ISO 27001 Access Rights

I am going to show you what ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 Access Rights is, what’s new, give you ISO 27001 templates, an ISO 27001 toolkit, show you examples, do a walkthrough and show you how to implement it.

I am Stuart Barker the ISO 27001 Ninja and using over two decades of experience on hundreds of ISO 27001 audits and ISO 27001 certifications I show you exactly what changed in the ISO 27001:2022 update and exactly what you need to do for ISO 27001 certification.

What is ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 Access Rights?

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 Access Rights is an ISO2 7001 control that requires an organisation to mange the full life cycle of access rights based on the topic specific policy and rules of access control.

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 Purpose

Annex A 5.18 is a preventive control that ensures access to information and other associated assets is defined and authorised according to the business requirements.

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 Definition

The ISO 27001 standard defines ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 as:

Access rights to information and other associated assets should be provisioned, reviewed, modified and removed in accordance with the organisation’s topic-specific policy on and rules for access control.

ISO 27001:2022 Annex A 5.18 Access Rights



Implementation Guide

Managing access rights is a straightforward process and easy to get right. Consider the following in your process.

  • You want to get the authorisation from the asset owner
  • Access will be granted based on policy and business requirements
  • We separate out the person making the request for access from the person granting access. This is called segregation of duty.
  • Access rights are provided for as long as needed and removed when no longer required.
  • Access rights are removed when a person leaves the organisation.
  • Suppliers and third parties that require access are provided the temporary access they need for the time they need it before it is removed.
  • Access is provided after it has been authorised and not before. We do not grant access then go back and complete the process for audit purposes.
  • Records of who have access to what are maintained and managed.
  • Reviews of access are carried out regularly and more frequently for privileged accounts. We keep records of access reviews.

General considerations

Role based access is a great mechanism for managing access and should be considered.

Cloning accounts should be avoided. It is easy when creating new accounts to clone accounts. It is not that should not do it but if you do do it take great care with it. We have seen this go badly wrong and all users end up with super user access.

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 Templates

There are several ISO 27001 templates that can help with control 5.18 as well as the main ISO 27001 Toolkit that will fast track your do it yourself ISO 27001 certification.

ISO 27001 Information Classification and Handling Policy Template
ISO 27001 Information Classification Summary Template
ISO 27001 Access Control Policy Template
ISO 27001 Physical Asset Register Template
ISO 27001 Data Asset Register Template

How to comply with ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18

To comply with ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 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 access rights

How to pass an audit of ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18

To pass an audit of ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 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 asset registers, access control procedures that you can evidence are in operation, reviews of access. 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.

The easiest win for an auditor is get you to show them the admin accounts on what ever system you are using and then explain the accounts that are in the admin group. 9 out of 10 times there are admin accounts in here you forgot about, are for people that left or you are unsure yourself what the account is. Instant problem. Check now.

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. The biggest gotcha here is having people with accounts that have left. In other words you didn’t have or follow a leaver process and so people’s access remain even though their contract has ended.

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 5.18 are

1. People have left but they still have an account

Make sure that access to systems is up to date and that people or third parties that have left no longer have access or accounts.

2. Third parties have open access and account they do not need

Third parties should follow process and the process should be to grant access to them when the access required and remove it when it is not. It should not be open and continual access. Consider the example where you need a third party to fix something. You would grant access to allow the fix and then remove it. You would not have open ended access granted.

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 5.18 Important?

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 Access Rights 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. We then want to be able to say with certainty that actions performed by that identity / account were done by a specific individual.

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 FAQ

What policies do I need for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 Access Rights?

For ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 Access Rights you will need the ISO 27001 Access Control Policy

Are there free templates for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18?

There are templates for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 located in the ISO 27001 Toolkit.

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 sample PDF?

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 Sample PDF in the ISO 27001 Toolkit.

Do I have to satisfy ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 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 5.18 Access Rights 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 5.18 myself?

Yes. You can write the policies for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 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 5.18?

ISO 27001 templates for ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 are located in the ISO 27001 Toolkit.

How hard is ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18?

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 is hard. The documentation required is extensive. We would recommend templates to fast track your implementation.

How long will ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 take me?

ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 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 5.18 cost me?

The cost of ISO 27001 Annex A 5.18 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.

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ISO 27001 Matrix of controls and attribute values

Control typeInformation
security properties
Security domains
PreventiveConfidentialityProtectIdentity and access management