What is an Information Security Management System (ISMS)?

ISMS systems are used for risk management in the area of information security according to ISO 27001 - What are the advantages of an ISMS?



Jochen Möller
Jochen Möller

In an increasingly digitalised and networked world, the protection of sensitive information is becoming more and more important. Companies face the challenge of protecting their data from unauthorised access and misuse. An effective security concept is therefore essential. This is where the Information Security Management System comes into play.

An information security management system is a comprehensive framework that helps companies protect their information effectively. It defines a systematic approach to information security and lays down clear rules and procedures. Through an information security management system, security risks are identified, assessed and appropriate measures are taken to minimise or even eliminate these risks.

An important aspect of the ISMS is compliance with legal requirements and standards, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or ISO/IEC 27001. Companies that implement an ISMS solution show their customers and partners that they take the security of their information seriously and that they are trustworthy.

Another advantage of an information security management system is the continuous improvement of information security. By regularly reviewing, assessing and adapting security measures, companies can continuously raise their security standards and arm themselves against new threats.

Companies that want to implement an information security management system have several options. They can draw on existing standards and frameworks, such as ISO/IEC 27001, which defines requirements for an ISMS solution and specifies the measures that must be taken to ensure information security. Alternatively, companies can also develop customised solutions tailored to their specific needs.

The ISMS offers numerous benefits for companies, including:

  • The protection of sensitive information from unauthorised access.
  • Minimising security risks
  • Compliance with legal requirements and standards
  • Increasing customer confidence and reputation
  • Continuously improving information security

In our article on corporate business continuity management, we go into more detail about the importance of emergency management and how it can be linked to an ISMS. After all, effective emergency management is an important building block for protecting information.

In today's digital landscape, it is essential that companies take steps to keep their information secure. An Information Security Management System provides a structured approach to this and enables companies to continuously improve their information security.

The advantages of an ISMS in practice

The implementation of an Information Security Management System offers companies numerous concrete advantages. Some of the most important advantages are explained below:

protection of sensitive data

An ISMS helps companies protect their sensitive information from unauthorised access and misuse. By implementing appropriate security measures, such as access controls, encryption technologies and regular security audits, the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data can be ensured.

minimising security risks

An ISMS solution enables the systematic identification and assessment of security risks. By conducting risk analyses and defining appropriate control measures, companies can identify potential vulnerabilities and take appropriate precautions to minimise or even eliminate these risks.

compliance with legal requirements and standards

Compliance with legal requirements and standards, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or ISO/IEC 27001, is of great importance to companies. An ISMS solution provides the framework to meet all relevant regulations and conduct regular compliance audits. Companies that implement an ISMS solution and can prove that they comply with the applicable regulations gain the trust of their customers and business partners.

Increasing customer trust and reputation

An ISMS solution sends a strong signal to customers and business partners that a company takes security and information protection seriously. By implementing ISMS software, companies can strengthen their image and gain the trust of their customers. This can have a positive long-term impact on customer loyalty and the company's reputation.

Continuous improvement of information security

An ISMS solution is based on the concept of continuous improvement. By regularly reviewing, assessing and updating security measures, companies can continuously raise their information security standards. This enables them to keep pace with ever-changing threats and risks and to continuously improve their security practices.

An information security management system is therefore an important component of a holistic security concept for companies. It provides clear rules and procedures to effectively protect information and minimise security risks. Companies that implement an ISMS solution can ensure that they take the protection of sensitive information seriously and present themselves in a trustworthy manner.

Implementing an ISMS solution: steps to success

Implementing an Information Security Management System can be challenging for companies, but with the right approach and planning, it can be done successfully. Here are some basic steps that companies should consider:

determine the scope

The first step in implementing an ISMS solution is to determine the scope of the system. Companies should decide what areas and processes they want to cover and what goals they want to achieve. A clearly defined scope makes it easier to plan and implement the next steps.

conduct a risk analysis

A thorough risk analysis is crucial to identify the security risks a company faces. This involves analysing and assessing potential threats and vulnerabilities. Based on the results of the risk analysis, appropriate control measures can be developed and implemented.

develop security policies and procedures

Based on the identified risks and the company's own requirements, the company should develop security policies and procedures. These documents provide clear instructions and regulations for handling information and implementing security measures. They serve as a guide for employees and ensure uniform standards in the company. 4.

train and sensitise employees

Employees play a crucial role in information security. It is important that they are aware of the risks and their individual responsibilities. Training and awareness-raising activities should be conducted regularly to ensure that employees understand and follow security policies.

