How much does ISO 27001 certification cost?

Person writes a math formula on the whiteboard to calculate ISO 27001 certification cost

Oro provides content designed to educate and help audiences on their compliance journey.

While it can be challenging to pin down a definitive cost for any compliance certification, ISO 27001 is remarkably variable. Our experts recommend starting your compliance journey early so your company can avoid the accrued costs associated with pushing off ISO 27001.

Before diving into specifics, the list below defines the key variables encountered when factoring ISO 27001 costs into your annual budget.

  • How many employees do you have?
  • Where are offices and people located geographically?
  • What data does the application ingest?
  • Does your platform live on multiple cloud platforms?

We’ve compiled a breakdown of costs in the post below to guide your budgeting decisions as you strive to become ISO 27001 certified.

Key takeaways

  • ISO 27001 certification costs depend on the company size, scope, and complexity of the information security management system (ISMS)
  • Costs include preparation expenses, audit fees, and employee training but can be reduced with cost-saving strategies
  • Benefits of ISO 27001 certification include improved security posture and increased revenue opportunities

ISO 20071 certification costs: A complete breakdown

It’s crucial to realize that the specific costs linked with ISO 27001 certification are affected by various factors like company size, scope, and complexity of your Information Security Management System (ISMS) before we delve into the details.

The certification process includes various stages, such as preparation, implementation, and audits, each with its associated costs. 

ISO 27001 design and implementation cost

Implementing ISO 27001 can be lengthy and costly. The main variable is workflow automation and guidance from an ISO 27001 expert. You’ll need to scope your ISMS, perform a gap analysis to identify the control areas that need to be established and walk through the implementation of those controls.

From a people perspective, ISO 27001 will touch most of your organization. It requires dedicated time from key stakeholders for a few months. The cost incurred will be based on time sunk from salaried employees or the hiring of a compliance team to handle design and implementation.

The average ranges for design and implementation costs:

  • Compliance manager salary (US): $115,000 annually
  • Cost of compliance software and tools: $20,000 – $150,000 annually
  • Time needed: 6-12 months

Cost of risk assessment and internal audit

Like a surveillance audit (see below), a business becoming ISO 27001 compliant needs to execute an impartial internal audit prior to beginning their external audit. 

For an internal audit, “impartial” is the key term. Larger businesses may be able to assign employees who have not been involved with implementation to the internal audit. Another very important factor is that the individual(s) conducting the internal audit not only should be impartial, but also should be a knowledgeable auditor. However, you’ll likely need to hire an outside firm to perform this step.

Keep in mind, the person conducting the internal audit needs to be knowledgeable (but doesn’t have to be a certified ISO 27001 Lead Auditor for internal audits). The associated cost will likely be on a per-hour basis and depend on the size and scope of your ISMS.

The average ranges for internal audits can include:

  • Compliance consultant cost: $140/hour
  • Time needed: 40 – 160 hours

Similarly, ISO 27001 requires a risk assessment that should be conducted by management. The assessment identifies potential risks, evaluates their likelihood, and estimates their potential impact to the organization. As this can be conducted internally, it contributes to the overall investment of time and resources your organization puts in. 

Green background with friendly face that has a speech bubble depicting a person working at a computer
Continued reading
ISO 27001 for your business and what you need to know

Find out who needs ISO 27001 and how your business can start working toward certification

ISO 27001 for your business and what you need to know icon-arrow-long

External audit, certification, and surveillance audit cost

The formal certification audit for ISO 27001 typically takes place in person, and the length of time is dependent on the size and complexity of your business. While a small business with 5 employees and 1 location might only require a few days of auditing, a larger, multi-site company could take up to 1 month of auditing.

ISO 27001 pricing depends on each audit firm (there are only 21 certification bodies in the United States). Surveillance audits are required in year 2 and year 3 after the initial formal certification. Surveillance audits are required to remain certified and determine whether or not the company is still operating as was originally represented in the initial certification year.

To stay in compliance, you’ll need to keep your ISMS up-to-date along with the relevant controls. This will require time from a compliance consultant or salaried employee, on top of the cost of auditors.

The average ranges for audit, certification, and ongoing surveillance costs based on the size of your business and scope of your ISMS:

  • ISO 27001 auditor cost: $10,000 – $50,000
  • Surveillance audit cost: $5,000 – $40,000

We can’t express this enough: these price ranges are just estimates. The cost of your ISO 27001 certification depends on so many factors, including the buy-in from your team, the readiness of your product and engineering squads, the size of your business, and much more.

Reach out to our team if you have any questions!

Note: International cost variations

You should be aware that ISO 27001 certification costs are subject to international variation, influenced by factors like labor rates and regional regulations. For example, the cost of certification in countries with lower labor rates may be lower than in countries with higher labor rates.

