ISO compliance requires a company to follow the standards set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO compliance differs from ISO certification. An organisation is deemed compliant when the standards are met but they may not be certified as it is a long process and costly because it requires an audit. Some frameworks may not offer certification in the first place. ISO compliance can be very beneficial for businesses and it covers different aspects of the company. The standards are updated when necessary to ensure that organisations comply with the most relevant requirements.
Polonious is ISO-compliant and certified. We meet the highest international standards by meeting the ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 requirements. We undertake all audits and procedures necessary to ensure that we offer the best quality service to our customers. The audits performed to ensure Polonious achieves ISO compliance cover all parts of the Integrated Management System which concerns all our processes.
The International Organization for Standardization has created different standards to cover a range of business processes. Before deciding to comply with ISO standards, it is important to understand how those apply to your business. There are various frameworks such as:
ISO 9001 focuses on quality management which involves the quality of the products and services that a company offers to its customers. ISO compliance ensures that the business is continuously improving and changes its value proposition to meet customer expectations. This framework is followed by businesses in various countries and over a million of them are certified. Companies, like Polonious, that have this certification, prioritise customer satisfaction and consistency in the delivery of their services.
This framework was revised a few years ago and the newer version is ISO 9001:2015. The new revision tried to improve the older version based on feedback and includes new terminology and highlights the importance of risk-based thinking and decision making in business processes. To ensure ISO compliance businesses must follow the requirements related to management, leaders and documentation.
Confidentiality is crucial for every business and storing information securely is necessary to protect customers and employees. For example, the recent Optus data breach involved an unsecured API pointing to a production environment – a simple error that could’ve been picked up if that system had been audited against ISO standards. ISO/IEC 27001 sets standards for information security management. By complying with the standards, a business does not only manage its financial information, but also the information provided to and by third parties. The requirements were created by ISO along with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
The framework acts as a guide to show businesses how to handle their data and their customers’ details. Polonious is ISO 27001 certified as confidentiality and secure storage of evidence are crucial during an investigation. Being certified with this framework ensures that only authorised people have access to relevant information and that it is accessible whenever and wherever.
ISO 22301:2019 Security and resilience focuses on operating a business with very few to or not disruptions at all. The framework was recently revised in October 2019, the standards aim to improve Business Continuity Management Systems and prepare the company for possible threats that may materialise.
The past few weeks, numerous Australian companies have been hit by cyberattacks. These cause great disruptions for businesses and could damage the relationship they have with their customers. This is what ISO 22301 tries to prevent. It aims to prepare employers to address current and future risks that their organisation may face so damage from those threats can be minimised.
Compliance is crucial for every business and 37301 tries to promote a compliance culture to prevent the negative consequences of businesses not adhering to laws and regulations. ISO 37301 replaced ISO 19600 in April 2001 and companies can now be certified with the new standard. Compliance management is very important as it can be a threat to the success of an entity. It carries both short-term and long-term consequences which is why ISO compliance is crucial in minimising this risk. The standards do not only refer to legal requirements but adaptability to ethical and social values as well. It promotes good governance, integrity and transparency within the organisation.
While ISO frameworks overall focus on preventing threats from affecting the business or being present in the first place, ISO 31000 reinforces the importance of risk management in a workplace. If a company improves its risk management, then it is more likely that it will achieve its objectives and be successful.
ISO 31000 looks at the probability of events, the factors that influence them and the potential impact they could have on the organisation. Unlike other ISO frameworks, this one cannot be used for certification purposes – though the methodology underpins much of the risk management in other standards, such as 27001. ISO compliance is voluntary and aims to help the business make smarter decisions without being formally recognised beyond seeing better results.
ISO 31000 is often compared with the COSO framework but they have many differences that distinguish the two such as a different audience.
Workplace health and safety plays an important role in every business. ISO 45001:2018 provides standards for the management systems of occupational health and safety. Compliance with this framework aims to decrease or completely eliminate hazards at the workplace and prevent any injuries or threats to employee wellbeing. It promotes compliance with local laws and regulations concerning employee safety. By following the ISO 45001 standards employers highlight their commitment to providing a better environment for employees to work in.
Is it worth it to be certified?
The main reason companies get certified is to showcase to their customers that they value quality and ensure that they follow the strictest standards when it comes to business processes. They want to highlight that these organisations are not cutting corners and undertake audits that prove their commitment to risk management and employee safety. As certification is a costly and long process, businesses also show that they are investing in the quality of their product or service.
It makes it easier for consumers to trust them as they take steps to ensure they meet customer expectations. Ultimately, it provides the firm with a competitive advantage.
To become certified a business must:
-Analyse its weaknesses
-Apply for certification
The business needs to determine in which areas it is lacking. Not all frameworks will apply to the business so they need to understand which areas need improvement and which areas can follow the standards necessary for certification.
Documentation is an important step in the certification process. The company needs to keep track of all the activities and actions it takes to improve its compliance and risk management. It also needs to record how the ISO standards are implemented. It can take a long time for the new policies to be implemented and for managers to ensure that the processes are carried out as required.
Internal audits can be performed to measure the effectiveness of the newly introduced controls and they can be followed by external audits. If audits find non-compliance, the business should review its controls and implement new strategies. Once the business is satisfied with its ISO compliance, it can apply for certification of the framework. The amount of time it takes for this process to be completed varies but depending on the success of the company’s plan, it can take between 3 to 6 months.
Benefits of ISO compliance
ISO compliance is possible by any company no matter its size or industry. The different frameworks allow businesses to adopt a proactive approach to risks and reduce the possibility of being liable for incidents. ISO compliance reduces operational downtime and increases overall business performance.
ISO compliance can be attempted without taking on the extra cost of certification, using the standards instead as a guide for business improvement – which is a valuable initiative even without a certificate to show potential clients. However, certification and the external audits that come with it, provide checks and balances to ensure that no gaps are left – and management software will help with compliance regardless of whether certification is required or not.
Employees feel better about the company as they are valued and protected. Not only against physical hazards but threats such as cyberattacks. Business leadership is improved and resources are better allocated. The business will be able to achieve its objectives easier and it will be able to address concerns and risks faster and more effectively. The organisation as a whole will be more productive as employee morale will improve and costs will be decreased.
ISO compliance reduces a company’s liability exposure and allows businesses to grow as they are well-organised to face risks. They become more efficient and are able to take on opportunities and work on their weaknesses.
The frameworks provided by ISO set the benchmarks for companies to comply with. Businesses should not limit their activities to ISO compliance. They should go beyond that and ensure that they are taking all measures necessary to protect their companies from threats. They should develop strategies so the entity is facing as few threats as possible.
ISO compliance is not required by law. It is optional but has many advantages for businesses that use the frameworks as a benchmark for their risk management and compliance. ISO frameworks are reviewed every few years and then a new version is released so businesses that comply with the standards can stay up to date with the newest vulnerabilities that threaten the organisation.
Polonious maintains its ISO certification by following strict international standards as we want to protect our customers during their investigations. We want to make sure that our customers receive the best quality service and are able to carry out investigations effectively while their information remains confidential. If you want to learn more, request a demo!
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