How long does ISO 27001 certification take?

Many companies are under the misconception that becoming ISO 27001 certified will take a long period of time and be extremely costly.

There are many myths around becoming certified and here at Compliant we’re happy to guide clients through the process and address any concerns they might have in an initial teams meeting.

Implementing a UKAS certified ISO Management System such as ISO 27001 can help reduce costs, increase efficiency, boost productivity, and win new business.

ISO 27001

What is ISO 27001?

In a previous article we explained that ISO 27001 is a standard that is recognised internationally for handling the risks that are linked to the information that is in your company’s possession. With certification to this standard, you can prove to your customers and other stakeholders that you are in control of the security of the information in your domain.

ISO 27001 ensures that companies adhere to a set of standards in terms of data privacy and confidentiality in company transactions. This will assure clients, employees, and other stakeholders that a business is processing necessary data safely. When a company becomes ISO 27001 certified, it opens more opportunities for external partnerships and tendered work.

ISO 27001 is a demanding standard to meet, and getting certified for the first time can be daunting.

That’s why many businesses invest in a reliable ISO certification consultant.

Some of the most popular questions that we get asked are:

  • How long does ISO 27001 certification take?
  • What do you do first?
  • Which policies and safeguards will you require?
  • What’s the best way to tell if you’re ready for an audit?

We have a framework that is built entirely around your organisation working with what documentation you already have in place. Depending on how much information you already have we can provide timescales with milestones that work for you. We can also provide templates, documentation and policies that you may not already have.

Understanding the ISO 27001 certification process can help you plan for a successful audit and take a lot of the worry out of the process.

Compliant has helped a number of businesses in becoming ISO 27001 certified to get onto certain frameworks including the NHS.

You can view the full article ‘Benefits of ISO 27001’ here.

Misconceptions about becoming ISO 27001 certified:

Becoming certified will be too expensive

Compliant deliver the most competitively priced, UKAS certified ISO certifications in the UK. By working with Compliant who will arrange certification on your behalf, you will save:

  • Over £600 in using us to get your certification via our preferred UKAS Certification Body
  • £160 worth of ISO standard included in management system

Also, unlike other providers in our industry we can offer a unique payment plan allowing you to pay a 20% deposit followed by 10 monthly payments. Helping you to spread the costs.

Becoming certified will take too long

Choosing to partner with a professional certification partner such as Compliant substantially reduces the time that it takes to become certified. By working with us you’ll only need to set aside 1 hour of your time every 6 months to meet with our BSI trained lead auditor. Compliant provides the framework and all of the required documentation to ensure that you become certified, first time, every time.

Becoming certified requires an in-house team member to manage the process

Many businesses don’t have the resources to commit to managing the ISO process. That is where we come in. We take the headache out of looking after your certification on a day to day basis and leave you to concentrate on your business.

Our dedicated team is available all year round to support with any questions and our professional relationships and status means we are up to date with all of the latest legislation.

The ISO 27001 standard

Implementing ISO 27001 means ensuring that many components operate together in order to protect sensitive data. The ISO 27001 framework encompasses various requirements that a business must achieve in order to gain certification and the credibility that comes with it.

The following are some of these requirements:

  1. Context – You must demonstrate a thorough awareness of all elements affecting the information security landscape, as well as the identities and needs of each stakeholder, user, and third-party entity that relies on your business and/or its data.
  2. Leadership – You must specify who is in charge of asset protection, how it will be accomplished, and the duties and responsibilities of everyone involved. Make sure that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and keep records.
  3. Support – You must outline the skills, resources, security plan awareness, implications of non-compliance, documentation, and communications that will support leadership’s security strategy implementation.
  4. Planning – You must describe how the security strategy will be implemented, focusing on risk reduction and meeting goals and benchmarks.
  5. Operation – You must implement security and risk-reduction strategies by describing the documentation and monitoring systems that will enable you to do so. Include proof that the programmes are run on a regular basis and updated to reflect changes in IT security.
  6. Evaluation – You must use metrics for monitoring, measuring, analysing, and evaluating systems. Conduct internal ISO 27001 audits, and put in place a framework that allows management to analyse the findings, determine how well your risk management and security procedures and protocols are performing.
  7. Improvement – You must examine the findings in detail and record attempts to close or remove any gaps or weaknesses. In addition, there is a focus on looking forward, anticipating potential issues, and taking preventative actions.

We understand that much of the information above can be overwhelming. That’s why many businesses chose to partner with Compliant to help navigate through the process.

Here at Compliant we can walk you through each of the steps above, set out a detailed project plan with timescales, utilise any documentation that you might have within a management system and provide templates for documentation that you don’t have to ensure that you get through audits.

Does ISO 27001 cover GDPR data protection

Timescales – how long does ISO 27001 certification take?

Compliant can get a company through ISO 27001 certification in just 14 days if needed. However, we recommend an initial 6-week period to enable time for discussions, implementation and making the management system bespoke to the individual company.

We then move onto a stage 1 audit with our chosen UKAS certified certification body. Compliant ensures that clients are fully ready for stage 2 audits and ongoing surveillances. The stage 2 audit is always within 3 months of the stage 1 audit.

A 6-month period is our recommended allocation time for becoming ISO 27001 certified.

The ISO 27001 certification audit process

Below we have outlined the ISO 27001 process which highlights why we recommend a certification period of 6 months:


1.     Review of the ISMS Design

We will examine your ISMS paperwork to ensure that the policies and procedures are well-designed. We then build a bespoke management system based on a combination of your organisation’s and our documentation.

2.      Audit for certification

Compliant then reviews your business processes and controls for ISMS and Annex A compliance.