Additionally, regional regulations may impose additional requirements or fees that can influence the overall cost of certification. Be sure to research and account for these variations when planning for ISO 27001 certification in your organization.

Benefits of ISO 27001 certification

Although obtaining ISO 27001 certification entails costs, the considerable benefits typically supersede these expenses. Achieving ISO 27001 certification can lead to increased revenue opportunities, as clients and partners recognize your organization’s commitment to information security management.

Additionally, certification enhances your organization’s reputation, demonstrating a dedication to protecting customer data and maintaining a strong security posture. The benefits of ISO 27001 certification include:

  • Standardized processes
  • Improved security posture
  • Help with achieving regulatory compliance
  • Strengthened position in the market

Three cost-saving strategies for ISO 27001 certification

Although ISO 27001 certification might require a considerable investment, there are efficiencies to be found to decrease the costs involved.

By implementing these strategies, your organization can streamline the certification process and minimize the costs associated with the preparation, implementation, and ongoing maintenance of your ISMS.

1. Compliance automation

Compliance automation can significantly streamline the ISO 27001 certification process, making it more efficient and cost-effective. By automating tasks such as policy creation, risk assessments, audit evidence collection, and compliance monitoring, your organization can save time and resources while ensuring a consistent and accurate approach to information security management.

The cost of compliance automation solutions can vary depending on the size of your business and the level of automation required, with estimates ranging from $10,000 to over $100,000 for small to medium-sized businesses.

2. Optimizing internal resources

Another cost-saving strategy is optimizing internal resources, which involves utilizing existing staff expertise and implementing efficient processes to reduce certification costs. For example, your organization can leverage the knowledge and skills of in-house IT and security professionals to conduct risk assessments and vulnerability scanning instead of hiring external consultants.

In addition, implementing efficient processes for managing access control systems and network security monitoring can help minimize the time and resources required for ongoing maintenance and surveillance audits, ultimately reducing the overall cost of ISO 27001 certification.

3. Streamline your ISO 27001 journey with Thoropass

ISO 27001 is an international standard for implementing an effective Information Security Management System (ISMS). Stay secure and assure international customers and partners with an ISO 27001 certification. Thoropass supports your success with a clear ISMS readiness roadmap, compliance automation, audit management, and experts to guide your certification journey.

  • STEP 1 – Kick-off: After a deep dive into your unique business context, our experts develop a tailored roadmap for your ISO 27001 certification.
  • STEP 2 – Onboarding: Get up and running in minutes with ISO 27001 policy and procedure templates, native integrations, collaboration tools, and automated vendor discovery.
  • STEP 3 – Implementation: Put ISO 27001 controls into operation through a guided workflow, continuous monitors, action items, project management tools, and support from our experts. Thoropass is uniquely positioned to support your internal ISO 27001 audit before the official certification audit.
  • STEP 4 – ISO 27001 audit: Our platform and team ensure an efficient ISO 27001 audit with streamlined evidence gathering, consultative risk assessment, and expert guidance.
  • STEP 5 – And beyond… Leverage our comprehensive platform to manage recertifications, add frameworks, and maintain continuous compliance.

FAQs about ISO 27001 certification costs

ISO 27001 certification is definitely worth it as it indicates a globally accepted level of security effectiveness, saving time and money by satisfying customer requirements and audits. It can also help organizations to demonstrate their commitment to information security and to protect their reputation. It can also help to reduce the risk of data breaches and other security incidents. ISO 27001 certification can also help organizations comply with various legal and regulatory requirements pertinent to information security.

Company size, scope, and complexity of the ISMS are key factors that determine the cost of ISO 27001 certification. The cost of certification can vary significantly depending on the size and complexity of the organization or the scope of the ISMS. Smaller companies may be able to achieve certification for a fraction of the cost of larger companies. Additionally, the scope of your organization’s operations and the specific industry you operate in can also influence the cost of ISO 27001 certification.

The ISO 27001 certification process involves three main stages: preparation, implementation, and audits.

The process heavily depends on the risk assessment, risk treatment plan, vulnerability assessments, and gap analysis. These assessments help identify areas for improvement and estimate the time required to become audit-ready.

Surveillance audits are required yearly, but only for years 2 and 3 of the certification cycle.  So year one is getting certified, years 2 and 3 is a surveillance audit. Then, year 4 is a recertification audit, years 5 and 6 are surveillance audits, etc. These audits are designed to ensure that the organization is following the requirements of the standard and that any changes in the environment are taken into account. They also provide an opportunity to review the effectiveness of the implemented security measures and processes in your organization.

This post was originally published in July, 2021 and updated for accuracy and additional context.

Share this post with your network: