Implementing ISO 27001:2022 Annex A.18 – Compliance

We started the ISO 27001:2022 series with the promise of explaining how the 14 categories of controls can be implemented.

Today we end the series with ISO 27001:2022 Annex A.18, “Compliance”, which addresses the importance of ensuring that organizations comply with relevant laws, regulations, contractual agreements, and other requirements related to information security. This annex focuses on ensuring that the organization identifies and adheres to all applicable legal, statutory, regulatory, and contractual requirements regarding information security and the requirements of the ISMS itself.

Understanding the Importance of Compliance

Annex A.18 is divided into several controls designed to help organizations manage and demonstrate compliance with various information security requirements.

These controls aim to prevent breaches of legal, statutory, regulatory, or contractual obligations related to information security and the security requirements of the organization.

Compliance with legal, regulatory, and contractual requirements is essential for organizations to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information assets and mitigate legal and regulatory risks.

Annex A.18 emphasizes several key aspects:

  • Legal and Regulatory Requirements: Identifying and understanding applicable laws, regulations, and industry standards related to information security.
  • Contractual Obligations: Ensuring compliance with contractual agreements, service level agreements (SLAs), and data protection agreements with customers, partners, and suppliers.
  • Risk Management: Assessing and mitigating legal and regulatory risks associated with non-compliance, including financial penalties, legal liabilities, and damage to reputation.

Key Controls in Annex A.18:

  • A.18.1.1 Identification of Applicable Legislation and Contractual Requirements: Identify all relevant requirements that the organization must comply with.
  • A.18.1.2 Intellectual Property Rights (IPR): Ensure protection of IPR, covering software, information content, and patents.
  • A.18.1.3 Protection of Records: Securely manage records in accordance with legal, regulatory, and contractual requirements.
  • A.18.1.4 Privacy and Protection of Personally Identifiable Information: Ensure the protection of personal information as per privacy laws and other requirements.
  • A.18.1.5 Regulation of Cryptographic Controls: Use cryptographic controls as required by legislation, regulations, and agreements.

Practical Implementation of Annex A.18

Legal and Regulatory Compliance Assessment

Practical Examples

  1. Regulatory Mapping: Identify and map relevant legal and regulatory requirements, such as data protection laws (e.g., GDPR, CCPA), industry standards (e.g., PCI DSS, HIPAA), and sector-specific regulations (e.g., SOX for financial services).
  2. Compliance Assessment: Conduct compliance assessments to evaluate the organization’s adherence to legal and regulatory requirements, including data protection principles, security controls, and breach notification obligations.

Contractual Compliance Management

Practical Examples

  1. Contract Review: Review contractual agreements, SLAs, and data processing agreements to identify information security requirements, confidentiality obligations, data protection clauses, and compliance obligations.
  2. Compliance Monitoring: Monitor compliance with contractual agreements by tracking performance metrics, service levels, and adherence to contractual terms and conditions.

Risk Management and Compliance Monitoring

Practical Examples

  1. Risk Assessment: Assess legal and regulatory risks associated with non-compliance, including financial penalties, legal liabilities, and reputational damage, and implement measures to mitigate these risks.
  2. Compliance Monitoring: Establish processes for ongoing compliance monitoring, including periodic reviews, audits, and assessments to ensure adherence to legal, regulatory, and contractual requirements.

We know Compliance is hard, so here are some more examples:

More examples

  1. Compliance Framework Development
    • Example: A multinational corporation needs to comply with the GDPR for its operations in Europe and the CCPA for those in California.
    • Implementation: Establish a compliance framework that identifies all applicable legal and regulatory requirements for each region of operation. Maintain a database of these requirements and update it as laws evolve.
  2. Training and Awareness
    • Example: An organization handling sensitive patient data under HIPAA must ensure that all employees are aware of the requirements.
    • Implementation: Develop ongoing training programs and workshops to educate employees about their responsibilities under relevant laws and how these impact their day-to-day operations.
  3. Auditing and Monitoring
    • Example: A financial services firm regularly audits its data handling practices to ensure compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
    • Implementation: Implement a schedule for regular audits, both internal and external, to assess compliance with legal and contractual obligations. Use automated tools to monitor compliance continuously.
  4. Handling Intellectual Property
    • Example: A software development company uses proprietary code that needs to be protected under copyright laws.
    • Implementation: Implement IPR controls, including secure storage, access controls, and regular audits of IPR usage and adherence to licensing agreements.
  5. Privacy Management
    • Example: A retail company collects customer data and needs to comply with privacy laws in multiple jurisdictions.
    • Implementation: Deploy a privacy management solution that helps in classifying, managing, and protecting personal data in compliance with all applicable privacy laws.

Auditing Annex A.18 Implementation

The audit process for ISO 27001:2022’s Annex A.18 involves verifying that the organization has effectively implemented the controls to meet compliance requirements. The audit typically includes:

  1. Document Review: Review policies, procedures, compliance records, training records, audit reports, and any actions taken on previous audit findings.
  2. Interviews: Discuss with management and staff to assess their understanding and implementation of compliance controls.
  3. Observation: Observe processes and controls in operation to verify that they function as intended.
  4. Compliance Verification: Check compliance with specific legal, regulatory, and contractual requirements through evidence collection and analysis.
  5. Report Findings: Provide a detailed report of the audit findings with recommendations for improvement if any non-conformities are found.


