A black and white drawing of a rock formation.

By getting an ISO 27001 certification, you’re showing your customers and prospects that security is a top priority for your business. To get certified, you’ll need to undergo an audit that confirms you’ve met the compliance requirements and addressed potential risks to your system. The process can take some time depending on where your organization is at on its compliance journey. 

In this article, we’ll cover the typical timeline for ISO 27001 certification, the factors that affect your timeline, and how to determine how much time you should allocate for each step.

How long does it take to get ISO 27001 certified?

The amount of time it takes for your business to get ISO 27001 certified will depend on several factors, such as:

  • Your organization’s structure and operations.
  • The complexity and scope of your ISMS.
  • The services you offer and the type of data you handle.
  • How prepared you are for your audit.
  • How many of the certification requirements you already meet.
  • Whether you’ve allocated enough resources to prioritize your certification.

The process typically ranges from three to twelve months to complete. Some smaller organizations that make this a priority can sometimes complete this even faster.

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ISO 27001 certification timeline

It’s important to allocate the necessary time and resources when planning out your ISO 27001 certification project. To help you plan this properly, we’ll break down each of the stages, the steps within them, and their estimated timelines:

Stage 1: Pre-audit steps (1-4 months+)

The ISO 27001 standard includes a collection of requirements and security controls you need in place to pass your audit and receive your certification. Depending on how your current ISMS is structured, it can take up to four months or longer to meet the ISO 27001 requirements in preparation for your audit. These are the steps within this stage:

  • Step 1: Prepare your organization and define scope.
  • Step 2: Conduct a risk assessment.
  • Step 3: Implement the needed security controls and protocols.
  • Step 4: Assess your readiness.
  • Step 5: Perform an internal audit.

Step 1. Prepare your organization and define scope

Your organization will only need to implement the ISO 27001 controls that are applicable to its operations and the data it manages. Start your ISO 27001 certification process by first defining the scope of your ISMS (taking inventory of your information assets) and then communicating this to your organization’s stakeholders to ensure alignment on the scope of your implementation before moving forward. 

Step 2. Conduct a risk assessment

A risk assessment is a critical step in ISO 27001 compliance. You’ll need to identify potential gaps that could result in a data breach and mitigate them by implementing the appropriate ISO 27001 controls. This process can be streamlined by using compliance automation to assess the risks your organization faces. 

Step 3. Implement the needed security controls and protocols

After you complete a risk assessment, you’ll have a concrete list of controls you need to implement to meet all the ISO 27001 requirements. These could be controls like creating policies and documentation, conducting employee security training, establishing data access policies, and more. 

Step 4. Assess your readiness

After you’ve followed your compliance checklist and implemented the security controls you need, investigate each ISO 27001 requirement and confirm that it’s been implemented. Compliance automation tools can automate your readiness assessment to help you gauge how ready your ISMS is for audit. 

‍Step 5. Perform an internal audit

To obtain an ISO 27001 certification, you must perform an internal audit of your security program. You may choose to engage a third-party consultant to perform the internal audit or a member of your organization. This person needs to have the right experience and be independent of the control owners to perform the audit. The timeline for this step will depend on the scope of your audit and the complexity of your ISMS.

Stage 2: Audit (2-6 months)

Now it’s time for your official audit. An ISO 27001 audit has multiple stages and can take several months depending on how prepared you are. The audit process involves the following steps:

  • Step 6: Hire a certification provider.
  • Step 7: Audit stage 1 (1 month).
  • Step 8: Audit stage 2 (2-3 months).
  • Step 9: Receive your certification.

Step 6. Hire a certification provider

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) does not directly provide certification for its standards, so you will need to hire a third-party accredited organization that provides ISO 27001 certification services. This step will involve researching qualified certifying organizations and selecting one that’s suitable for your organization’s size and budget.

Step 7. Complete a stage 1 audit

An ISO 27001 certification audit has two stages. The first stage is sometimes referred to as a documentation review. The auditor reviews your documentation like your Statement of Applicability and other documents that detail your ISO 27001 implementation. After this stage, which typically takes a month or less to complete, the auditor will either find that you’re ready for the stage 2 audit or will give you corrective actions to take before you can move forward.

Step 8. Complete a stage 2 audit

Your stage 2 audit is the more extensive part of your ISO 27001 audit. Over the course of one to three months, your auditor will investigate each of the ISO 27001 requirements and applicable controls to verify whether or not you’ve implemented the standard properly.

Step 9. Receive your certification

After completing both stages of your audit, your auditor will prepare a report of their findings. If they determine that you adhere to the necessary components of ISO 27001, you will officially receive your certification. This certification will be valid for three years.

Maintaining your ISO 27001 certification‍

It’s important to understand that ISO 27001 certification is not a one-time process. You’ll need to continuously monitor your ISMS to make sure you stay ISO 27001 compliant. 

While your certification is valid for three years, your auditor will need to perform a surveillance audit each year to ensure you’ve maintained your compliance. This is a brief audit that checks a few aspects of your ISO 27001 compliance to ensure that you’re still following the requirements of ISO 27001. If you fail a surveillance audit, you’ll need to undergo a full certification audit again. 

You’ll need to do a full audit every three years as your certification approaches its expiration date.

Get your ISO 27001 certification faster

With Vanta’s trust management platform, you can streamline your ISO 27001 certification process. Here’s what an automated ISO 27001 can look like: 

  • Connect your infrastructure to the Vanta platform with our 300+ built-in integrations.
  • Assess your risk holistically from one unified view.
  • Identify areas of non-compliance with in-platform notifications.
  • Get a checklist of actions to help you make the needed changes. 
  • Automate evidence collection and centralize all your documents in one place.
  • Find a Vanta-vetted auditor within the platform. 
  • Complete your ISO 27001 certification in half the time. 

By using Vanta, you can save your business valuable time and money during your ISO 27001 audit process. Learn how you can get your ISO 27001 certification faster by requesting a demo.

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Preparing for an ISO 27001 audit

How long does it take to get ISO certified?

A black and white drawing of a rock formation.

By getting an ISO 27001 certification, you’re showing your customers and prospects that security is a top priority for your business. To get certified, you’ll need to undergo an audit that confirms you’ve met the compliance requirements and addressed potential risks to your system. The process can take some time depending on where your organization is at on its compliance journey. 

In this article, we’ll cover the typical timeline for ISO 27001 certification, the factors that affect your timeline, and how to determine how much time you should allocate for each step.

How long does it take to get ISO 27001 certified?

The amount of time it takes for your business to get ISO 27001 certified will depend on several factors, such as:

  • Your organization’s structure and operations.
  • The complexity and scope of your ISMS.
  • The services you offer and the type of data you handle.
  • How prepared you are for your audit.
  • How many of the certification requirements you already meet.
  • Whether you’ve allocated enough resources to prioritize your certification.

The process typically ranges from three to twelve months to complete. Some smaller organizations that make this a priority can sometimes complete this even faster.

{{cta_withimage2="/cta-modules"}}

ISO 27001 certification timeline

It’s important to allocate the necessary time and resources when planning out your ISO 27001 certification project. To help you plan this properly, we’ll break down each of the stages, the steps within them, and their estimated timelines:

Stage 1: Pre-audit steps (1-4 months+)

The ISO 27001 standard includes a collection of requirements and security controls you need in place to pass your audit and receive your certification. Depending on how your current ISMS is structured, it can take up to four months or longer to meet the ISO 27001 requirements in preparation for your audit. These are the steps within this stage:

  • Step 1: Prepare your organization and define scope.
  • Step 2: Conduct a risk assessment.
  • Step 3: Implement the needed security controls and protocols.
  • Step 4: Assess your readiness.
  • Step 5: Perform an internal audit.

Step 1. Prepare your organization and define scope

Your organization will only need to implement the ISO 27001 controls that are applicable to its operations and the data it manages. Start your ISO 27001 certification process by first defining the scope of your ISMS (taking inventory of your information assets) and then communicating this to your organization’s stakeholders to ensure alignment on the scope of your implementation before moving forward. 

Step 2. Conduct a risk assessment

A risk assessment is a critical step in ISO 27001 compliance. You’ll need to identify potential gaps that could result in a data breach and mitigate them by implementing the appropriate ISO 27001 controls. This process can be streamlined by using compliance automation to assess the risks your organization faces. 

Step 3. Implement the needed security controls and protocols

After you complete a risk assessment, you’ll have a concrete list of controls you need to implement to meet all the ISO 27001 requirements. These could be controls like creating policies and documentation, conducting employee security training, establishing data access policies, and more. 

Step 4. Assess your readiness

After you’ve followed your compliance checklist and implemented the security controls you need, investigate each ISO 27001 requirement and confirm that it’s been implemented. Compliance automation tools can automate your readiness assessment to help you gauge how ready your ISMS is for audit. 

‍Step 5. Perform an internal audit

To obtain an ISO 27001 certification, you must perform an internal audit of your security program. You may choose to engage a third-party consultant to perform the internal audit or a member of your organization. This person needs to have the right experience and be independent of the control owners to perform the audit. The timeline for this step will depend on the scope of your audit and the complexity of your ISMS.