3.     Surveillance

Together we check to see if your ISO 27001 compliance programme is still functional and up to date.

4.     Recertification Audits

A recertification audit is then booked. This evaluates your ISMS and Annex A controls for compliance at the end of the 3-year certification term. Recertification is good for an additional three years.

We always say that you’re ready to start the audit process once you’ve developed your ISMS, done a gap analysis, installed controls, trained your team, and gathered evidence.

ISO 27001 risk assessments and compliant controls

It’s worth considering risk assessments and compliance controls. In an earlier article we discussed risk assessments and the ISO 27001 controls. Here are the main ISO 27001 compliant controls:

  • 5 Information security policies
  • 6 Organisation of information security
  • 7 Human resources security
  • 8 Asset management
  • 9 Access control
  • 10 Cryptography
  • 11 Physical and environmental security
  • 12 Operational security
  • 13 Communications security
  • 14 System acquisition, development and maintenance
  • 15 Supplier relationships
  • 16 Information security incident management
  • 17 Information security aspects of business continuity management
  • 18 Compliance

View the full article ‘Ultimate guide to become ISO 27001 compliant’ here.

How long does ISO 27001 certification take?

What are the benefits of ISO 27001?

Achieving ISO 27001 will bring many benefits to your business including: 

  1. Protecting your business against hefty fines and loss of reputation 
  2. Ensuring compliance with commercial, contractual and legal responsibilities 
  3. Retaining customers and winning new business 
  4. Standing out from your competition 
  5. Improving efficiency, processes and strategies 
  6. Reducing insurance costs
  7. Supporting in getting onto large frameworks for tendered work.

The big question: how long does ISO 27001 certification take?

Above we have explained that we recommend a period of 6 months to become ISO 27001 certified.

The time it takes to achieve ISO 27001 certification depends on the size, structure, and resources of the company. It usually takes at least six months to complete. For organisations that already manage their information security in accordance with an international standard that has been determined to be substantially equivalent to ISO 27001, this can be much quicker.

We recommend about 6 to 8 weeks to have an organisation ready to move forward with its stage 1 audit.

Our certifications are all UKAS-accredited. A management system that is not UKAS may follow a standard such as ISO 27001, but it is not regulated or checked. The United Kingdom Accrediting Service is the British government’s single national accreditation authority for assessing the competence of organisations that deliver services.

For more information on UKAS vs non UKAS check out a recent video of ours here.

What factors will influence how long ISO certification takes?

It’s important to understand the primary contributing elements in order to know what to expect from your own certification procedure.

Business size

In most circumstances, the size of your company will have a direct impact on how quickly you obtain ISO 27001 certification. Depending on how your organisation uses data and how broad the scope of your ISMS is, you may need to implement it company-wide or just in the areas that are vulnerable to data breaches.

How many requirements have you met so far?

To obtain ISO 27001 certification, you must meet all of the document’s standards, which are outlined in clauses 4 through 10. To outline how you’ll achieve all of these, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Define the scope of IMSM inside your company
  • Determine the roles and responsibilities across your business
  • Communicate information security regulations
  • Understanding the dangers to information security and develop a risk management strategy
  • Defining the goals of your ISMS
  • In the Statement of Applicability, you must declare your controls
  • Conduct an internal audit to assess your current performance
  • Take action to improve processes that aren’t working
  • Record all of the above and keep staff member informed.

Some controls may apply to your business, while others will not, it’s important to consider each of them.

Your company’s level of development

The beauty of ISO standards is that implementing them will directly benefit you as an organisation. They’re made to make your business more efficient, cost-effective, streamlined, and secure. Many of the ISO standards may already be in line with your internal procedures.

As a result, a company that has reached a particular level of maturity will find it easier to achieve the results that this procedure requires. It may take longer to make the essential modifications if you are a new business.

We offer a FREE gap analysis to all new clients to get a better picture of how ready you are to apply ISO 27001.

Senior management’s support

Implementing a standard such as ISO 27001 necessitates investing sufficient human resources and time to put everything in place. The process will be hindered or jeopardised totally if your senior management is not invested in making it happen.

We offer training and ongoing support alongside our ISO packages to ensure continuous improvement.

ISO 27001 should we invest?

While the ISO 27001 certification procedure is time-consuming and requires the buy in from all employees in your organisation, it has numerous advantages. It helps you build trust with customers and stakeholders, avoid heavy fines, comply with legal, industrial, and contractual obligations, strengthen your security posture, and reduce the need for periodic audits. In short, ISO 27001 accreditation is a win-win situation for both your company and the clients you care about.

Timescales for ISO 27001

The timescales for ISO 27001 certification might be influenced by a variety of factors. The figure will vary depending on your specific requirements.

With a few best practices, you can shorten the time and speed up the procedure, allowing you to become certified sooner.

Keeping information secure

If you decide that ISO 27001 isn’t for your business here are some of our top tips for keeping information safe and secure: 

  1. Deliver appropriate training on information security for staff to reduce internal risks 
  2. Establish processes and policies to ensure the secure destruction of information and data 
  3. Implement an effective continuity plan 
  4. Monitor information security risks 
  5. Record any information security failings 

Partnering with Compliant

We successfully deliver ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 22301, ISO 27001 and ISO 45001 and can help businesses to access funding for their certifications.

Compliant will go the extra step in an initial teams meeting to fully understand your business, its requirements, the structure of the management system required, and the organisational context. We will then submit all your information to one of our preferred certification body partners.

If you would like a FREE quotation just fill in our quote calculator here or to find out more about ISO 27001 check out our latest ISO 27001 video here!