ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 Labelling Of Information

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ISO 27001 Labelling Of Information

In this ultimate guide to ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 Labelling Of Information you will learn

  • What is ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13?
  • How to implement ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13

I am Stuart Barker, the ISO 27001 Ninja and author of the Ultimate ISO 27001 Toolkit.

With over 30 years industry experience I will show you what’s new, give you ISO 27001 templates, show you examples, do a walkthrough and show you how to implement it for ISO 27001 certification.

What is ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 Labelling Of Information?

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 Labelling Of Information is an ISO 27001 control that requires an organisation to label information in line with the information classification scheme of the organisation.

In the 2022 update to the standard it introduced the use of metadata.

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 Purpose

The purpose of ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 is a to ensure you facilitate the communication of classification of information and support automation of information processing and management.

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 Definition

The ISO 27001 standard defines ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 as:

An appropriate set of procedures for information labelling should be developed and implemented in accordance with the information classification scheme adopted by the organisation.

ISO 27001:2022 Annex A 5.13 Labelling Of Information

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ISO27001:2022 Changes

Ok, so the changes to the 2022 version of the standard are mainly that the standard now has a real hard on for metadata. I love metadata but this starts to move into overkill for many organisations and implies technologies and costs so this is one control that I would be considering carefully and proportionately and not necessarily following blindly. These are considerations and the use of risk management and compensating controls can be your friend here.

The standard also rightly sets out that the labelling of classified information is a key requirement but it also acknowledges that labelling of information can sometimes have negative effects. It does acknowledge that classified assets can be easier to identify by what it calls malicious actors for potential misuse. This is a ‘No Shit Sherlock’ moment because if you have labeled everything like it wants you to and added metadata to everything for searching you have just made indexing of your most valuable assets a cake walk when it gets into the wrong hands. Caution and pragmatism are advised.

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 Implementation Guide

The prerequisite for the this annex a control is having an information classification scheme in place. We covered information classification in – ISO 27001 Annex A 5.12 Classification of Information Beginner’s Guide

Once you have your classification scheme in place you are going to then label information and assets accordingly.

You are going to have to

  • Implement procedures for information labelling
  • Cover information and other associated assets in all formats

It is good practice to consider where labelling is omitted such as the case of non confidential information so that we can reduce the workload on people.

The procedures that you write should give guidance on where and how labels are attached and the different types of storage media. You will look at how to label information sent by or stored on physical, electronic and because the standard likes to catch everything, on what it helpfully calls ‘any other format’. Nothing like future proofing for the unknowns.

Of course there may be situations where labelling is not possible, and this is fine, as long as you have covered how to handle those cases. How you handle it may be to tag it with meta data or put in place some other compensating controls such as having an exception list and managing it via risk management.

When you have your labelling processes and procedures you are going to train staff on how to use and follow them and be able to evidence that you did so.

What are examples of labelling techniques?

Examples of labelling techniques can include:

  • Headers and footers
  • Metadata
  • Physical Labels
  • Watermarks
  • Rubber Stamps – if you are proper old school

Metadata

Now the standard starts to stray into implementation territory with its guidance on metadata. Metadata has its place but we have to look at the appropriateness of the control to our risk and our organisation. Remember that the annex controls are guidance for consideration and you do not HAVE to implement them, only consider them, so if metadata is not appropriate for you that is fine, just note it down and manage it via your risk management process, accepting the risk.

Where it does apply and makes sense then you are looking at metadata to identify, manage and control information, especially in relation to confidentiality. It can help if it also makes it more efficient for searching for information but you can see here how the standard starts to tell you what to do not what is expected of you. Metadata searching for example is going to be reliant on specific technologies and implementations.

If you are using metadata then your procedures are going to describe how to attach metadata to information, what labels to use and how data should be handled. You are now moving into the realm of massive fking ball ache territory for your fellow colleagues so think carefully and act proportionately.

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ISO 27001 Templates

If you want to write these yourself I totally commend you. And pity you in equal measure. You could save months of effort with these templates that take 25 years of experience and distill it in a pack of prewritten best practice awesomeness.

ISO 27001 Information Classification and Handling Policy Template
ISO 27001 Information Classification Summary Template
ISO 27001 Documents and Records Policy Template
ISO 27001 Physical Asset Register Template
ISO 27001 Data Asset Register Template

How to comply

To comply with ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 you are going to implement the ‘how’ to the ‘what’ the control is expecting. In short measure you are going to

  • Implement your classification scheme
  • Implement your asset management and record all your assets in asset registers
  • Write, implement and train people on your labelling processes and procedures
  • Classify all of your assets and label them appropriately
  • Decide if metadata is appropriate to you, to what level and implement to that

How to pass an audit

To pass an audit of ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 you are going to make sure that you have followed the steps above in how to comply.

You are going to do that by first conducting an internal audit, following the How to Conduct an ISO 27001 Internal Audit Guide.

What will an audit check?

The audit is going to check a number of areas. Lets go through them

1. That you have implemented metadata

Remember where I said above the standard has a real hard on now for metadata, well you can bet your bottom dollar that auditors are going to go metadata crazy. They love a literal interpretation of the standards as if it were handed down by god to Moses. If it is appropriate to you do it, of course. But there is cost in time, resources, money, technology that may just not be appropriate. And that is ok. Document what you are doing, cover it in risk management, have a record of your decision, and what ever level of implementation you do show that you accepted the risk. The argument will come that you have included the control in your SOA and that it applies to you and therefore all of it applies to you. This is partly correct in that you have considered that the control applies to you because labelling information that is confidential and marking information and being able to control information based on labelling makes sense but you did not necessarily sign up carte blanche to an enterprise level metadata solution. Be prepared to fight your corner, it is a risk based system, so manage the risk, don’t just implement controls where they make no sense.

2. That you have processes, have followed them and have trained people

This is obvious but they are going to look that you have documented what you say you do, that you follow it and that you have trained people.

3. Documentation

They are going to look at audit trails and all your documentation and see that is classified and labelled. All the documents that you show them, as a minimum if they are confidential should be labelled as such. Doing anything else would be a massive own goal.

Top 3 Mistakes People Make

The top 3 Mistakes People Make For ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 are

1. Your information is not labelled

This is such an easy win for an auditor to check. You will put information in front of them. You will have forgotten to label something. This maybe a HR org chart, a presentation, a PDF, a Visio diagram. Something, somewhere that you have that is confidential will not have been labelled and you will either show it to the auditor or they will ask you for it. Sods law. Check everything before you get audited. Then check it again.

2. One or more members of your team haven’t done what they should have done

Prior to the audit check that all members of the team have done what they should have, understand how to label information and have been trained in it.

3. Your document and version control is wrong

Keeping your document version control up to date, making sure that version numbers match where used, having a review evidenced in the last 12 months, having documents that have no comments in are all good practices.

Why is ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 Important?

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 Labelling Of Information is important because labelling of classified information is seen as a key requirement for information sharing. If you label it, you can control it. To facilitate the communication of classification of information and now with the 2022 changes, to support automation of information processing and management.

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 FAQ

What policies do I need for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 Labelling Of Information?

For ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 Labelling Of Information you will need the ISO 27001 Information Classification and Handling Policy

Are there free templates for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13?

There are templates for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 located here in the ISO 27001 Toolkit

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 sample PDF?

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 Sample PDF in the ISO 27001 Toolkit

Do I have to satisfy ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 for ISO 27001 Certification?

Yes. Whilst the ISO 27001 Annex A clauses are for consideration to be included in your Statement of Applicability there is no reason we can think of that would allow you to exclude ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13. Information labelling is a fundamental part of your control framework and any management system. They are explicitly required for ISO 27001.

Can I write polices for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 myself?

