ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 Protecting Against Physical and Environmental Threats

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ISO 27001 Protecting Against Physical and Environmental Threats

The focus for this ISO 27001 Control is physical protection from natural disasters and physical threats. As one of the ISO 27001 controls this is about reducing damage and impact from things that cannot be planned and are out of your control.

You will learn what the ISO 27001 control 7.5 is, how to simply and easily implement it for ISO 27001 certification and I will show you some common gotchas so you can avoid them.

What is ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 Protecting Against Physical and Environmental Threats?

ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 Protecting Against Physical and Environmental Threats is an ISO 27001 control that requires an organisation to protect against physical and environmental threats.

ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 Purpose

Annex A 7.5 is a preventive control that ensures you prevent or reduce the consequences of events originating from physical and environmental threats.

ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 Definition

The ISO 27001 standard defines Annex A 7.5 as:

Protection against physical and environmental threats, such as natural disasters and other intentional or unintentional physical threats to infrastructure should be designed and implemented.

ISO 27001:2022 Annex A 7.5 Protecting Against Physical and Environmental Threats

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How to implement ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5

General Guidance

You are going to have to

  • conduct a risk assessment
  • consult a professional for specialist advice where required – for example fire, flood, theft, civil unrest, earthquake, explosions
  • install and configure systems to detect fire, flood, electrical surges explosive and weapons
  • implement physical security controls based on risk and business need

The implementation of securing offices, rooms and facilities is in the context of the physical security perimeter where you can find guidance in the Ultimate guide to ISO 27001 Annex A 7.1 Physical Security Perimeter.

Health and Safety

Your number one priority is to meet the requirements of law and regulation. Be sure to engage with a legal professional to understand what you can and cannot do and to check that you are not breaking any laws. The most significant laws are those around health and safety as the protection of human life and wellbeing is always our number priority. There are common things that should be considered such as entry point doors that fail open. Whilst we want to protect buildings and information our absolute priority is to protect people.

Define your protection requirements

Start by understanding your risk and doing a risk assessment. For guidance on how, read The Complete Guide to ISO 27001 Risk Assessment. This is going to be based on the needs of the business and the risks that you are managing. As a starting point there are basics such as protection from fire and flood. It maybe that the physical environment brings with it other threats such as electrical surges, local civil unrest, explosives, tectonic fault lines. Do what is right for you. Consider the environment around the location and the threats that may be posed and be sensible in addressing them.

Topic specific physical and environmental security policy

To communicate to people what you do and what is expected you are going to write, sign off, implement and communicate your topic specific Physical and Environmental Security Policy.

ISO 27001 Templates

ISO 27001 templates have the advantage of being a massive boost that can save time and money so before we get into the implementation guide we consider these pre written templates that will sky rocket your implementation. 

For Annex A 7.5 you need a topic specific Physical and Environmental Security Policy Template. In addition, you could save months of effort with the ISO 27001 toolkit that take 25 years of experience and distill it in a pack of prewritten best practice awesomeness so you can DIY your ISO 27001 certification. Not interested in ISO 27001 templates, then you can skip to the next section.

How to comply with ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5

To comply with ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 you are going to implement the ‘how’ to the ‘what’ the control is expecting. In short measure you are going to

  • Define your physical protection requirements
  • Consult with a legal professional to ensure you are meeting legal and regulatory requirements
  • Consult with appropriate professionals who specialise in the identified protection requirements
  • Implement your physical threat protection
  • Write, sign off, implement and communicate your topic specific Physical and Environmental Security Policy
  • Write, sign off, implement and communicate your perimeter incident response procedures
  • Implement a process of internal audit that checks that the appropriate controls are in place and effective and where they are not follow the continual improvement process to address the risks

How to pass an audit of ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5

To pass an audit of ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 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 considered physical and environmental threats

The audit will do some research and identify any obvious physical and environmental threats and that you have addressed them. If you are in a flood plane, have you considered and implemented protection against flooding. If you are in an area to susceptible to civil unrest do your controls address this. Are the basics such as fire protection covered and are they appropriate. A common one to check here is that fire extinguishers are legal and maintained and evidenced as being maintained.

2. The you have implemented controls

They have been doing this a long time and done many audits so they know what to look for. They will test the controls and see what happens where they can. They will want to see evidence that the controls have been reviewed and tested and are working as intended.

3. Documentation

They are going to look at audit trails and all your documentation. They will look at appropriate maintenance, reviews, logs of monitors and reports, incidents and how you managed them.

Top 3 Mistakes People Make for ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5

The top 3 mistakes people make for ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 are

1. Your fire extinguishers are not up to date

This one feels a bit random but as they walk around they will check fire extinguishers and look for evidence that they are operational and maintained. An example would be a fire extinguisher that works on pressure and the pressure gauge is at zero or in the red. Also that there is no evidence of them being maintained.

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. Have control reviews taken place? Who gets informed about about the alarms and notification and do they still work here?

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 7.5 Protecting Against Physical and Environmental Threats important?

These are the kind of threats that can destroy facilities and at the very basic level prevent you gaining access. They are common place but often over looked. As a physical security control you want to do all you can to protect for unforeseen events using the most common types of events as your inspiration. It is all about risk management.

ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 FAQ

What policies do I need for ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 Protecting Against Physical and Environmental Threats

You will need the ISO 27001 Physical and Environmental Security Policy

Are there free templates for ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 Protecting Against Physical and Environmental Threats?

There are templates for ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 located in the ISO 27001 toolkit

ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 sample PDF?

ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 Protecting Against Physical and Environmental Threats Sample PDFs can be found in the ISO 27001 toolkit

Do I have to satisfy ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 for ISO 27001 Certification?

If you have a physical location, office or processing facility, then yes.

Can I write polices for ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 myself?

Yes. You can write the policies for ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 yourself. You will need a copy of the standard and approximately 8 hours to do it. It would be advantageous to have a background n information security management systems. Alternatively you can download them the ISO 27001 Physical and Environmental Security Policy

Where can I get templates for ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5?

The main template you need is the Physical and Environmental Security Policy

How hard is ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5?

ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 is not particularly hard as it is mainly common sense. As long as you consult with a legal professional on what you are doing to ensure you are not break any laws or regulations you will be fine. Physical security has been around a long time.

How long will ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 take me?

To write the Physical and Environmental Security Policy will take about 8 hours. To implement the controls will depend on what you re doing and what you are implementing. It can take from a few hours to a few months depending on how many locations you have and the level of security that you are implementing.

How much will ISO 27001 Annex A 7.5 Physical security for offices, rooms and facilities cost me?

The Physical and Environmental Security Policy will cost you 8 hours to write yourself or less than £10 to buy. The cost to implement the controls will depend on what controls you implement and where you buy them.

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Matrix of ISO 27001 controls and attribute values

Control typeInformation
security properties
Cybersecurity
concepts
Operational
capabilities
Security domains
Preventive
Confidentiality
Integrity
Availability
ProtectPhysical_securityProtection
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