Implement security controls and measures.

Based on the security policies and procedures developed, appropriate technical as well as organisational security controls should be implemented. This may include the use of firewalls, encryption technologies, access controls and regular security audits. Controls should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that they can withstand current threats.

review and improve the information security management system.

An ISMS solution should be regularly reviewed and evaluated to ensure that it is working effectively and meets current requirements. Internal and external audits can be used to verify compliance with security standards. Feedback from employees as well as changes in the company and the environment should be used to continuously improve the ISMS solution.

Implementing an information security management system requires time, resources and commitment from all staff involved. However, by carefully planning and implementing the above steps, companies can strengthen information security and improve the trustworthiness of their business.

An information security management system is an important tool for protecting information from unauthorised access and minimising security risks. If you would like more information on this topic or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. As a software development company with experience in the field of information security, we are happy to help you.

ISMS and emergency management: a successful combination

Effective emergency management is an important component of a comprehensive information security management system. It enables companies to respond appropriately to unforeseen events and emergencies and maintain their business continuity.

The importance of emergency management

Emergencies can take many forms, from natural disasters to technical malfunctions to cyber attacks. Regardless of the type of emergency, it is important that businesses are prepared. Effective emergency management involves developing and implementing emergency plans that provide clear instructions and procedures for dealing with emergencies.

Emergency management involves several activities, including identifying possible emergency scenarios, assessing risks, setting recovery goals, organising resources and training employees. By planning ahead, companies can effectively respond to emergencies, shorten their response time and minimise their business impact.

The link to the ISMS

An information security management system can support and complement emergency management. By ensuring the protection and security of information, the ISMS helps reduce the risks of emergencies. It identifies and assesses potential security vulnerabilities, implements control measures and establishes clear security policies.

The processes and methods of the Information Security Management System can be integrated into emergency management to ensure a holistic approach to security. For example, the Information Security Management System can support the identification of risks and the development of contingency plans by considering the relevant security aspects. It can also be used for ongoing monitoring and review of the effectiveness of emergency measures.

The link between ISMS and emergency management helps companies to ensure business continuity and minimise the impact of emergencies. It enables a coordinated and structured response to crisis situations so that companies can quickly restore their services and processes.


An information security management system is an essential tool to ensure information security in companies. It provides clear rules, procedures and control measures to protect sensitive information and minimise security risks. An ISMS solution can also support emergency management and enable an effective response to unforeseen events and emergencies.

Certification of ISMS: ISO 27001

ISO 27001 is an internationally recognised standard for information security management systems. ISO 27001 certification confirms that a company has implemented appropriate security measures to protect sensitive information and minimise security risks.

What is ISO 27001?

ISO 27001 defines the requirements for an ISMS and provides a framework for organisations to develop, implement, monitor and continuously improve a comprehensive information security management system.

The standard is based on the "Plan-Do-Check-Act" principle and consists of several steps:

  1. Planning: In this step, the company defines the scope of the ISMS and conducts a risk analysis to identify potential security risks.
  2. Implementation: The company develops and implements security policies, processes and controls to address the risks and ensure information security.
  3. Monitoring and review: The ISMS is regularly reviewed to ensure that it continues to function effectively and meet requirements. Internal and external audits are conducted to verify compliance with ISO 27001 requirements.
  4. Continuous improvement: Based on the results of monitoring and review, actions are taken to continuously improve the ISMS and strengthen the protection of information.

Benefits of ISO 27001 certification

ISO 27001 certification offers numerous benefits to organisations:

  • Recognition and trust: ISO 27001 certification is internationally recognised and demonstrates to customers, business partners and other stakeholders that the company takes information security seriously.
  • Compliance with legal requirements: The certification helps companies to comply with applicable legal requirements and data protection regulations, such as the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • Risk minimisation: By implementing appropriate security measures and constantly monitoring and reviewing information security, the company can minimise risks and take preventive measures.
  • Continuous improvement: ISO 27001 promotes a culture of continuous improvement in information security. The company is motivated to take action to continuously raise security standards and keep pace with new threats.
  • Competitive advantage: ISO 27001 certification can give companies a competitive advantage as more and more customers look to ensure that their data is secure and managed by trusted companies.

