ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 Authentication Information

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ISO 27001 Authentication Information

In this ultimate guide to ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 Authentication Information you will learn

  • What is ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17
  • How to implement ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17

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 5.17 Authentication Information?

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 Authentication Information is an ISO 27001 control that requires an organisation to mange the full life cycle of authentication information.

Authentication information is the information that is used to gain access to systems and resources.

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 wants this to be managed. Which seems sensible.

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 Purpose

The purpose of ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 is a preventive control that ensures proper entity authentication and prevents failures of authentication processes.

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 Definition

The ISO 27001 standard defines ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 as:

Allocation and management of authentication information should be controlled by a management process, including advising personnel on the appropriate handling of authentication information.

ISO 27001:2022 Annex A 5.17 Authentication Information


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ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 Implementation Guide

Managing authentication information is a straightforward process and easy to get right. The steps involved are

Allocating the authentication information

When it comes to creating the passwords and pins that will be used you may want to consider generating them automatically. This can make the process more efficient. To consider is

  1. Creating temporary authentication information for first time use
  2. Making sure the temporary authentication is hard to guess and unique for each person
  3. That it must be changed on first use.

We do not want to give access to any old Tom, Dick or Harry so you will have a way to check and verify the identity of any person making the request and any person being given new, updated or replacement credentials. They may, or may not, be the same person.

When we send authentication information to people we are going to do it in a secure way. We are not going to email it or send it in clear text where possible.

The standard wants a step where the user acknowledges that they have received this information.

We keep a record of what we have allocated and what we have managed and we protect that record.

Lastly if a vendor or supplier provides for default passwords, pins and authentication information we change that immediately.

What is the user responsible for?

Users do have some responsibility. They are not to share their passwords or secret authentication information.

If there is a compromise or a leak then the information and credentials are change immediately that you are notified.

Strong passwords, where passwords are used are implemented. This means passwords should not be easy to guess, or be based on something someone could guess or find out. The example is not to use dictionary words or combinations of. This is actually bullshit as the use of dictionary words to make up a phrase would be an ideal password but the standard thinks it knows better.

Passwords have a minimum length according to the standard which is pure genius as any word has a minimum length. It gives no guidance so choose wisely.

Ideally we do not reuse password across different systems.

Contracts of employment include the obligation to follow these rules.

Guidance on a password management system

General guidance on password management systems, which ever you choose, would be

  • a) Users are allowed to select and change their own passwords
  • b) They enforce strong passwords according to best practice
  • c) They force users to change passwords at first use
  • d) They force password changes as required such as after a security incident
  • e) Ideally they prevent re-use of previous passwords
  • f) They prevent the use of common passwords
  • g) Where possible they take account of compromised accounts and passwords and prevent their use
  • h) They do not display passwords on the screen when being entered
  • i) They do not store or send passwords in clear text
  • j) Passwords should be encrypted


There are many ways in which the standard is still old fashioned and a little out of date. You see this come up a lot where it tells you what to do and then says, but in the real world we know you cannot, so do not.

Some exceptions would be that clearly, other ways to authenticate other than passwords are acceptable. Consider tokens, card, biometrics.

Contrary to the standard there is an argument to not frequently change passwords. It does acknowledge this as a scenario which is good. It is about finding the balance for you based on risk and business need and being able to argue that with an auditor.

Stuart - High Table - ISO27001 Ninja - 3

ISO 27001 Templates

For control A 5.17 you are going to need a topic specific ISO 27001 access control policy template. In addition for you ISO 27001 certification you can consider The Ultimate ISO 27001 Templates Toolkit.

ISO27001 Access Control Policy Template

How to comply with ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17

To comply with ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 you are going to implement the ‘how’ to the ‘what’ the control is expecting. In short measure you are going to

  • Implement a process for creating, updating and removing authentication information

How to pass an audit of ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17

To pass an audit of ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 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 the most common

1. That you have not done something stupid

The auditor is going to check the rules, procedures and access control methodology and make sure you followed them. As with everything having documented evidence of anything you can is going to be your friend. So practical things like authentication information registers, encrypted passwords, approval and allocation processes that you can evidence are in operation. Work through recent hires for example and ensure the processes were followed and look for the gotchas. Is there an approval audit trail. When you log into the system that was approved does the users access match what was requested.

2. That you have rules, processes and you 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. Is the document up to date. Has it been reviewed in the last 12 months. Does the version control match. 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 5.17 are

1. Share authentication information

There are circumstances where people know share authentication information and they do not need to. This is usually just lazy admin. The sharing of accounts where it doesn’t and should be needed.

2. Your temporary passwords are always the same

Giving first time passwords and making them unique may be a little tricky so often people rely on one password they always send out. Something like P@assw@rd. Do not do this.

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 Authentication Information Important?

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 Authentication Information is important because you are trying to protect things and a primary way to protect them is to restrict access. To grant access you need something to have the access. This is the identity / account. To ensure that only it has the access you want it to authenticate. This is the authentication information.

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 FAQ

What policies do I need for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 Authentication Information?

For ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 Authentication Information you will need the ISO 27001 Access Control Policy

Are there free templates for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17?

There are templates for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 located in the ISO 27001 Toolkit.

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 sample PDF?

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 Sample PDF in the ISO 27001 Toolkit.

Do I have to satisfy ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 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 5.17. Authentication Information is a fundamental part of your control framework and any management system. It is explicitly required for ISO 27001.

Can I write polices for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 myself?

Yes. You can write the policies for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 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 identity management. Alternatively you can download them in the ISO 27001 Toolkit.

Where can I get templates for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17?

ISO 27001 templates for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 are located in the ISO 27001 Toolkit.

How hard is ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17?

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 is hard. The documentation required is extensive. We would recommend templates to fast track your implementation.

How long will ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 take me?

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 will take approximately 1 to 3 month to complete if you are starting from nothing and doing a full 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 5.17 cost me?

The cost of ISO 27001 Annex A 5.17 will depend how you go about it. If you do it yourself it will be free but will take you about 1 to 3 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.

What are the identity management principles?

The principles on identity management is one user to one identity where possible. You should avoid multiple users using the same account.

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
Security domains
PreventiveConfidentialityProtectIdentity and access management#Protection

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