ISO 27001: How LeadScale Ensures Data Security and Transparency
Written by Nicholas Ng on September 5, 2023
In my time at LeadScale, ISO27001 has been central to our company, our identity and our mission in the industry. We consider our reputation and ethical approach our USP (Unique Selling Point) in a widely unregulated industry. This sets us apart and drives our competitiveness against much larger competitors, helping us win business and profitability.
Our core message is transparency, and our ISMS (Information Security Management System) is key in promoting this and holding us accountable to what we preach.
Increased Security Standards
Many articles and sales pitches outline the benefits of ISO27001 in the direct marketing and lead generation industries. They all outline the benefit of implementing a framework of controls and processes that will be an “easy” fix to adhering with legislative obligation and compliance – ensuring the consistent protection of the Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability (CIA) of personal data.
The philosophy of the standard does ensure that a company takes risk-based approach in its operations, urging the organisation to “think before they act” about processing and controlling personal data.
Depending on the context of the company implementing the ISMS, ISO can be simple and easy to keep. However, in industries like advertising and data processing, the controls may require comprehensive detail and strictness. What this means in the context of LeadScale is that the IT and Technology focused controls and methodologies that we implement are of crucial importance. Combining the factors of running a hybrid model for working in conjunction with the nature of the work we conduct, ensures a strict need for a risk-based approach to managing key topics such as;
- The structure of our virtual environment in which we store data.
- Mobile device management.
- Coding standards and principles.
- Secure development of products.
In 2022, Leadscale processed over 40 million records for our clients, internally and on the supply side of the business. With greater volumes of data comes more complexity and other risks – whether reputational, financial, or regulator.
It becomes clear that non-adherence to the controls above exposes LeadScale to significant risks, including data breaches and financial and reputational vulnerabilities.
This is all important, however, the above can be argued to not be the primary benefit of implementing a UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accredited ISMS.
One of the primary benefits of the LeadScale ISMS is its effect on closing a deal by offering comfort to our clients and stakeholders. The contract negotiation process can be complex. Clients have many risks they consider and hold in high regard in how they work. For obvious reasons, they look to ensure that those they work with also safeguard those principles. This is shown by lengthy onboarding processes and airtight vendor security addenda in their commercial contracts.
The benefits ISO brings to this conversation is that the ISMS eases our clients’ concerns. The fact that we deploy 114 controls to ensure data is processed by a legislative compliant framework means that (some) of the unknown factors with working with a company that offers a large set of services focused on the movement and processing of personal data. Which innately comes with a large amount of risk.
UKAS accreditation of our certification provider and their later audits adds weight to this argument. The badge alone may provide ease when deciding to work with a company. Still, some critical thought about what the badge pertains to can highlight that certain certificates are only certifications in the name. The processes behind the badge leave much to be desired to ensure that data is protected and processed lawfully. It is fair to say that not all ISO certificates (and ISMSs) are born equal. Reputation; Accountability – practice what we preach.
Fostering Transparency Through ISO Certification
As mentioned, LeadScale considers transparency and accountability at the core of our identity. We have previously used the “Championing Industry standards” tagline in the demand and lead generation space and have been very active in calling out what we have perceived to be lacking in the industry. ISO gives us a means and opportunity to prove and be accountable to the principles we preach. We are very open in Vendor and Information Security Assessments about the details of our systems and practices, its strengths and its weaknesses.
No company (or person) is without flaws. Still, the very essence of the standard is to Plan, Do, Check, and Act about perceived issues and gaps in a company’s operations. We at LeadScale are always keen to improve and adapt in response to constructive criticism or client requirements. We are always eager to cover any gaps we identify.
Transition to ISO27001:2022
In conclusion, having only recently come off of the success of passing our recertification audit, we are now re-evaluating our policies and processes against the new ISO27001:2022 standard. We note that although we may have considered ourselves a “safe” and “secure” bet compared to the 2013 iteration of the standard, it is 10 years old. Many risks and considerations that are commonplace in our company and industry’s scope now did not exist all those years ago.
We understand that nothing is stagnant, and as the world and industry develop, so must we.
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