The importance of ISO 27001 for businesses

Information security is critical for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. By implementing an Information Security Management System in accordance with the requirements of ISO 27001, companies can ensure that they have taken appropriate measures to protect their information.

ISO 27001 certification provides a strong signal to customers that the company takes the security of their information seriously and that it has a robust ISMS in place. It confirms that the company is meeting its legal and regulatory obligations and that it is able to deal with the ever-changing threats to information security.

If you are interested in ISO 27001 certification or would like more information about it, we can help you as an experienced software development company with expertise in information security. Feel free to contact us to discuss how we can support you.

Risk Assessment and Management in an Information Security Management System

Risk assessment and management play a critical role in the implementation of an information security management system. An effective risk assessment and management process enables organisations to identify and assess potential security risks and take appropriate action to address those risks. Here are the steps to perform risk assessment and management in an ISMS:

  1. Context and objective: To conduct a risk assessment, it is important to understand the context of the organisation and the objectives of the ISMS. Determining the scope of the risk assessment as well as the acceptance criteria is critical.
  2. Risk identification: Identify potential risks to which the company is exposed. This can be done by analysing business processes, systems, infrastructure and other relevant aspects of the company. It is important to consider all possible threats, vulnerabilities and impacts.
  3. Risk assessment: Evaluate the identified risks based on two factors: the probability of occurrence and the potential impact. A risk assessment method should be established to categorise and prioritise the risks. Risk matrices are often used for this purpose.
  4. Risk assessment: Based on the risk assessment, the company can determine the importance of the identified risks to the business. This makes it possible to determine which risks need to be addressed and in what order this should be done.
  5. Risk treatment: Development and implementation of appropriate measures to deal with the identified risks. This may include implementing security controls, technical solutions, changes in business processes or transferring the risk to a third party.
  6. Risk communication: It is important to communicate the results of the risk assessment and the actions taken to relevant stakeholders. This usually includes management, staff and, where appropriate, third parties involved in the risk management process.
  7. Risk monitoring and assessment: Risks should be continuously monitored and regularly reassessed. Changes in the IT landscape, new threats or changes in business processes can lead to new risks or influence existing risks.

Risk assessment and management are iterative processes that should be carried out regularly to ensure that the ISMS remains effective and can withstand current threats. By continuously monitoring and improving risk assessment and risk management, the company can continuously improve its security standards and protect its information.


What do the BSI Standards 200-3 (200-1, 200-2)mean and how do they play a role together with the Information Security Management System?

BSI Standards 200-1, 200-2 and 200-3 are part of the IT-Grundschutz Compendium of the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI). These standards provide comprehensive guidelines for information security and can be used in conjunction with an information security management system.

  • BSI Standard 200-1: The IT-Grundschutz-Kompendium, Part 1, contains general principles and fundamentals for information security. It provides a guideline for the structure and organisation of ISMS and recommends the implementation of a comprehensive IT-Grundschutz management.

An ISMS based on BSI Standard 200-1 takes into account the basic security principles and provides a structured approach for implementing security measures.

  • BSI Standard 200-2: The IT-Grundschutz Compendium, Part 2, deals with the methodology for implementing IT-Grundschutz. It provides a framework for identifying and assessing protection needs, planning and implementing security measures, and reviewing and updating the level of protection.

An ISMS that takes BSI Standard 200-2 into account can serve as a basis for the structured implementation of security measures. It supports the identification and assessment of risks, the selection of suitable protective measures and the development of implementation plans.

  • BSI Standard 200-3: BSI Standard 200-3 is specific to crisis management in information security. It provides guidelines and recommendations for the development and implementation of a comprehensive crisis management system related to information security.

An ISMS that takes BSI Standard 200-3 into account integrates crisis management into its structure and processes. It establishes clear procedures and action plans to respond appropriately to security incidents and crisis situations and maintain business continuity.

By incorporating BSI standards 200-1, 200-2 and 200-3 into an ISMS, a company can ensure that it is applying best practices and information security guidelines. These standards provide a framework for developing, implementing and improving a comprehensive security management system that includes both preventive and reactive measures. The goal is to ensure information security, minimise risks and maintain business continuity in crisis situations.