Stage 2: Audit (2-6 months)

Now it’s time for your official audit. An ISO 27001 audit has multiple stages and can take several months depending on how prepared you are. The audit process involves the following steps:

  • Step 6: Hire a certification provider.
  • Step 7: Audit stage 1 (1 month).
  • Step 8: Audit stage 2 (2-3 months).
  • Step 9: Receive your certification.

Step 6. Hire a certification provider

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) does not directly provide certification for its standards, so you will need to hire a third-party accredited organization that provides ISO 27001 certification services. This step will involve researching qualified certifying organizations and selecting one that’s suitable for your organization’s size and budget.

Step 7. Complete a stage 1 audit

An ISO 27001 certification audit has two stages. The first stage is sometimes referred to as a documentation review. The auditor reviews your documentation like your Statement of Applicability and other documents that detail your ISO 27001 implementation. After this stage, which typically takes a month or less to complete, the auditor will either find that you’re ready for the stage 2 audit or will give you corrective actions to take before you can move forward.

Step 8. Complete a stage 2 audit

Your stage 2 audit is the more extensive part of your ISO 27001 audit. Over the course of one to three months, your auditor will investigate each of the ISO 27001 requirements and applicable controls to verify whether or not you’ve implemented the standard properly.

Step 9. Receive your certification

After completing both stages of your audit, your auditor will prepare a report of their findings. If they determine that you adhere to the necessary components of ISO 27001, you will officially receive your certification. This certification will be valid for three years.

Maintaining your ISO 27001 certification‍

It’s important to understand that ISO 27001 certification is not a one-time process. You’ll need to continuously monitor your ISMS to make sure you stay ISO 27001 compliant. 

While your certification is valid for three years, your auditor will need to perform a surveillance audit each year to ensure you’ve maintained your compliance. This is a brief audit that checks a few aspects of your ISO 27001 compliance to ensure that you’re still following the requirements of ISO 27001. If you fail a surveillance audit, you’ll need to undergo a full certification audit again. 

You’ll need to do a full audit every three years as your certification approaches its expiration date.

Get your ISO 27001 certification faster

With Vanta’s trust management platform, you can streamline your ISO 27001 certification process. Here’s what an automated ISO 27001 can look like: 

  • Connect your infrastructure to the Vanta platform with our 300+ built-in integrations.
  • Assess your risk holistically from one unified view.
  • Identify areas of non-compliance with in-platform notifications.
  • Get a checklist of actions to help you make the needed changes. 
  • Automate evidence collection and centralize all your documents in one place.
  • Find a Vanta-vetted auditor within the platform. 
  • Complete your ISO 27001 certification in half the time. 

By using Vanta, you can save your business valuable time and money during your ISO 27001 audit process. Learn how you can get your ISO 27001 certification faster by requesting a demo.

{{cta_testimonial4="/cta-modules"}}

Your checklist to ISO 27001 certification

Need to get ISO certified but not sure where to start? This guide walks you through the steps to get ISO 27001 compliant.

Your checklist to ISO 27001 certification

Need to get ISO certified but not sure where to start? This guide walks you through the steps to get ISO 27001 compliant.

Your checklist to ISO 27001 certification

Need to get ISO certified but not sure where to start? This guide walks you through the steps to get ISO 27001 compliant.

You want to be compliant every day, not just once a year. Vanta helps you achieve this without slowing your business down.”

Giuseppe Ciotta, VP of Engineering | Belvo

Get started with ISO 27001

Start your ISO 27001 journey with these related resources.

ISO 27001

The ISO 27001 Compliance Checklist

ISO 27001 is the global gold standard for ensuring the security of information and its supporting assets. Obtaining ISO 27001 certification can help an organization prove its security practices to potential customers anywhere in the world.

The ISO 27001 Compliance Checklist
The ISO 27001 Compliance Checklist
ISO 27001

ISO 27001 Compliance for SaaS

On 10 October at 2 PM BST, join the Ask Me (Almost) Anything with Herman Errico and Kim Elias, compliance experts at Vanta. They’ll answer (almost) all your questions about ISO 27001 compliance.

ISO 27001 Compliance for SaaS
ISO 27001 Compliance for SaaS
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ISO 27001 vs. SOC 2: Which standard is right for my business?

Complying with security standards such as ISO 27001 or SOC 2 can help boost your business, but for technology startups, security compliance is often lower on the list of company priorities.

ISO 27001 vs. SOC 2: Which standard is right for my business?
ISO 27001 vs. SOC 2: Which standard is right for my business?

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