BS7799 How it Works
The standard effectively comes in two parts:
- ISO/IEC 17799:2000 (Part 1) is the standard code of practice
and can be regarded as a comprehensive catalogue of good security
things to do.
- BS7799-2:1999 (Part 2) is a standard specification for an Information
Security Management Systems (ISMS). An ISMS is the means by which
Senior Management monitor and control their security, minimising
the residual business risk and ensuring that security continues
to fulfil corporate, customer and legal requirements.
Please note that certification is
Part 1: The Code of Practice
ISO/IEC 17799:2000 defines 127 security controls structured under
10 major headings to enable readers to identify the particular safeguards
that are appropriate to their particular business or specific area
of responsibility. These security controls contain further detailed
controls bringing the overall number somewhere in the region of
500+ controls and elements of best practice.
The standard stresses the importance of risk
management and makes it clear that you do not have to implement
every single guideline; only those that are relevant. The scope
of the standard covers all forms of information, including voice
and graphics, and media such as mobile phones and fax machines.
The new standard recognises new ways of doing business, such as
e-commerce, the Internet, outsourcing, tele-working and mobile computing.
Part 2: The Management Standard
BS7799-2:1999 instructs you how to apply ISO/IEC 17799 and how
to build an ISMS. It defines a six step process, see Figure 1.
It invites you to stand back and think about all of your information
assets and their value to your organisation. You ought then to devise
a policy that identifies what information is important
and why. From a practical point of view, it is only that information
with a some significant value that should be of concern.
Excluding low value information allows you to define the scope
of your management concerns. You may discover that your concerns
pervade your organisation as a whole. In this case you will need
to regard all of your information systems and their external interfaces
-IT and electronic forms of communication, filing cabinets, telephone
conversations, public relations and so on, as being in scope. Alternatively,
your concerns may focus onto a particular customer-facing system.
For example, an interesting extreme is the application of BS7799-2:1999
to the development, manufacture and delivery of a security product.
Figure 1 - The major steps towards BS7799-2
Now you know what information is in scope and what its value is,
your next move should be to determine the risk of losing that value.
Remember to consider everything. At one extreme you need to consider
the complexities of technology; at the other you need to consider
business forces in terms of advancing technology and enterprise,
as well as the ugly side of industrial espionage and information
You then need to decide how to manage that risk. Your forces certainly
include technology, but don't forget people, administrative procedures
and physical things like doors and locks and even CCTV. Don't forget
insurance. If you can't prevent something from happening, maybe
you can discover if it does happen and do something to contain it
or otherwise reduce the danger. In the end, you will of course,
need an effective continuity plan.
Choose your safeguards
You will then need to choose your "safeguards", i.e.
the ways you have selected to manage the risk. BS7799-2:1999 lists
a wide variety of such measures, but the list is not exhaustive
and you are free to identify additional measures as you please.
The list is drawn 1:1 from ISO/IEC 17799:2000.
You are required to identify all of your chosen security controls
and justify why you feel they are appropriate, and show why those
BS7799 controls that have not been chosen are not relevant. Clearly
you could decline every BS7799 offering and invent your own. This
is not a problem - it is allowed. However, you need to
justify it - as much for your own benefit as anyone else's.
The Information Security Management System (ISMS)
The standard requires you to set up an Information Security Management
System (ISMS) to make this happen. You should really, of course,
set this up in the first place, but standards don't tell you how
to do things, merely what you should achieve. Click
here [offsite link] for our ideas.
Certification schemes are being established in many parts of the
world. It is therefore useful to reveal who the players are and
what is going on. Have a look at Figure 2.
co-operation for Accreditation document EA7/03 provides guidance
to National Accreditation Bodies for the accreditation of Certification
Bodies wishing to assess ISMSs, e.g. against BS7799-2:1999.
The various National Accreditation Bodies around the world operate
a "mutual recognition" process that allows certificates
awarded in one country to be accepted by the Accreditation Body
Figure 2: Relationship between scheme players
In order to be awarded a certificate, your ISMS will be audited
by a BS7799 assessor. The assessor cannot also be a consultant.
There are very strict rules about this. The assessor will work for
a Certification Body (such as BSI Assessment Services Limited
and Det Norske Veritas).
The Certification Body will award you the certificate. The certificate
will document the scope of your ISMS and other
relevant details, such as the statement of applicability. Only Certification Bodies
that have been duly accredited by a National Accreditation Body
can issue certificates.
The assessor will return periodically to check that your ISMS is
working as intended.
BSI has published a useful set of supporting documentation to help
apply ISO/IEC 17799:2000 and BS7799-2:1999. They are:
- Information Security Management: An Introduction (PD3000)
- Preparing for BS7799 Certification (PD3001)
- Guide to BS7799 Risk Assessment and Risk Management (PD3002)
- Are you ready for a BS7799 Audit? (PD3003)
- Guide to BS7799 Auditing (PD3004).
- Selecting BS7799 Controls (PD3005).
PD3000 provides an overview of the scheme for accredited certification
and forms a useful a preface to other guidance documents in the
PD3001 provides guidance to users of BS7799 and gives detailed
information in readiness for assessment against the Accredited Certification
Scheme It offers industry accepted best practice methods for providing
and demonstrating the evidence required by an assessment auditor.
The guide to BS7799 Risk Assessment and Risk Management (PD3002)
describes the underlying concepts behind BS7799 risk assessment
and risk management, including the terminology and the overall process
of assessing and managing risks. It is based on the ISO/IEC Guidelines
for the Management of IT Security (GMITS).
Are you ready for a BS7799 Audit? (PD3003) is a pre-certification
assessment workbook for organisations to assess and record the extent
of their compliance with the control requirements in BS7799: Part
2 and to aid in their preparations for a certification audit. This
is a useful starting point for anyone considering BS7799 for the
first time. Merely complete the workbook, answering Yes,
No or Partly, and explain why. The completed
workbook can also serve as your Statement of Applicability.
The guide to BS7799 Auditing (PD3004) provides general information
and guidance on auditing ISMSs. It was effectively the BS7799 "audit
methodology" for BS7799:1995. Although recently updated for BS7799:1999
Part 1, it probably has the wrong focus now, as it should perhaps
concentrate on the management of the ISMS which it does not.
In order to buy a copy of the standard, please contact the British
Standards Institute. That will give you the address, phone
numbers, e-mail for ordering etc.
For further information visit our pages on risk
Source : http://www.gammassl.co.uk/
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