The impact of the ISMS on business continuity

An Information Security Management System has a direct impact on a company's business continuity. It helps companies maintain business continuity, even in times of disruption, crisis or emergency. Here are some ways the ISMS contributes to business continuity:

  1. Continuity planning: the ISMS includes the development of business continuity plans that ensure the company is prepared for various scenarios and emergencies. These plans include clear instructions, procedures and action plans to maintain or quickly restore business operations in such situations. In this way, the ISMS helps minimise the impact of disruptions.
  2. Risk management: The ISMS involves identifying, assessing and addressing risks. This allows potential threats and vulnerabilities to be identified early and appropriate action taken to reduce their impact on business continuity. Risk management is an essential part of a company's business continuity strategy.
  3. Emergency management: The ISMS integrates emergency management into the overall approach to information security. It defines clear procedures and action plans for emergencies and crises to ensure that the company responds appropriately in such situations and restores business operations as quickly as possible. Emergency management helps minimise downtime and maintain business continuity.
  4. Recovery strategies: The ISMS requires the development of recovery strategies for various aspects of the business, such as IT systems, communications, infrastructure, etc. By implementing appropriate recovery strategies and solutions, the company can quickly restore business operations and minimise disruption.
  5. Monitoring and auditing: The ISMS includes continuous monitoring and auditing of information security measures. This allows potential weaknesses or inadequacies to be identified at an early stage and appropriate corrective action to be taken. Regular monitoring and auditing helps to maintain business continuity and ensure that information is protected.

The ISMS ensures that companies can maintain business continuity in times of disruption, crisis or emergency. By integrating continuity planning, risk management, contingency management and recovery strategies, the ISMS helps to minimise downtime and ensure business activities continue on a continuous basis. This strengthens the resilience of the company and builds trust with customers and business partners.

Common challenges in implementing an ISMS

When implementing an Information Security Management System, companies may encounter various challenges. Here are some common challenges and possible solutions to address them:

  1. Lack of senior management support: implementing an ISMS requires senior management support and commitment. It can be a challenge to create the necessary awareness and priority for this. One possible solution is to educate management about the benefits and value of an ISMS and to focus on the company's security goals and risks.
  2. Lack of resources: Implementing and maintaining an ISMS requires time, money and skilled staff. It can be a challenge to provide the necessary resources. One possible solution is to prioritise resources, establish clear responsibilities and bring in internal or external expertise to ensure that all phases of the ISMS are adequately covered.
  3. Complexity and scope of the ISMS: An ISMS can be complex in terms of its structure, requirements and scope. Organisations face the challenge of understanding and applying all the necessary elements. One possible solution is to familiarise themselves with the relevant standards and best practices, use expert consultancy services and plan a step-by-step implementation.
  4. Staff resistance and lack of awareness: Employees may show resistance to change or may not be sufficiently informed about the importance and relevance of the ISMS. One possible solution is to conduct targeted training and awareness-raising activities to promote awareness and acceptance of the ISMS. Employees should be involved in the implementation process and have the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback.
  5. Continuous improvement: Continuous improvement of the ISMS can be challenging as the security landscape is constantly evolving. It is important that the ISMS is regularly reviewed, updated and adapted to changing threats. One possible solution is to establish a process for regularly reviewing and updating the ISMS and ensuring that feedback from audits, incidents and staff is incorporated into the improvement process.

Implementing an ISMS can be a complex task, but with strategic planning, appropriate resources and the support of senior management, these challenges can be successfully overcome. If possible, it is also worthwhile to benefit from the experience and knowledge of external experts in the field of information security.

The top-down approach

The top-down approach is a widely used method for introducing an information security management system. In this approach, the implementation of the ISMS is initiated and supported by senior management. Here are some steps that are considered in the top-down approach:

