How to Hire an ISO® 27001 Consultant for Your ISMS
If your information security management system (ISMS) handles a lot of sensitive data, certifications like ISO® 27001 are powerful tools for managing and protecting your...
Jul 14, 2023
If your information security management system (ISMS) handles a lot of sensitive data, certifications like ISO® 27001 are powerful tools for managing and protecting your data, building trust with stakeholders, and demonstrating a commitment to regulatory compliance.
However, obtaining this certification or compliance can be quite difficult if you’re unfamiliar with the process. Fortunately, there are ISO® 27001 consultants available through services like ISMS Connect that specialize in information security compliance.
Want to learn more about hiring an ISO® 27001 consultant? Read on.
What is an ISO® 27001 Consultant?
An ISO® 27001 consultant is someone with expert knowledge on how to obtain (and maintain) the ISO® 27001 certification. They streamline the process through advice, guidance, and project management so you can get certified quicker while assisting you in implementing ISO® 27001 best practices into your operations.
There are a range of consultancy models out there—from one-off projects with fixed fees to longer-term engagements with retainers. For example, with ISMS Connect, companies pay a low monthly for unlimited access to on-demand support via video meetings or Chat.
We also offer a range of expert-developed guides and templates on information security and ISO® 27001 to help you prepare for the certification.
What Is ISO® 27001?
ISO® 27001 is an internally-recognized standard for information security management. It consists of several policies and methodologies that center around designing, implementing, and maintaining an ISMS that is reliable, effective, and above all, secure.
Want to learn more about ISO® 27001 and what it takes to achieve this certification? Check out our in-depth ISO® 27001 checklist .
What Can an ISO® 27001 Consultant do for you?
Before hiring any consulting services, you should understand the exact responsibilities of an ISO 27001 consultant and what they can do for your business:
Design and Implement Your ISMS
One of the main duties of an ISO® 27001 consultant is to build and implement your ISMS according to ISO® 27001 guidelines. They should be knowledgeable about the ISO® 27001 standard and have the skills needed to personalize your ISMS to satisfy all requirements.
Perform Risk Assessment
ISO® 27001 consultants can also help you identify risks in your ISMS and design treatment plans to rectify or reduce them.
Specific duties can consist of:
Vendor risk assessments
Overseeing security information and event management (SIEM) alerts
Performing asset scans
Devising ways to mitigate risks
The objective of a consultant goes beyond addressing security concerns. They also work to create incident response strategies in the event of a cyberattack or data breach. By doing so, they provide you with the necessary tools to quickly resolve issues and minimize any potential disruptions to your business operations.
Create ISMS Policy and Procedures
Another ISO® 27001 consultant responsibility is to develop ISO® 27001-compliant security policies and procedures. The ISO® 27001 framework requires a lot of documentation, so it helps to have a professional write these policies for you. If necessary, they can also tailor the framework to meet your specific business needs.
ISO® 27001 consultants review policies or advise on system configuration such as firewall and intrusion prevention system (IPS) rules to check whether they meet the requirements. They’re also in charge of approving policy changes regardless of whether they’re planned or ad-hoc.
With ISMS Connect, you can benefit from detailed guides to each and every ISO® 27001 requirement. We offer guidance on each security element, as well as tips on how to structure your policies to meet the framework’s standards.
Perform Gap Analysis and Audits
ISO® 27001 consultants also conduct a gap analysis to assess your overall security posture. This involves analyzing your current information security protocols and comparing them to ISO® 27001 requirements to see what needs to be changed to reach certification.
They’ll conduct internal ISO® 27001 audits and try to identify any vulnerabilities that need addressing before writing up their findings in an audit report. The goal is to ensure your ISMS meets compliance rules and you’re fully prepared for the official ISO® 27001 assessment.
Oversee Your Training Programs
These consultants oversee your security awareness programs, where you train new or long-term employees on possible threats your company may face and how to avoid or mitigate those issues. ISO® 27001 consultants can help organize these programs and review them to ensure they’re meeting the requirements.
Consultants are also there to provide you with professional advice on ISMS best practices and the latest information security technologies.
Why Work With an ISO® 27001 Consultant?
Less Guesswork and More Oversight
Expert guidance is invaluable when it comes to preparing for ISO® 27001 compliance. A good consultant can pinpoint areas that need improvement, saving time that you’d otherwise waste on aimless guesswork.
ISO® 27001 consultants can see things from a different perspective since they have the knowledge you lack. You're also more likely to avoid encountering issues during the deployment of your ISMS, thanks to expert oversight.
Expedite the Compliance Process
ISO® 27001 consultants allow you to achieve compliance faster since they’re familiar with the entire process.
They can assess your current information security procedures to see whether everything is functioning as intended and mitigate any risks that pop up. Consultants also help you keep everything well-documented and monitored to ensure your ISMS remains up to standard.
Hiring an ISO® 27001 consultant is cheaper than training internal employees to handle the certification. Training takes time and money — plus, you’ll still be paying regular salaries during this period, so costs can add up. It’s much easier and less expensive to just find an external consultant and pay for their services for the duration that you need them.
ISO® 27001 Consultant Rates
The prices range depending on the consultant’s experience and level of expertise as well as the actual project scope. ISO® 27001 consultant rates for your project can vary from $10,000 to $40,000.
However, ISMS Connect offers unlimited consultant support for much lower monthly fees:
ISMS Connect provides complete guides on ISO® 27001 to help break down the topic for beginners. You can prepare for the certification with our pre-filled documents and start implementing ISO® 27001 into your business workflow.
If you ever find yourself in need of advice, our team of expert consultants is available via video call or Chat.
How to Hire an ISO® 27001 Consultant for Your ISMS
Step 1: Look for Experience and Relevance
Firstly, you should determine what kind of experience or skills you’re looking for in an ISO® 27001 consultant. Consider what specific tasks you need your consultant to handle — for example, if you want them to conduct risk assessments, they should have experience in detecting and resolving vulnerabilities in security systems or something similar.
Here are some types of experiences to look out for:
Relevant Industry Experience: It’s advantageous if your ISO® 27001 consultant has professional work experience in the same industry as your company. They may find it easier to familiarize themselves with your ISMS and understand your business framework.
Experience with Security Management Systems: Familiarity or proficiency in information security systems is a must since an ISO® 27001 consultant’s job involves designing or improving your ISMS. They should understand how these management systems function and how to deal with or avoid security breaches. You should also see if a consultant has personal experience with implementing ISMS or other types of management systems.
Experience with the ISO 27001 Standard: Your consultant must have expert knowledge or experience with ISO® 27001 compliance. A big part of their job is to ensure your ISMS reaches the standard, so they must fully understand all the ISO® 27001 requirements and how to satisfy them.
Case Studies or Testimonials: When looking for a consultant, you need to carefully examine their track record with previous clients. More specifically, look for customer testimonials, reviews, case studies, and tangible evidence of past successes.
Certification Body Allegiance: If you’re aiming to pass the ISO® 27001 certification, try looking for a consultant with personal experience with accredited certification bodies. This means they’re likely to have in-depth knowledge of the whole process and may be able to help you get certified quicker.
Step 2: Customized Service
When searching for the right ISO® 27001 consultant, make sure to find one who provides you with personalized guidance. They should be able to address your specific concerns and tailor their solutions to suit your business framework. Avoid consultants who give copy-paste advice or templates and call it a day.
During early negotiations with a potential hire, ask about their services and what kind of work they’re able to contribute to your company. Whether they’re capable of providing personalized guidance that caters to your needs should be clear from their style of communication.
You can be even more direct with your questioning and ask them how they would solve a certain issue. If they give a generic answer that applies to any scenario or business, they may not be the best consultant to hire. Ask yourself:
Are they able to adapt to different situations?
Do they communicate well?
How available are they, or how fast are they able to solve an issue?
How well-suited are they for your company?
Will they work well with your employees?
Step 3: Pricing and Timeline
Another important factor to consider when hiring an ISO® 27001 consultant is their pricing, which depends a lot on the project scope and timeline. This refers to how long it’ll take them to complete the work you set out for them.
If your goal is to reach certification, you should ask how long it would take for them to help you get certified. Timelines can vary depending on the size of your company and how much work needs to be done to reach compliance.
For instance, if you don’t even have an ISMS in place or require a replacement, your consultant will need to design, build, and implement an ISMS for you on top of other tasks. The bigger the project, the higher the costs.
Make sure to note down all the activities involved in the project to make negotiations easier. Remember to consider training costs, audits, upfront fees, and so on when discussing prices with your potential hire.
Step 4: Business Structure
Consider the business structure of the consultancy agency you’re hiring from. How is their work organized? Are there any guarantees your project will reach completion? This way, you can avoid encountering any potential pitfalls in your project.
You should also look into how their pricing schemes are structured to see if you get any security with your money — for example, is there a refund system or a way to ensure you get what you're paying for? How much control do you have over their work, and what happens if you’re not satisfied with the results?
Step 5: Communication and Building Rapport
Regular communication with your ISO® 27001 consultant is crucial. This includes discussing strategies, conducting internal audits, reviewing your ISMS, and addressing any urgent dilemmas. You need to hire someone who’s readily available and willing to engage in in-depth conversations to ensure effective resolution of issues.
You should be able to trust in your consultant’s expertise and collaborate with them on various activities. It’s especially helpful to build rapport with your ISO® 27001 consultant in case you need their services again when you’re renewing your certification (they need to renew every three years).
Make sure you have a way to easily contact your consultant — it’s best to set up multiple channels of communication so you have a backup if one channel isn’t working. Both you and your consultant should agree on what methods to use, but if possible, it’s best to choose a channel already used by your employees.
While your consultant is an external hire, you should treat them as part of your company since they’ll be deeply involved in its operations and may even interact with other employees (e.g., in security awareness training programs).
Achieving ISO® 27001 compliance is quite difficult if you’re not familiar with the process, so it’s worth hiring an ISO® 27001 consultant for guidance.
With ISMS Connect, you gain access to a wealth of resources designed to fast-track ISO® 27001 compliance—from on-demand consultants to comprehensive documentation and templates.
Sign up for our consulting services today and rest easy knowing you’re well on your way to an ISO® 27001 certification.
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