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The International Standards Organization, or ISO, is a standard-setting body founded in 1947. The organization establishes guidelines for proprietary, industrial and commercial businesses in 162 countries. While ISO has begun to work with technology and information data, an IT team doesn’t need ISO certification to work.
However, gaining ISO certification can be beneficial for an IT staff. Handled correctly, the results could be better management and an influx in customers. ISO standards can also be handled poorly, though, and result in micromanagement and endless frustration. There is a middle ground worthy of the task to get certified.
The Many Different Standards
ISO has 22,359 international standards and counting. Finding which ones to implement for your IT team doesn’t have to be complicated. Other teams before you have had to find out the best avenues for them as well. While different businesses may need various standards, there are few notable ones for IT professionals.
ISO 20000 is a standard for information technology service management. In short, this standard regulates how to manage IT services provided to the rest of the company. The standard was updated in September 2018 to specifically include IT service management and governance.
ISO 27001 is about information security management. While there are more than a dozen standards in the 27000 family, this one has a focus on security management systems. This standard has a wide set of best controls to ensure a level of security despite the rapid advancements in cyber threats over the years. Considering the climate of cyber attacks, this standard is important for businesses dealing with personal data or confidential information.
ISO 9001 is a complement to 27001 for quality management systems. However, 9001 focuses more on the products and services going out of the company to consumers, which will likely collect a lot of data. This standard can also be used to heighten customer satisfaction and get better data results.
ISO 22301 is a standard for emergencies. This one is less about management and more about societal security protocols. In the event of a disaster, 22301 acts as a contingency plan to keep the business in operation after everything has calmed down. For IT departments, cyber attacks and data transfers are going to be hectic. Making sure the technological end of the business stays in working order after a disaster is critical in the modern age to stay in operation.
Benefits Outside of the Business
Much like any certification, having ISO on display helps with sales. Openly complying with ISO standards reassures management and users about how safe and protected their data is. The extra mile also makes the service or product you’re providing worth the investment. Having these extra standards just makes people feel safe about doing business with you, even if IT departments don’t have to follow them by law yet.
Having the certification doesn’t necessarily have to change the way the IT department works, but the standards are all about documenting what goes on in the workplace. Through documentation, your company can show transparency on all levels, which will help for a variety of reasons. Implementing ISO doesn’t even have to be expensive, but there are ways to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Consulting Is Available
Implementing ISO standards can be tricky and difficult. Doing them wrong, having incorrect standards for your practices, and following them too strictly or not strictly enough can make a permanent dent in your business. To avoid these awful situations and the results thereof, external help for finding and implementing the right standards is almost always a must.
Help can be found in the business with stakeholders outside of IT, as they may need ISO standards as well. For the most part, help is offered from a variety of services just a search result away. Depending on the standards you’re implementing and the type of business you have, finding the correct consultant may be a personal adventure.
The Importance of ISO certification
ISO certification makes everyone follow standards to ensure products and services of safe and reliable quality. With the standards in place, businesses can increase productivity and cut down on errors and waste, ultimately saving money. The same applies to the IT departments in said companies, ensuring they do only what’s needed without wasting time with needless tasks, always doing projects correctly the first time.
The standards also protect consumers by making sure all products and services conform to these minimum lists of standards. Having a good reputation for your business is invaluable, especially with so many people worried about data usage and cyber attacks in the modern day. Consumers are likely willing to pay extra just for the peace of mind if your service is good enough.
Truly, there is no downside to implementing ISO standards correctly for your business. There may be a learning curve for employees, but the end result will work out better for all those involved. If the ISO standards above aren’t enough, research the best ones for your business and get an extra step ahead of the competition.
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