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How much does it cost to get ISO 27001 certified?

November 18, 2021

There are many ways your business’s costs will grow as your company grows - more staff, increased legal protections, and so on. One of those added and increasing costs is your ability to prove that your business’s technology is properly secure. In fact, the more you expand your business, the more often customers, clients, and other stakeholders will require certain security standards before they’ll do business with you.

For many businesses, those requests are the reason they start learning more about ISO 27001 compliance and certification. As you learn more, there’s always one looming question: How much will your ISO 27001 certification cost? Let’s look at the key costs involved and what you can expect.

What does it mean to be ISO 27001 certified?

Before we dig into specific costs, it’s important to understand what ISO 27001 certification actually means. The International Organization for Standardization or ISO, based in Switzerland, is a respected organization that develops various standards including the security standard of ISO 27001. They do not, however, offer certifications for compliance.

Certificates that verify your ISO 27001 compliance are issued by third-party organizations that perform this as a paid service. It’s important to recognize that when you apply for certification, you’ll be applying to a third-party organization, not the ISO itself. This is part of the reason the ISO 27001 price for certification varies so much.

While the ISO doesn’t issue certifications, it does have a set of standards that certifying bodies should abide by. It also suggests that you should ensure that your certification provider is accredited in your country. If you choose a certification provider that meets those criteria, your ISO 27001 certification should be accepted by clients and customers throughout the globe.

How much does ISO 27001 certification cost?

Before you embark on this process, you want to know how much your ISO 27001 certification will cost and whether it’s feasible for your business. Unsurprisingly, the costs will vary significantly from one circumstance to the next. Total expenses can range anywhere from $6,000 to over $40,000 for large businesses with complex systems.

Part of the reason for this wide range is that there are several costs involved in getting your certification. These typically include:

  • Costs associated with evaluating your current Information Security Management System (ISMS) to determine whether it meets the ISO 27001 standards
  • Expenses to set up a secure system that complies with all ISO 27001 standards
  • Costs to hire a third-party auditor to evaluate your ISMS for ISO 27001 compliance
  • Any additional fees from the certification organization

There is variation within each of those areas of cost. In fact, there are many factors that will impact the total cost of your ISO 27001 certification.

The complexity of your ISMS

ISO 27001 is all about your ISMS. The more complex your ISMS is, the more engineering and time it will take to make sure that each component of it properly follows the standards in ISO 27001. That extra time and engineering translate to a higher initial cost to reach compliance and a higher cost in the future to monitor your system for continued compliance.

Your organization size

Generally, smaller businesses can expect their costs for ISO 27001 certification to be closer to the low end of the cost range (around $6,000) while larger businesses are more likely to have costs of $40,000 or more. This is because larger organizations have more opportunities for security risks. Access control systems and other security protocols will cost more when you have to account for more employees and contractors.

The certification organization you choose

As we noted, the ISO doesn’t issue certifications for compliance - certifications are only offered by third-party organizations and businesses. As expected, this will cause the cost to vary because each organization can set its own price point.

Each organization may also require different amounts and types of documentation to verify your compliance, so this can affect your ISO 27001 certification cost as well. For example, some may require more extensive and detailed audits than others.

Your external auditor

An audit is an important part of the compliance certification process so it’s a key part of the cost as well. How much does an ISO 27001 audit cost? It depends on the auditor you hire. As with certification providers, each auditor can set their own price, so your ISO 27001 audit cost will depend on the auditor you choose.

How can I reduce my ISO 27001 cost?

ISO 27001 certification can be a costly process, so understandably, you want to keep the expenses as low as possible for your business. One of the most effective ways to do this is to shop around and compare pricing among certification organizations and auditors. Beyond comparison shopping, though, you can also cut your costs by using ISO 27001 compliance software.

Compliance software will effectively investigate your ISMS and look for each of the 114 standards listed in ISO 27001. This streamlines your initial assessment so you have a clear and accurate account from the start of where your security system stands and what you need to do to be ISO 27001 compliant. This can save immeasurable expenses in labor costs for your engineers and security specialists.

More about ISO 27001 certification

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