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How Penetration Testing Aids in ISO 27001 Compliance?

icon Posted by: Praveen Joshi
icon August 24, 2022

In Brief:

What is ISO 27001 Compliance?

ISO 27001 is the standard for information security management that businesses operating in the IT domain are advised to follow. ISO (International Organization for Standardization) in association with the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) published the ISO 27001 standard regulations in 2005. It aims to provide you with a framework for an Information Security Management System (ISMS) which has availability, integrity, confidentiality of information, and legal compliance.

API Penetration Testing


of Companies see compliances as their top day-to-day headaches.


rise is noticed among non-compliance penalties in the first half of 2022 as compared to the previous year.


of organizations across the globe are expected to experience Supply Chain Attacks by 2025.


of organizations need vendors to provide proof of cyber security compliances.

Role of Penetration Testing in ISO 27001 Compliance

ISO 27001 is a set of detailed guidelines and regulations for organizations to protect their sensitive data and other assets. Processes of risk and threat assessment are a crucial part of this. You need to maintain a robust Information Security Management System (ISMS) to be in compliance with ISO/IEC 27001. However, ISO 27001 does not talk about penetration testing directly at any point. But it states to check technical vulnerabilities of information systems being used in your organization frequently. And certainly, penetration testing is the best way to do that.

  • Penetration testing is necessary for the complete gap analysis of your security systems. It uncovers hidden vulnerabilities and prevents their exploitation by threat actors.
  • It is even more required for organizations having complex systems, networks, and applications with sensitive information.
  • According to the ISO 27001 standards, your business needs to show that it is keeping track of the vulnerabilities, analyzing their impact, and remediating with effect.
  • Regular scanning methods and tools fall short of it and leave one area or the other unattended. There are several aspects of penetration testing such as network pen testing, cloud pen testing, API Penetration Testing, etc. Hence, penetration testing aids to bridge this gap and makes you compliant with the set standards.
  • Penetration testing not only helps satisfy the ISO 27001 standards but also improves your organization’s existing information security standards.

Need for Penetration Testing Compliance

The need for techniques like API Penetration Testing, application pen testing, and network monitoring are specific to the type of business. Standards, regulations, and compliance requirements are also dependent on various industry verticals. You need to conduct penetration testing before any compliance audit.

Some industry-specific compliance requirements are:

  • HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act– for healthcare facilities to protect insurance-related data.
  • PCI-DSS: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard– for businesses to process online payments securely.
  • RBI-ISMS: Reserve Bank of India – Information Security Management System– for banking and non-banking financial companies.
  • SOC 2: Service Organization Control 2– for service-based organizations providing specific services to their clients.

Additional Benefits of ISO 27001 Penetration Testing

All things considered; we have established how penetration testing aids in ISO 27001 compliance. But along with it, there are a few more upsides to it. Methods like API Penetration Testing, cloud pen testing, and network penetration testing help you with a lot of other things in addition to compliance requirements. Some key benefits of ISO 27001 penetration testing are:

  • It identifies and helps to fix the vulnerabilities in your IT systems. Hence, covers one of the most crucial parts of the ISO 27001 compliance audit.
  • If you get an ISO 27001 certification, this boosts your company’s reliability and reputation among the public. This directly helps your revenue to scale up.
  • The process simultaneously helps your business to eliminate security vulnerabilities and prepare for compliance audits at the same time. This is a win-win situation for both security and business purposes.

Types of ISO 27001 penetration testing

The following are the different types of ISO 27001 penetration testing:

  • Network infrastructure testing
  • Wireless testing
  • Application and API security review
  • Remote working assessment
  • Web application security testing
  • Social engineering
  • Mobile security testing
  • Firewall configuration review

How Often Should You Conduct an ISO 27001?

However, there are no fixed rules. But the general convention dictates that you should conduct it once a year to comply with certification standards. ISO 27001 penetration testing frequency can change where the company has implemented major infrastructure changes which have altered the state of its systems.

The modern technological complexities and evolving threat landscapes might force you to conduct ISO 27001 penetration test even more than once a year. All in an endeavor to stay ahead of malicious activities and to protect the digital assets of the company.

Before You Go!

  • Penetration testing to comply with ISO 27001 and other security standards is not something you must do without expert consultancy and supervision.
  • There are Cyber Security Consulting Firms to help you with such processes. You can get in touch with RSK Cyber Security if you need instant help regarding similar issues.



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