Effective implementation of ISO 27001:2022 Annex A.18 ensures that an organization not only meets its legal and contractual obligations but also demonstrates a commitment to comprehensive information security management.

By establishing a structured compliance program and conducting thorough audits, organizations can maintain high standards of information security and build trust with stakeholders.

The post Implementing ISO 27001:2022 Annex A.18 – Compliance first appeared on Sorin Mustaca on Cybersecurity.

Understanding ISO 27001:2022 Annex A.12 – Operations Security

We started the ISO 27001:2022 series with the promise of explaining how the 14 categories of controls can be implemented.

Today we address ISO 27001:2022 Annex A.12, “Operations Security”, which focuses on ensuring secure operations of information systems and assets. This annex provides guidelines for implementing controls to manage day-to-day operations, protect against security incidents, and maintain the integrity, availability, and confidentiality of information assets.


Importance of Operations Security

Operations security is critical for maintaining the effectiveness and resilience of information systems and assets. Annex A.12 underscores this importance by:

  1. Risk Management: Implementing operational controls helps identify, assess, and mitigate risks to information assets, ensuring business continuity and protecting against security incidents.
  2. Incident Response: Establishing incident response procedures enables organizations to detect, respond to, and recover from security incidents effectively, minimizing the impact on operations and data integrity.
  3. Change Management: Managing changes to information systems and assets in a controlled manner helps prevent unauthorized modifications, configuration errors, and disruptions to services.

Implementing Annex A.12 in Practice

To effectively implement Annex A.12, organizations can follow these practical steps:

  1. Risk Assessment: Conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential threats, vulnerabilities, and risks to information assets. Assess the likelihood and impact of identified risks to prioritize mitigation efforts.Example: Perform a comprehensive risk assessment of IT systems, networks, and applications to identify vulnerabilities, such as outdated software or misconfigured settings, that could expose assets to security threats.
  2. Incident Management: Establish incident response procedures to define roles, responsibilities, and actions to be taken in the event of a security incident. Develop incident response plans, escalation procedures, and communication protocols.Example: Develop an incident response playbook outlining steps to be followed in case of a security breach, including incident detection, containment, eradication, recovery, and post-incident analysis.
  3. Monitoring and Logging: Implement monitoring and logging mechanisms to track user activities, detect anomalies, and identify potential security incidents. Collect and analyze log data from information systems, networks, and security devices.Example: Deploy security information and event management (SIEM) systems to aggregate and correlate log data from various sources, enabling real-time monitoring, alerting, and analysis of security events.
  4. Change Control: Establish change management procedures to control and document changes to information systems, applications, configurations, and infrastructure. Define change request processes, approval workflows, and testing requirements.Example: Implement a change management system to track and manage changes to IT assets, including software updates, patches, configuration changes, and infrastructure modifications, following a structured change control process.
  5. Backup and Recovery: Implement backup and recovery procedures to protect against data loss, corruption, and unauthorized access. Regularly back up critical data and systems, and test backup restoration procedures.Example: Configure automated backup schedules for critical databases, files, and systems, ensuring that backup copies are stored securely and can be restored in the event of data loss or system failure.
  6. Protection against malware: Implement detection, prevention and recovery controls to protect against malware, combined with appropriate user awareness training.

Audit of Compliance with Annex A.12

Auditing compliance with Annex A.12 is essential for evaluating an organization’s adherence to operational security requirements. Here’s how the audit process typically unfolds:

  1. Audit Preparation: Gather documentation related to operational security policies, procedures, and controls. Appoint an audit team to facilitate the audit process.
  2. Audit Planning: Define the audit scope, objectives, and criteria. Develop an audit plan outlining activities, timelines, and responsibilities of auditors and auditees.
  3. On-site Audit: Conduct on-site visits to assess implementation of operational security controls. Review documentation, interview personnel, and observe operational practices. Use checklists or assessment tools to evaluate compliance.
  4. Audit Findings: Analyze findings and identify areas of non-compliance or improvement opportunities. Document observations, including strengths and weaknesses in operational security implementation.
  5. Reporting: Prepare an audit report summarizing findings, conclusions, and recommendations for corrective actions. Share with senior management and stakeholders for review and action.
  6. Follow-up: Address audit findings by implementing corrective actions and improvements as recommended. Conduct follow-up audits to verify effectiveness of corrective measures and ensure ongoing compliance.


ISO 27001:2022 Annex A.12 emphasizes the importance of operational security in maintaining the effectiveness, resilience, and integrity of information systems and assets. By implementing robust controls and procedures for risk management, incident response, change control, and backup and recovery, organizations can mitigate risks, protect against security incidents, and ensure business continuity. Regular audits help assess compliance with Annex A.12 requirements and drive continuous improvement in operational security practices.

The post Understanding ISO 27001:2022 Annex A.12 – Operations Security first appeared on Sorin Mustaca on Cybersecurity.