Delivering expert cyber security solutions to small and medium-sized businesses

Learn More

Understanding How Much It Cost To Maintain ISO 27001 Compliance

The unprecedented increase in digital transactions has led to a corresponding rise in cybercriminal activities. Such an evolving threat landscape has paved the way for sophisticated attack methodologies; thus, a resilient security posture is necessary. An ISO 27001 compliant IT environment ensures that an organization is equipped with a robust Information Security Management System (ISMS) and an efficient information governance structure to maintain resilience.

ISO 27001 Certification is an internationally recognized standard that increases business opportunities for organizations while providing the organization with the necessary knowledge to safeguard the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of vital information. Every organization is unique with its type of data and a variety of ways to protect them. Any organization considering ISO 27001 Compliance needs a better understanding of the associated costs and the main factors influencing the process.

The implementation of ISO 27001 requires a governance structure, risk management program, policies and procedures, and other technical requirements. Therefore, to successfully obtain and maintain ISO 27001 certification demands various audits. Your internal audit would determine the organization’s readiness, and a certification audit would then evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of the ISMS, resulting in the actual certification.

The ISO 27001 and its companion, ISO 27002, provides a complete guide for building, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an ISMS. It provides organizations with a competitive advantage and an excellent framework for protecting their information assets from threat actors. As such, two annual audits are required for an organization to maintain its ISO 27001 ISMS certification. In this article, we shall look at the main factors that influence the cost of implementing and maintaining ISO 27001 compliance and the actual costs of attaining and remaining compliant.


The actual cost of implementing ISO 27001 depends on the perception of risk and how much of it an organization is prepared to accept. However, the cost of internal and external resources, the cost of implementation, and the certification cost are the three basic prices to be considered.

Maintaining an ISO 27001-certified Information Security Management System in today’s ever-changing cyber threat landscape demands an annual audit. Typically, the cost of maintaining an ISO 27001 certification is divided into a three-year cycle, which includes an internal audit by an organization or outsourced to a third party, surveillance, or recertification audits performed by a certification body.

Below are the approximate certification and surveillance audit costs for an organization with about 50 employees within a single location:

  • The average cost for a certification audit in the first year is approximately $25,000
  • The cost for a surveillance audit in the second year is approximately $12,000
  • The cost for a surveillance audit in the third year is approximately $12,000
  • The cost for a recertification audit in the fourth year is approximately $25,000
  • The cost for a surveillance audit in the fifth year is approximately $12,000
  • The cost for a surveillance audit in the sixth year is approximately $12,000


There are several steps an organization can take to obtain any certification, and ISO is no different. However, some organizations choose to bypass specific elementary measures due to the maturity of their ISMS. However, small to midsize businesses (SMBs) are advised to undergo all of the preliminary steps to properly assess the maturity and resilience of their ISMS and mitigate any gaps.

Let’s face it: most companies are reasonably secure, technically. However, the challenge lies in developing and implementing the necessary framework documentation and artifacts along with the policies and procedures required to obtain and maintain an ISO 27001 certification. Therefore, about 85% – 90% of all non-conformities identified during an ISO audit are levied against the framework, not the technical security implementation.

To better understand the factors that influence the costs of obtaining and maintaining an ISO 27001 certificate, it is imperative to determine the posture of your ISMS. Therefore, Goldsky experts developed a seven-step method to help organizations effectively manage their ISMS and prepare to pass any audit. Our seven-step method includes:

  1. Determining ISMS boundaries
  2. Establishing leadership buy-in
  3. Developing an implementation plan
  4. Providing support for implementation
  5. Executing operations
  6. Evaluating performance
  7. Recommending improvements


An ISO 27001 Certification confirms that an organization has followed the ISO 27001 guidelines and implemented an Information Security Management System following best practices. This certification provides proof that an organization has implemented a robust and effective ISMS. A successful ISO 27001 certification requires an organization to understand the cost and other factors associated with implementing and maintaining an ISO 27001compliant ISMS. An organization should be fully prepared to go through the entire certification process; otherwise, money and resources are expended without anything to show for it.  Being ISO compliant and ISO Certified is like attending all courses in college without taking the exams or obtaining a diploma. You know, but nothing to show for the effort. How do you prove it to a prospective employer?

At GoldSky, we help organizations to establish and continuously improve their information security management systems. Our security experts offer guidance to organizations seeking to understand how their security practices, including IT environment, align with the ISO certification framework – this includes assessing and developing corporate roles and responsibilities, policies, procedures, standards, and guidelines essential to obtaining an ISO 27001 certification. We have the experience and the expertise to prepare and guide your organization through the expectations of a certification body and enhancing your overall security posture.

CONTACT US FOR A FREE CONSULTATIONGetting started in security can be challenging. Let us help ease the burden of security and compliance with our small-mid sized business services and solutions.