Yes. You can write the policies for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 yourself. You will need a copy of the standard and approximately 5 days of time to do it. It would be advantageous to have a background in information security management systems. There are a number of documents you will require as well as the policy for labelling information. Alternatively you can download them in the ISO 27001 Toolkit

Where can I get templates for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13?

ISO 27001 templates for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 are located in the ISO 27001 Toolkit

How hard is ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13?

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 is hard. Depending how deep you go down the rabbit hole of metadata implementation. It can take a lot of time. We would recommend templates to fast track your implementation.

How long will ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 take me?

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 will take approximately 6 months to complete if you are starting from nothing and doing a full implementation including metadata implementation. With the right risk management approach and an ISO 27001 Template Toolkit it should take you less than 1 day.

How much will ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 cost me?

The cost of ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 will depend how you go about it. The main costs here are going to be in the metadata implementation and how far you go down that path. If you do it yourself it will be free but will take you about 6 to 12 months so the cost is lost opportunity cost as you tie up resource doing something that can easily be downloaded and managed via risk management.

Is there an online ISO 27001?

Yes, there is an online ISO 27001 at ISO 27001 Online.

ISO 27001 controls and attribute values

Control typeInformation
security properties
Cybersecurity
concepts
Operational
capabilities
Security domains
PreventiveConfidentialityProtectInformation_protectionDefence
IntegrityProtection
Availability

ISO 27001:2022 requirements

Organisational Controls - A5

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.1 Policies for information security

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.2 Information Security Roles and Responsibilities

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.3 Segregation of duties

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.4 Management responsibilities

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.5 Contact with authorities

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.6 Contact with special interest groups

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.7 Threat intelligence – new

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.8 Information security in project management

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.9 Inventory of information and other associated assets – change

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.10 Acceptable use of information and other associated assets – change

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.11 Return of assets

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.11 Return of assets

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.13 Labelling of information

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.14 Information transfer

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.15 Access control

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.16 Identity management

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 Authentication information – new

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 Access rights – change

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.19 Information security in supplier relationships

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.20 Addressing information security within supplier agreements

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.21 Managing information security in the ICT supply chain – new

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.22 Monitoring, review and change management of supplier services – change

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.23 Information security for use of cloud services – new

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.24 Information security incident management planning and preparation – change

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.25 Assessment and decision on information security events 

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.26 Response to information security incidents

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.27 Learning from information security incidents

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.28 Collection of evidence

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.29 Information security during disruption – change

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.31 Identification of legal, statutory, regulatory and contractual requirements

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.32 Intellectual property rights

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.33 Protection of records

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.34 Privacy and protection of PII

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.35 Independent review of information security

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.36 Compliance with policies and standards for information security

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.37 Documented operating procedures 

Technology Controls - A8

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.1 User Endpoint Devices

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.2 Privileged Access Rights

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.3 Information Access Restriction

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.4 Access To Source Code

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.5 Secure Authentication

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.6 Capacity Management

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.7 Protection Against Malware

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.8 Management of Technical Vulnerabilities

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.9 Configuration Management 

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.10 Information Deletion

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.11 Data Masking

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.12 Data Leakage Prevention

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.13 Information Backup

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.14 Redundancy of Information Processing Facilities

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.15 Logging

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.16 Monitoring Activities

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.17 Clock Synchronisation

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.18 Use of Privileged Utility Programs

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.19 Installation of Software on Operational Systems

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.20 Network Security

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.21 Security of Network Services

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.22 Segregation of Networks

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.23 Web Filtering

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.24 Use of CryptographyISO27001 Annex A 8.25 Secure Development Life Cycle

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.26 Application Security Requirements

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.27 Secure Systems Architecture and Engineering Principles

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.28 Secure Coding

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.29 Security Testing in Development and Acceptance

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.30 Outsourced Development

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.31 Separation of Development, Test and Production Environments

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.32 Change Management

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.33 Test Information

ISO 27001 Annex A 8.34 Protection of information systems during audit testing