July 21, 2021

Why SaaS Management Will Help You Achieve the ISO 27001 Certification

Security & Compliance

How a proactive approach to understanding and controlling your software subscriptions can ease your road to ISO 27001 compliance

So your company is trying to get ISO 27001 certification**

An ISO 27001 certification is a powerful symbol of a company’s integrity when it comes to data security, bolstering brand power and helping instill confidence in potential clients. 

It’s becoming crucial for scaling companies. Plus, the implementation of due diligence processes help make your company more efficient and accountable in the long run - a key step in transforming from a startup into a big player. 

But it’s a long and difficult process. 

It typically takes at least twelve months, and requires huge swathes of documentation and hundreds of hours from team members willing to tackle it. That could take its toll on company culture as you go from carefree startup team to potentially drowning in rules and regulation.

When it comes to compliance, what you don’t know will hurt you, and a company’s data security is only as strong as the weakest link in their information network. So what can you do to make the process of ISO certification smoother, stop resource drain and retain a strong company culture?

SaaS is critical for ISO 27001 Certification**

SaaS management - i.e. the management of your software subscriptions - can make the prospect of ISO certification even more onerous. As part of building processes around how you handle data, you need to audit and document all your SaaS assets to ensure they are compliant, have a secure supply chain and aren't putting company or customer data at risk, since these SaaS platforms are where you typically store data nowadays. This can be a considerable challenge if there is lack of clarity around your software subscriptions. 

When SaaS can be bought from anywhere and by anyone, security concerns often fall by the wayside – you might not even know about all the SaaS your teams are using. That makes it very difficult to build robust processes, prove you've got your bases covered, and secure your ISO 27001 certification. 

One of the most important steps towards achieving ISO 27001 certification is the creation of an assets register, which encompasses anything in the company wherein information is being stored, processed and made accessible. This assets register should include your company’s hardware, software, paper copies, office infrastructure - as well as critical software.

In fact, any SaaS which stores or processes customer or company information should be included on this assets register. While this will definitely include software pillars such as CRM, customer support software (i.e. Zendesk) and cloud hosting software (i.e. AWS), there will probably be many others. 

Different SaaS across the wider company will be privy to different types of information, and their vendors will have varying levels of security. Determining which those are, what information they have access to, and providing due diligence documentation are all necessary steps on the way to compliance. 

Without solid SaaS management, there is no way of building a robust and scalable register. Instead, your team will find themselves chasing down individual invoices interviewing team members to find out about every new piece of software to then determine how secure it is, add it to the register and document the due diligence process. This puts you in a constant state of catch-up, causes tension between teams – and still doesn’t give you that much confidence.

‘Shadow IT’ puts your company at risk**

And that’s just the software you know about. What about unknown or forgotten software subscriptions? As the SaaS market explodes, so too does the take-up of ‘Shadow IT’ – the software which individuals sign up for and use without the awareness of IT or finance. McAfee estimates that Shadow IT cloud usage could be as high as 10X that of known cloud usage for a company. 

Whether you know about it or not, your data is going onto these systems, and months of painstaking audit work towards compliance will be lost if you can’t provide visibility and audit all critical assets accordingly. Unused software subscriptions, caused when account owners move teams or leave the company, pose a similar threat. SaaS is so easy to try and buy that, often enough, people quickly forget about it, and handover of SaaS is rarely built into employee offboarding. If team leavers are still using a company SaaS subscription, and can still access sensitive company data, that poses yet another problem.

Ultimately, you need a robust system of management for your software subscriptions in order to:

                   a) Determine which vendors are safe

                   b) Map your full network of critical software assets

                   c) Run due diligence on all of it (including risk assessment like GDPR)

Ongoing compliance requires ongoing SaaS management**

This is especially true considering that certification is not a one-time event. Companies have to provide thorough checks every six months, and to reapply every three years. This means that ISO 27001 Compliance is a long-term journey, one which informs overall company growth - and without a centralised system and good management processes in place, effective compliance could be elusive. 

That not only makes it harder to get certification, but to maintain it, too. If you don’t implement the proper processes, then ISO 27001 certification will be a massive pain at every renewal. That means loads of admin and stress for the teams trying to maintain compliance – and extra rules and restrictions for the rest of the company. Often, businesses choose to give up their certification rather than go through the pain of maintaining it – but that makes it hard for you to land choosy clients and scale effectively. 

SaaS management saves scaleup company culture**

Many companies respond to this SaaS swell by restricting the take-up of new software. The result is that ISO compliance becomes synonymous with a total lack of experimentation with new technologies, and creativity is stifled. 

Good SaaS management is crucial in preventing this reactionary move. By centralising your SaaS and achieving visibility over all the apps your teams are using, building the processes needed for ISO 27001 Compliance becomes much easier. It relieves the burden on team leads to police employees, or for employees to police themselves and each other around cumbersome compliance rules. SaaS management solutions help you build and protect a company culture where team members feel empowered to use software with the right processes – those that are transparent, and make audits easily actionable. 

Cledara gives you full visibility over all your software subscriptions, including used and unused software. Plus, we streamline the evaluation and monitoring of all your SaaS suppliers to ensure they have suitable security measures in place – keeping corporate, client, and user data secure. Getting your SaaS in order gets you one step closer to ISO 27001 certification - and the scalability it unlocks.



Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest insights in your inbox

Share this post

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay informed on the latest SaaS insights

Explore more

Explore more

9 Shadow IT Risks (And How to Avoid Them)

There’s no point triple locking your door if you leave a window wide open. Here’s 9 eye-watering shadow IT risks to beware of—and how to mitigate them.
Read more

IT Governance Framework: A Guide for Enterprise Companies

IT governance is a formal way to integrate an IT strategy into an organization's business strategy. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about it.
Read more

How To Protect Your Business From Toll Fraud

Business fraud can take many forms. Learn what toll fraud is and how you can protect your business with Cledara.
Read more

Process Documentation for Startups: How To Get Started + Best Tools

Documenting processes can help you optimize your workflow and reduce the growing pains of scaling your startup. Here's how to get started.
Read more

Password Management Tips for SOC 2 Compliance

The right tools will help your company pass through a SOC 2 audit with ease.
Read more

EBA Guidelines on Outsourcing Arrangements: Everything You Need to Know

Learn how to easily navigate around the latest compliance requirements by the EBA for outsourcing arrangements.
Read more

UK Companies to Comply with EBA Guidelines for Outsourcing Arrangements amid Brexit and COVID pandemic

We dug into the latest public statements by PRA and FCA on the EBA Guidelines and give you actionable advice on how to tackle their latest updates.
Read more

2020 GDPR Fines on the Rise

How one chat bot cost Ticketmaster more than a million pounds and what you can do to avoid the same fate.
Read more

SaaSOps: Your IT Team's Latest Security Challenge

COVID has accelerated migration to the cloud. And has also exposed the security of your IT structure like never before. We give you seven tips for IT professionals to tackle these new challenges.
Read more

New EBA Outsourcing Guidelines: What SaaS is Considered Critical or Important?

We dig into the jargon behind the regulation to help you understand what needs to be done with your SaaS
Read more

The Way Fintech Startups Buy SaaS is About to Change Forever

New Outsourcing Guidelines from UK and European financial regulators set new requirements for the way regulated fintech startups and other financial services companies buy and manage their SaaS.
Read more

GDPR Fines and Lessons for Startups

GDPR fines are getting larger and more frequent. An average fine is now more than $500,000, making a GDPR fine equivalent to a whole seed round!
Read more