Scaling ISO 27001 Audit Procedures for Companies with Multiple Business Lines 

iso 27001 audit multiple business lines

Ensuring information security is necessary and a cornerstone of trust and reliability. Companies certified to ISO 27001 understand this but may need help with the dynamics of ISO 27001 audits as the company grows and evolves. This becomes especially true when different business units are involved.  

Whether you’re a CISO, an IT professional, or a business leader striving for excellence in information security management, we offer valuable insights and practical solutions to the challenges of scaling ISO 27001 audits. 

The Evolution of ISO 27001 Audits in Growing Companies 

As companies grow and evolve, the scope and complexity of ISO 27001 audits undergo significant transformations. Initially, the implementation of ISO 27001 is often driven by specific customer demands or due to a maturity exercise within the company. 

This starting point is typically narrow in scope, focusing on immediate needs and basic compliance requirements. However, as the company progresses and engages with a broader range of customers, the scope of ISO 27001 needs to expand accordingly.  

This expansion is not just about covering more products but often involves including multiple business units under the Information Security Management System (ISMS) umbrella. 

Complexities Arising from Multiple Business Units 

These business units might operate under separate ISMS frameworks or be unified into one system. Regardless of the chosen structure, they almost always share specific processes and control operations. At this juncture, the complexities and inefficiencies in the ISO 27001 audit process begin to surface.    

The challenges become more pronounced as the ISMS expands to cover multiple business units. Auditors and companies alike start to encounter issues like:    

  • The need for collecting duplicate evidence 
  • The redundancy in control testing 
  • Inefficient audit schedules 

Each of these factors contributes to increased resources and time required for audits. A more streamlined and efficient approach is needed to handle the growing audit demands effectively.  

iso 27001 audit best practices

Best Practices for Effective Audit Management 

Effective audit management in expanding ISO 27001 scopes, especially for companies with multiple business units, demands a strategic approach supported by best practices. These practices include:  

  1. Establishing a robust, centralized governance structure. This framework is crucial for maintaining consistent implementation of security policies and procedures across diverse business units. Moreover, it is essential to implement audit processes that are not only scalable but also flexible enough to adapt to the growing size and complexity of the organization. 
  2.  Utilizing GRC tools and organized methods for evidence collection throughout the year, not just during the audit period.  This proactive approach ensures continual and real-time tracking of controls’ operations, significantly reducing the last-minute rush and stress associated with audit preparations. It also leads to more accurate and up-to-date compliance data, aiding in a smoother and more efficient audit process. 
  3.  Providing clarity on roles and responsibilities, especially when there are multiple stakeholders in multiple business units. Everyone in the organization needs to understand who is responsible for what controls and in which business unit.  This clear delineation of responsibilities not only aids in more effective control management but also ensures accountability and ease in evidence gathering during audits.  

Incorporating these best practices into your ISO 27001 audit management strategy allows for a more streamlined, efficient, and effective audit process. It will adapt seamlessly to the growth and evolution of the organization. Scaling ISO 27001 audit procedures for companies with multiple business lines is dynamic and ongoing. It requires a balance between standardized policies and the flexibility to adapt to the unique needs of each business unit.  

The key to success lies in centralized governance, an effectively implemented GRC tool, scalable audit processes, continuous education, and an unwavering commitment to security excellence.  

Are you facing challenges in scaling your ISO 27001 processes? Contact us today to discuss how we can assist in enhancing your information security management and compliance strategies. 


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