ALL RESOURCES
ISO 27001
What you need to know about your ISO risk assessment methodology

What you need to know about your ISO risk assessment methodology

In life and in information security, one fact is always true: being fully risk-free is impossible. We cannot eliminate all the risks around us, but we can manage them so they have the lowest possible impact.

That is why risk assessment is such a vital component of ISO 27001. Creating a comprehensive risk assessment methodology doesn’t only impact your ISO 27001 certification—it affects the long-term security of your data too. Let’s journey further into ISO risk assessment and how to create an effective methodology.

How risk assessment fits into ISO 27001

ISO 27001 is a set of in-depth security controls to fortify and safeguard your information security. Risk assessment is one of the components within ISO 27001. Keep in mind that there are specific methodologies and criteria outlined in ISO 27001 that should be part of your risk assessment strategy, so even if you have risk assessment measures in place, it’s vital to review them to see if they align with the ISO 27000 risk assessment methodology.

Developing your ISO risk assessment methodology

The first stage in creating a comprehensive risk assessment plan that is ISO compliant is to define your methodology; how you identify, assign ownership to, prioritize, and address security vulnerabilities. ISO 27001 requires you to have the following components in place for your methodology:

  1. A plan for how you will identify and document vulnerabilities that could compromise the security of your data
  2. A strategy for determining who in your organization should own each risk, which typically involves designating a staff member who has enough knowledge of the organization to assign ownership
  3. A methodology for gauging the likelihood that a risk will happen as well as the extent of the consequences if the risk does occur. It’s also important to rank or categorize the overall priority of each risk (such as a numbered scale)
  4. Criteria for determining which risks you will address and when, based on their priority rankings

Tips for creating your ISO risk assessment methodology

As you go through the steps above and create your risk assessment methodology, there are a few tips to keep in mind to make your strategy as effective as possible.

Align your methodology with your organization

There is no universal risk assessment methodology that works for every organization. Your methodology should align with the format of your organization. For instance, one organization might assign their CTO to determine risk ownership, while another organization might hire a head of security to keep up with risk ownership.

Create a plan that works for your organization and your personnel. If you go through a reorganization at any point, be sure to review your risk assessment methodology to determine if it still works, and if it doesn’t, how it needs to change.

Make your methodology reasonable

Your risk assessment methodology needs to be thorough, of course, but it also needs to be sustainable. If your methodology is overly ambitious and your staff cannot keep up, you’ll get less protection than you would if you had a less ambitious strategy.

Keep your documentation organized

As you develop your risk assessment methodology, be sure to keep detailed documentation of that methodology and compile it in an accessible place. When you bring in an ISO auditor to assess your ISO 27001 compliance, this will help the audit proceed more smoothly because the auditor can quickly find your documentation. This also makes it easier to access internally when you need to reference it.

Written by
No items found.
Access Review Stage Content / Functionality
Across all stages
  • Easily create and save a new access review at a point in time
  • View detailed audit evidence of historical access reviews
Setup access review procedures
  • Define a global access review procedure that stakeholders can follow, ensuring consistency and mitigation of human error in reviews
  • Set your access review frequency (monthly, quarterly, etc.) and working period/deadlines
Consolidate account access data from systems
  • Integrate systems using dozens of pre-built integrations, or “connectors”. System account and HRIS data is pulled into Vanta.
  • Upcoming integrations include Zoom and Intercom (account access), and Personio (HRIS)
  • Upload access files from non-integrated systems
  • View and select systems in-scope for the review
Review, approve, and deny user access
  • Select the appropriate systems reviewer and due date
  • Get automatic notifications and reminders to systems reviewer of deadlines
  • Automatic flagging of “risky” employee accounts that have been terminated or switched departments
  • Intuitive interface to see all accounts with access, account accept/deny buttons, and notes section
  • Track progress of individual systems access reviews and see accounts that need to be removed or have access modified
  • Bulk sort, filter, and alter accounts based on account roles and employee title
Assign remediation tasks to system owners
  • Built-in remediation workflow for reviewers to request access changes and for admin to view and manage requests
  • Optional task tracker integration to create tickets for any access changes and provide visibility to the status of tickets and remediation
Verify changes to access
  • Focused view of accounts flagged for access changes for easy tracking and management
  • Automated evidence of remediation completion displayed for integrated systems
  • Manual evidence of remediation can be uploaded for non-integrated systems
Report and re-evaluate results
  • Auditor can log into Vanta to see history of all completed access reviews
  • Internals can see status of reviews in progress and also historical review detail

PCI Compliance Selection Guide

Determine Your PCI Compliance Level

If your organization processes, stores, or transmits cardholder data, you must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), a global mandate created by major credit card companies. Compliance is mandatory for any business that accepts credit card payments.

When establishing strategies for implementing and maintaining PCI compliance, your organization needs to understand what constitutes a Merchant or Service Provider, and whether a Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) or Report on Compliance (ROC) is most applicable to your business.

Answer a few short questions and we’ll help identify your compliance level.

1
2
3
4
!
👍

Does your business offer services to customers who are interested in your level of PCI compliance?

Yes
No

Identify your PCI SAQ or ROC level

The PCI Security Standards Council has established the below criteria for Merchant and Service Provider validation. Use these descriptions to help determine the SAQ or ROC that best applies to your organization.

Good news! Vanta supports all of the following compliance levels:

SAQ A

A SAQ A is required for Merchants that do not require the physical presence of a credit card (like an eCommerce, mail, or telephone purchase). This means that the Merchant’s business has fully outsourced all cardholder data processing to PCI DSS compliant third party Service Providers, with no electronic storage, processing, or transmission of any cardholder data on the Merchant’s system or premises.

Get PCI DSS certified

SAQ A-EP

A SAQ A-EP is similar to a SAQ A, but is a requirement for Merchants that don't receive cardholder data, but control how cardholder data is redirected to a PCI DSS validated third-party payment processor.

Learn more about eCommerce PCI

SAQ D
for service providers

A SAQ D includes over 200 requirements and covers the entirety of PCI DSS compliance. If you are a Service Provider, a SAQ D is the only SAQ you’re eligible to complete.

Use our PCI checklist

ROC
Level 1 for service providers

A Report on Compliance (ROC) is an annual assessment that determines your organization’s ability to protect cardholder data. If you’re a Merchant that processes over six million transactions annually or a Service Provider that processes more than 300,000 transactions annually, your organization is responsible for both a ROC and an Attestation of Compliance (AOC).

Automate your ROC and AOC

Download this checklist for easy reference

Questions?

Learn more about how Vanta can help. You can also find information on PCI compliance levels at the PCI Security Standards Council website or by contacting your payment processing partner.

The compliance news you need. Delivered securely to your inbox.