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ISO 27001 and ISO 9001: Differences, how they work together and benefits of combining

In today's digital age, maintaining high standards for both information security and quality is paramount, especially for digitally driven companies. This is where ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 both come into play.

ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 are the most well-known international standards for information security and quality respectively, serving as critical frameworks that help organizations implement the best practices around these topics - and also have evidence for customers and other stakeholders of taking these things seriously and managing them systematically.

Especially many digitally-driven companies start to see cyber risks as one of the biggest risks for their business continuity. By adopting both ISO 27001 and ISO 9001, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to both information security and quality. This dual approach also yields many other benefits - as the organization can combine many management-level things into a single system that is required for compliance with each standard. Let's dive more deeply into the topic.

“Combining both standards provides a strong foundation for building trust with clients and stakeholders, enhancing the company's reputation, and minimizing risks.”

ISO 27001 vs ISO 9001: What's the point?

So what are these standards about? Let’s break it down:

  • ISO 27001: Focuses on information security management, helping companies protect sensitive data from cyber threats through a systematic approach to managing sensitive company information.
  • ISO 9001: Concentrates on quality management, ensuring that organizations consistently meet customer requirements and improve their processes and systems.

Both ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 are international standards. This means complying with them is voluntary, and many companies choose to do it to base their security or quality operations on best practices. Many are also required to do so by their customers - "to do business with us you must comply".

In a nutshell, standard is a set of requirements designed to ensure that operations meet consistent criteria e.g. for quality and information security. Requirements are defined by recognized global organizations and meant for providing a common, battle-tested framework. ISO standards are very widely utilized, so they serve as benchmarks for best practices in various industries and all over the world, helping organizations operate more efficiently and reliably.

Brief summary of contents in ISO 27001 vs ISO 9001

So as we already now, ISO 9001 revolves around quality, ISO 27001 around information security. They both share the idea of the organization building itself a management system, which means a central place for all related content. The terms ISMS (information security management system) and QMS (quality management system) are a plenty in the standard contents for this reason.

The main content of the standards comes in the form of requirements:

  • ISO 27001: Includes 22 requirements for managing information security. These cover topics like risk management, defining resources, setting objectives, monitoring own operations. It also includes 93-114 information security controls (depending on the used version) for actually protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data. The controls cover topics like backups, technical vulnerabilities, partner contracts, personnel guidelines, asset management, etc.
  • ISO 9001: Includes 49 requirements for managing quality. These cover topics like committing the top management, defining quality-related roles and responsibilities,  managing risks and setting quality objectives. Also, processes are in the core of a QMS, so requirements cover defining your processes, managing changes to processes, defining process metrics, controlling product and service development and provisioning and making sure processes are implemented for customer satisfaction. All of these are in place to ensure the organization constantly meets customer requirements and improves its processes.

The intersection of ISO 27001 and ISO 9001

ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 are highly compatible and work together to ensure you maintain high-quality products and assure clients that you prioritize information security. Both standards share a similar structure in their main requirements in chapters 4-10. This is because the ISO organization has also designed the standards so that they can be nicely integrated together.

When looking at ISO 27001 and 9001 side by side, you'll find that they share a multitude of common contents that make them highly complementary. Both standards start from the high level - i.e. identifying important internal and external (strategic) issues affecting the management system and identifying interested parties (stakeholders) along with their requirements. Both standards advocate for a systematic approach to management, including responsibilities and authority, which helps in maintaining a structured operational environment.

Almost needless to say, both standards also require ensuring employee awareness and communication about information security and quality respectively, maintaining documented information about key actions and overall continuously improving your management system.

There are also many other concrete actions that both standards require carrying out:

  • Arranging internal audits to ensure you're operating according to your management system and complying with requirements
  • Arranging management reviews to involve your top management in the information security and quality work
  • Having a process for identifying, documenting, evaluating and treating both quality and information security risks
  • Identifying improvements and implementing them to continuously improve the management system
  • Documenting spotted non-conformities in one's own operations and implementing corrective actions to fix them
  • Defining relevant metrics used to monitor the effectiveness of information security or quality operations

None of the things listed about are specific to information security or quality, but best practices for managing operations in an organization in a systematic and robust way.

Benefits of combining ISO 27001 and ISO 9001

When you combine multiple standards into one common management system, this is sometimes referred to as an "integrated management system". An integrated management system streamlines the needed processes, improving efficiency and making things easier to manage. You can basically squeeze more concrete benefits (e.g. 2 certifications) out through the single set of processes.

Here are some additional benefits you can get from managing the two standards smartly together:

  • Save time and money: You can handle e.g. yearly surveillance audits in one go, saving time from auditor collaboration and being able to focus on valuable content.
  • React faster: A common framework ensures your operations are clear and enhances your organization’s ability to swiftly adapt to change and maintain continuous improvement.
  • Increased customer trust: Information security is important, but so is exceeding other customer expectations. When you comply with these leading international standards, it will give you a competitive edge among customers.
  • Combined processes: The symbiotic nature of ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 enables you to find more meaning behind challenging processes like internal audits when you're reviewing both security and quality point-of-views. In this way, the standards will support one another.

Case example: ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 deployed in Cyberday

Cyberday is an information security management system app that works inside Microsoft Teams. It's primarly designed for information security management and supports tens of different information security frameworks (e.g. ISO 27001, NIST CSF, NIS2...), but now it also supports maintaining an integrated management system with QMS capabilities and ISO 9001 compliance.

Here are some examples of key things related to ISO 27001 & ISO 9001 integration in Cyberday. To learn more, you can book a session with our team any time.

Cyberday's framework library displaying both standards as active frameworks

Management system dashboard, where both standards are enabled

ISO 27001 compliance report summary section in Cyberday

ISO 9001 compliance report summary section in Cyberday


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