  1. Senior management support: senior management support and commitment are critical to the success of ISMS implementation. Senior management should view the ISMS as a strategic priority and clearly communicate the need for and benefits of information security to the organisation.
  2. Establish goals and policies: Management should work with subject matter experts and the security team to establish clear goals for the ISMS. These goals should be aligned with the entire organisation and with strategic business objectives.
  3. Resource allocation: Management must ensure that sufficient resources are allocated to implement an ISMS solution. This includes financial resources, qualified staff, time resources and technologies.
  4. Delegate responsibilities: Management should delegate responsibilities for the ISMS at executive level. An Information Security Officer (ISO) or equivalent team should be appointed to coordinate the implementation and management of the ISMS.
  5. Communication and awareness: Management should communicate the importance of information security to all employees. It is important to promote a culture of information security and to sensitise employees to their role and responsibilities in the ISMS.
  6. Monitoring and reporting: Management should regularly monitor and review the progress of the ISMS. Appropriate reporting mechanisms should be established to monitor the status of the ISMS and possible areas for improvement.
  7. Support training and education activities: Management should support training and awareness-raising activities to ensure that all employees have the necessary knowledge and skills to comply with the security policies of the ISMS.

The top-down approach ensures strong leadership and overarching relevance of information security in the organisation. It enables a coherent and structured implementation of the ISMS and helps to strengthen the information security culture throughout the company. By involving top management, resources and support are provided to successfully implement and sustain the ISMS in the long term.

Introduction of an ISMS

Introducing an Information Security Management System is an important step in strengthening information security in an organisation. Here are some steps that should be considered when introducing an ISMS:

  1. Analysis of the initial situation: a comprehensive analysis of the current information security practices and risks in the company is the first step. This includes identifying threats, vulnerabilities and compliance requirements.
  2. Define the scope: Define the scope of the ISMS and determine which areas of the company are affected. This may include specific business units, systems, processes or geographical locations.
  3. Establish objectives and policies: Determine the objectives of the ISMS, based on the identified risks and the company's goals. Develop security policies that establish clear instructions and procedures for information security.
  4. Risk assessment and management: Conduct a comprehensive risk assessment to identify and evaluate the risks to which the company is exposed. Develop appropriate control measures to address and minimise these risks.
  5. Implement security measures: Implement the defined security measures to ensure the identification, protection, detection, response and recovery of information. This may include technical and organisational measures.
  6. Train and sensitise employees: Train your employees in the principles of information security and sensitise them to the risks and their individual responsibilities. This can take the form of training, internal communication campaigns or awareness programmes.
  7. Monitoring and continuous improvement: Establish mechanisms to monitor the effectiveness of the ISMS and to regularly review the security measures. Conduct regular audits and use feedback and improvement mechanisms to continuously improve the ISMS.
  8. Certification: An optional measure is the certification of the ISMS according to international standards such as ISO 27001. Certification shows that the company works according to recognised best practices and complies with information security standards.

When introducing an ISMS, it is important to consider the company's individual requirements, risks and compliance requirements. It is advisable to use proven methods and frameworks such as ISO 27001. Working with an experienced service provider or consulting firm can also be beneficial to ensure a smooth implementation.

How can EcholoN help with its solution?

EcholoN can help organisations strengthen their information security by implementing a holistic Information Security Management System.

  • EcholoN offers a specially configured process schema that helps companies implement and manage their ISMS. The software includes functions for risk assessment, control measures management, audit trail tracking, documentation and compliance management. This simplifies and unifies the implementation process.
  • Customisation to business needs: EcholoN understands that every company is unique and has different requirements and risks. Therefore, EcholoN offers flexible solutions that can be adapted to the specific needs and requirements of the company. The ISMS can be customised to cover the company's individual risk profiles, business processes and compliance requirements.
  • Emergency management integration: EcholoN also offers an integrated emergency management solution. By linking the ISMS with emergency management, synergies are created to respond appropriately to different situations and emergencies. This facilitates business continuity and minimises the impact of emergencies on the company.
  • Expertise and advice: EcholoN has expertise and experience in the field of information security and ISMS. EcholoN's professionals can help companies plan, implement and monitor an effective ISMS. They offer consulting services to help companies identify and assess risks, develop appropriate security policies and measures, and prepare for certification audits.
  • Continuous improvement: EcholoN supports companies in continuously improving their ISMS. By regularly reviewing, monitoring and updating the ISMS, companies can continuously raise their security standards and keep pace with evolving threats.
  • Provision of all relevant assets and their relationships from the EcholoN Configuration Management System (CMDB). This way, all components of the IT infrastructure for IT security, data protection, etc. are managed centrally in one software.

With its holistic solution and expertise, EcholoN can help companies strengthen their information security, minimise risks and meet compliance requirements. EcholoN offers software and consulting services to help companies implement and continuously improve their ISMS.