ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 Communication – Ultimate Certification Guide

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Introduction

ISO 27001 Communication

In this ultimate guide to ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 Communication you will learn

  • What is ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 
  • How to implement ISO 27001 Clause 7.4

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.

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What is ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 Communication?

The ISO 27001 standard requires an organisation to effectively communicate about Information Security. That feels a bit vague so it goes further. It wants you to set out the what, when, with whom, the process and method of communication and who will do it.

ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 Communication is about planning, documenting and evidence the communications around information security. The ISO 27001 standard for ISO 27001 certification wants you to let people know what you expect, educate them and have processes in place for if things go wrong. It is one of the ISO 27001 controls.

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ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 Definition

The ISO 27001:2022 standard defines clause 7.4 as:

The organisation shall determine the need for internal and external communications relevant to the information security management system including:

a) on what to communicate;
b) when to communicate;
c) with whom to communicate;
d) who shall communicate; and how to communicate
e) the processes by which communication shall be effected.

ISO 27001:2022 Clause 7.4 Communication

What are the ISO 27001:2022 Changes to Clause 7.4?

There are minor changes to ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 in the 2022 update. The changes can be seen as a simplification. It removes who shall communicate and replaces it with how to communicate and it completely removes the need to show the processes by which communication shall be effected.

It is our opinion that keeping who and the process of how is good practice but you can, if you wish, not account for it directly.

ISO 27001 Annex A / ISO 27002 2022 Guidance on Communication

There is further guidance provided in the ISO 27001 Annex A Controls that was revised in 2022 with changes to the ISO 27002 standard and specifically calls out required communications. Let’s take a look at what Annex A says.

ISO 27002 Clause 5.1 Policies for Information Security

Information security policy and topic-specific policies should be defined, approved by management, published, communicated to and acknowledged by relevant personnel and relevant interested parties, and reviewed at planned intervals and if significant changes occur.

ISO 27002 Clause 5.1 Policies for Information Security

Here we see it isn’t enough just to have Information Security Policies but that we must in fact communicate them.

ISO 27002 Clause 5.24 Information security incident management planning and preparation

The organization should plan and prepare for managing information security incidents by defining, establishing and communicating information security incident management processes, roles and responsibilities

ISO 27002 Clause 5.24 Information security incident management planning and preparation

Communicating the incident management process is a key step so that everyone knows what to do if things go wrong. The basics would be to communicate ‘how to report and incident’ and ‘who is responsible for information security’.

ISO 27002 Clause 6.4 Disciplinary Process

A disciplinary process should be formalized and communicated to take actions against personnel and other relevant interested parties who have committed an information security policy violation.

ISO 27002 Clause 6.4 Disciplinary Process

This is usually the function of the HR department and part of good HR practice. HR will have many communication requirements of their own but we are interested for ISO 27001 certification in ensuring that they have communicated the disciplinary process. The disciplinary process must include steps for what happens if staff breach information security.

ISO 27002 Clause 6.5 Responsibilities after termination or change of employment.

Information security responsibilities and duties that remain valid after termination or change of employment should be defined, enforced and communicated to relevant personnel and other interested parties.


ISO 27002 Clause 6.5 Responsibilities after termination or change of employment.

Another function of the HR department as part of the off boarding process. Contracts of employment and contracts of engagement will have clauses related directly to information security which should be re communicated as part of the off boarding process so that everyone is aware of their ongoing responsibilities and obligations.

There are distinct phases in the journey of staff, contracts and third parties. Each of those phases potentially requires a different level of communication. It is possible that one approach will work but the likelihood is you are going to have different communication styles and approaches depending on the ‘who’ and the ‘where’ they are in their journey with you.

ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 Implementation Guide

There are many ways to communicate and to raise and manage awareness and what is right for you will depend on your company culture and the tools available.

Consider the best methods for you that you know get results and where possible retain evidence of your communications.

Emails are great but also consider standup meetings, having presentations at company meetings, perhaps bringing outside resource.

There is no one size fits all answer.

What ever you do record it in your communication plan.

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How To Comply With ISO 27001 Clause 7.4

Time needed: 1 day

How to comply with ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 Communication

  1. Implement a Communication Plan

    Have a communication plan that documents:
    on what you communicated
    when you communicated
    with whom you communicated
    who communicated it
    the processes by which communication took place
    and if possible evidence that you communicated.

  2. During Onboarding of Staff or Third Parties

    Include copies of policies and the employee handbook as part of onboarding. Arrange a dedicated face to face session to explain the information security approach of the business, where the policies are, who is responsible for information security, how to raise a security incident. Cover how their role contributes to information security and what is required of them. Enrol them on the general information security awareness training and basic GDRP / Data Protection training if you use a training tool or do it face to face and get them to sign that they attended and understood.

  3. Throughout the Year

    Plan your communication throughout the year based on risk and business need. As well as the information security and data protection training perhaps people need educating on the risks of home working. Or perhaps on the perils of phishing attacks. The process of communication should be on going. Throughout the year you are going to hold Management Review Meetings that meet the very specific requirements of the ISO 27001 standard and cover a lot of the bases for communicating to senior management.

  4. Annually

    Conduct the general information security awareness training and the general data protection training at least annually. Even it is just a refresher people should formally go through basic training once a year.

  5. On Ending Employment / Engagement

    Ensure that at the end of employment or the end of engagement that you communicate the contractual obligations that are, and will remain, in play in regards to information security.

  6. ISO 27001 Continual Improvement

    Continually update your communication plan to respond to known threats, risks and issues.

How do you demonstrate compliance to ISO 27001 clause 7.4?

Having a communication plan that records what you communicated, when, to whom and the evidence that you did is the main part of showing compliance to the clause.

ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 Templates

ISO 27001 templates are a great way to implement your information security management system. Whilst an ISO 27001 Toolkit can save you up to 30x in consulting fees and allow you to deliver up to 10x faster these individual templates help meet the specific requirements of ISO 27001 clause 7.4

ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 FAQ

What is ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 Communication?

The ISO 27001 standard requires an that the organisation shall determine the need for internal and external communications relevant to the information security management system including:
a) on what to communicate;
b) when to communicate;
c) with whom to communicate;
d) who shall communicate; and
e) the processes by which communication shall be effected.

How do I evidence I meet the requirement of ISO 27001 Clause 7.4?

You evidence compliance to the ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 by having a communication plan that records
a) on what you communicated
b) when you communicated
c) with whom you communicated
d) who communicated it
e) the processes by which communication took place
f) and if possible evidence that you communicated.

Where can I download ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 templates?

You can download ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 templates in the ISO 27001 Toolkit.

ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 example?

An example of ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 can be found in the ISO 27001 Toolkit.

Download a copy of an ISO 27001 communication plan template?

The communication plan template for ISO 27001 can be downloaded here.

Is there an example of an ISO 27001 communication plan?

Yes, you can download an example of an ISO 27001 communication plan here.

ISO 27001 Toolkit Business Edition

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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