What is the Difference Between GDPR & ISO 27001
GDPR European Union flag

What Is the Difference Between ISO 27001 and GDPR?

In the UK there is legislation in place such as the GDPR to regulate how organisations both collect & consume data. Organisations processing personal data must comply with data protection law; one of the fundamental principles is Integrity and Confidentiality.

ISO 27001 on the other hand is a globally recognised technical standard that enables an organisation to demonstrate its integrity and confidentiality under the law.

However, before we delve deeper into the differences, it’s worth providing some more background as to what these important terms are.

What is GDPR?

Whilst the UK has officially left the EU, GDPR still applies to UK organisations.

GDPR consists of a set of laws around the use of personal data and requires organisations to store & handle data securely. Failure to protect customer data in compliance with these legal obligations could result in large fines & damage to an organisation’s reputation.

There are 6 core principles of GDPR. These are:

  • Fairness, Lawfulness & Transparency
  • Purpose Limitation
  • Data Minimisation
  • Accurate & Relevant
  • Storage Limitation
  • Integrity & Confidentiality

Whilst not a core principle, accountability underpins all the above. Each company is responsible for ensuring they adhere to GDPR.

You can read our beginners guide to GDPR for more information.

What is ISO 27001?

ISO 27001 is an internationally recognised Security Management System (SMS), established by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) in 2005. It outlines the specific requirements that a company needs to meet when establishing, maintaining and improving its Information Security Management Systems (ISMSs).

ISO 27001 accreditation provides businesses with proof that they comply with these globally-recognised standards of practice and lets customers know that you take handling their data securely seriously.

What is the Difference Between GDPR and ISO 27001?

Now that we’ve outlined what each of these terms means, let's take a look at how they differ from one another;

  • GDPR provides ground rules which organisations must follow when processing personal data, and rules which must be followed if there has been a personal data breach. ISO 27001 on the other hand is an internationally recognised certification and framework which provides companies with guidance on how to implement clear policies & processes to reduce the risk of security-related incidents. Despite ISO 27001 covering around 75% of GDPR compliance, the two are not interchangeable.
  • Another thing worth noting is that, whilst GDPR informs businesses of their obligations with regards to data protection and handling, it does not provide guidelines on how this data security level can be sustained or how to minimise any threats. This is where ISO 27001 fits nicely. It bridges the gap and provides a systematic framework for businesses to follow to reduce risks. GDPR describes what you need to be doing by law, whilst ISO 27001 tells you how you can actually do this.
  • GDPR, unlike ISO 27001, is not optional. It covers the data protection of all EU residents and those who trade with the Union. Not complying with such data protection laws has serious consequences. In contrast, companies can opt-in to be ISO 27001 compliant. You won’t get penalised for not being certified, but it does increase your credibility as a company, so it is worth investing in.

How Does ISO 27001 Help You Comply With GDPR?

ISO 27001 can help you comply with GDPR in several ways:

  • Closing potential gaps in your GDPR compliance - an auditor can outline in their assessment where you need to improve in order to achieve ISO 27001 certification. This, by extension, will identify where you need to improve your compliance with GDPR.
  • Be held accountable - ISO 27001 certification ensures you have the proper security within your organisation, such as a Data Protection Officer (DPO) or Senior Information Risk Owner.
  • Regular testing for weaknesses or vulnerabilities - ISO 27001 forces you to be testing your ISMS regularly, which is essential for GDPR compliance.
  • More than just personal data protection - ISO 27001 means you are protecting all your business’s information assets (including electronic data and physical copies) such as intellectual property, business processes, documentation and so on.
  • Continuous improvement - ISO 27001 encourages businesses to constantly be looking at ways to improve their data protecting and handling systems, meaning they can mitigate potential risks and data breaches better.

What is ISO 27701 and How Does it Relate to ISO 27001?

ISO 27701 was developed in 2019 and is an extension of ISO 27001. It puts in place guidance for organisations seeking to implement GDPR-compliant systems.

ISO 27701, sometimes referred to as PIMS (Privacy Information Management System), provides the framework for Data Controllers and Data Processors to manage data privacy. This is an enhancement of ISO 27001 as a form of ISMS, reducing the risks to the privacy rights of customers and the organisation itself.

To be ISO 27701 certified, you need to be ISO 27001 accredited.

ISO 27002 is a supplementary standard that provides guidance on how to implement the security controls listed in Annex A of ISO 27001.

You can be ISO 27001 compliant, whilst not being ISO 27002 compliant.

ISO 27001 Audits and Consultation - Is Your Organisation Ready for ISO 27001:2022?

Your systems and controls for usage and safeguarding must be up to date and fit for purpose.

Most organisations have several gaps in their data security and GDPR compliance without realising. These vary in size and usually stem from a lack of understanding about the depth and breadth of personal data processing or inadequate ISMSs in place.

An ISO 27001 audit plan and consultation with our team will help identify the current robustness of your existing controls, policies and processes, and what needs improving to meet ISO compliance and GDPR regulations.

Contact us today for a no obligation chat and to book your expert ISO consultation.

The information and remarks provided in this article represent insight and guidance for best practice which is correct or valid or appropriate at time of publication.

Latest News & Events

What Is a Data Leak and How Do They Happen?

Data leaks are a serious problem for organisations and individuals. In this day and age, individuals freely provide personal information to organisations, therefore a data leak can have a significant impact on both the company and the person. They often involve the exposure of personal data (such as name, address and financial details), with additional damage to the company or organisation in terms of potential financial loss and reputational damage.

Read more

Contact Databasix

Email info@dbxuk.com
Tel 01865 346080

Get Data Protection Services t/a Databasix
is a registered company in England & Wales.
Registration No. 15292208

Unit B Oakwood
Oakfield Industrial Estate
OX29 4TH

Supported by Business Resilience secured by OxLEP Business
Supported by Business Resilience secured by OxLEP Business