilant Software has launched a complementary software tool for IT consultants and information security specialists. vsRisk Consultant Edition (vsRCE) is a powerful new software product that will enable information security consultants to deploy vsRisk as their preferred risk assessment tool in up to 10 different clients.

Targeted at specialist consultants dealing with ISO27001 compliance, vsRCE is an affordable and intuitive risk assessment management tool for the IT consultant community that allows consultants the ability to directly support their clients' risk assessment activity from an off-site location. vsRCE allows clients to create and export risk assessment files that can be analysed on the consultants' own workstations or laptops, and then re-imported into the client's own software.

vsRCE allows IT consultants to manage up to ten separate risk assessments or risk assessment in up to ten different organisations, each of which must have purchased its own copy of vsRisk. By working in harmony with its sister application vsRisk, vsRCE will dramatically reduce the time and effort it takes for companies to achieve ISO27001 compliance, transferring an important element of the work to the consultant and ensuring that the work of the project team can be monitored more closely.

In addition to supporting ISO/IEC27001, vsRCE supports ISO/IEC27002 (17799); complies with BS7799-3:2006; conforms to ISO/IEC TR 13335-3:1998 and NIST SP 800-30; and complies with the UK's Risk Assessment Standard.

Vigilant Software is a joint venture between IT Governance Limited, the one-stop-shop for books, tools and information on ISO27001 compliance, and Top Solutions (UK) Limited, an award-winning developer of risk management software tools.

Alan Calder, Chief Executive of IT Governance, commented, "vsRCE is the perfect complement to vsRisk and offers a major enhancement to vsRisk users. By employing a consultant who uses vsRCE, companies can simplify and speed the process of achieving ISO27001 compliance. For consultants, it offers a means of providing greater added value and is therefore a powerful competitive advantage."