The Ultimate Guide To ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 Communication

ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 Communication Essential Guide

In this article we lay bare ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 Communication. Exposing the insider trade secrets, giving you the templates that will save you hours of your life and showing you exactly what you need to do to satisfy it for ISO 27001 certification.

What is ISO 27001 Clause 7.4?

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.

ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 Definition

The ISO 27001 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
e) the processes by which communication shall be effected.

ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 Communication

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.

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.

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.

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 here: https://hightable.io/product/iso-27001-templates-toolkit/

ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 example?

An example of ISO 27001 Clause 7.4 can be found here: https://hightable.io/product/iso-27001-templates-toolkit/

Download a copy of an ISO 27001 communication plan template?

The communication plan template for ISO 27001 can be downloaded here: https://hightable.io/product/communication-plan/

Is there an example of an ISO 27001 communication plan?

Yes, you can download an example of an ISO 27001 communication plan here: https://hightable.io/product/communication-plan/

ISO 27001 Certification Requirements

See Also

Reference

ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security Management

ISO 27001 Strategy Session
ISO 27001 ISO 27001 Toolkit
ISO 27001 Policy Bundle

ISO 27001 Templates Toolkit: Business Edition

ISO 27001 Policy Templates: Professional Edition

Stuart Barker

About the Author

Stuart Barker

Stuart is an ISO 27001 Consultant and author of the ISO 27001 Templates Toolkit. Over 20 years he has helped hundreds of organisations with the ISO 27001 standard and getting them ISO 27001 certification with a 100% success rate.

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