Businesses have long been helped to operate more effectively and efficiently by standardisation practices, and their adherence with international technical standards has certainly been a key part of that.
You may be aware of the existence of technical standards like those developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and your organisation might have gone as far as working towards compliance with certain standards.
But are you knowledgeable about the various types of ISO standards that exist, and the aspects of your own organisation’s operations they could help improve?
Below, we have explored some of the essentials of ISO standards, including why your organisation needs to take them seriously, and which ones your company should know about.
What are ISO standards and why are they important?
When you see mentions of ‘ISO standards’, this is a reference to the international standards that are developed by the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO.
These industry standards are a distillation of best practice in relation to a particular aspect of an organisation’s operations – or to put it in ISO’s own words, “think of them as a formula that describes the best way of doing something.”
ISO standards constitute a collection of best practices that organisations and businesses across the globe can look to achieve compliance with, in order to attain better performance and results across a broad range of activities.
Such activities could include the manufacture of a product, the management of a process, the delivery of a service, or the supply of materials – they are all covered by ISO standards.
And achieving compliance with those standards won’t merely help make your organisation’s day-to-day operations better – it could also help you win trust from potential customers and clients, thereby supporting your business’s growth.
What are the relevant ISO standards for GRC?
GRC stands for governance, risk, and compliance; it refers to the processes and procedures that an organisation might put in place to aid its efforts to achieve business objectives, tackle uncertainty, and conduct itself with integrity.
When you are seeking to implement and optimise an effective GRC management system within your organisation, there are certain ISO standards that could guide and assist you in this aim, such as:
- ISO/IEC 20000 (service management)
- ISO 22301 (security and resilience)
- ISO/IEC 27001 (information security management)
- ISO/IEC 27005 (security techniques)
- ISO 31000 (risk management)
- ISO/IEC 38500 (information technology)
It’s worth bearing in mind that it’s also possible for organisations to pursue a hybrid management system, in which the concepts of multiple standards and frameworks are combined to create the best-suited all-round solution for the given organisation. This approach can also help reduce the duplication of efforts.
What types of ISO standards exist?
ISO has developed tens of thousands of standards since its formation in 1947. However, some of the ISO standards that you might take particular interest in for your organisation today include:
ISO 9000 – Quality Management
One of the best-known and most popular ISO standards, the ISO 9000 family of standards is concerned with quality management.
So, if your organisation is looking for a standard that will aid its efforts to improve the quality of its products and services, you will have good reason to take an interest in standards such as ISO 9000, which describes the fundamental concepts and principles of quality management, and ISO 9001, which specifies the requirements for an organisation’s quality management systems.
ISO 22000 – Food Safety Management
Organisations that are directly or indirectly involved in the food chain have good reason to be anxious to take every possible step to manage the safety of their products. After all, if you are such an organisation, your success will depend largely on your ability to contribute positively to your customers’ wellbeing, and unsafe food is a serious threat to this.
ISO 22000 helps to tackle that threat, by setting out the requirements for a food safety management system (FSMS). When you wish to know how your business can best plan, implement, operate, maintain, and update such a system, while demonstrating compliance with applicable statutory and regulatory food safety requirements, this is the standard you should be taking an interest in.
ISO/IEC 27000 – Information Security Management Systems
Ensuring the security of information assets should be an uppermost priority for almost any organisation active today. Sure enough, the ISO/IEC 27000 family of standards can be instrumental in your efforts to keep assets such as intellectual property and financial information out of the wrong hands.
ISO/IEC 27000:2018, for example, provides an overview of information security management systems (ISMS). All types and sizes of organisation – ranging from commercial enterprises to government entities – can derive value from this standard.
ISO 31000 – Risk Management
The responsible and effective management of risks at your organisation will always be crucial. If you are interested in facilitating safe business operations, keeping abreast of opportunities and threats to your organisation, and suitably allocating resources for risk treatment, this is a standard that you should be aware of.
Organisations that achieve compliance with ISO 31000 will be better placed than their competitors to safeguard their operational continuity and professional reputation, while ensuring positive environmental and safety outcomes.
How can software help manage ISO standard implementation?
The task of achieving – and maintaining – compliance with just one or two of the aforementioned standards might seem an intimidating one for your organisation. However, it can be made much more manageable with the use of the right software platform.
Such a platform is available in the form of our own cloud-based Vision Pro software, which provides a strong overview of an organisation’s auditing and compliance activities via an easy-to-use dashboard. With features and perks ranging from convenient audit templates to automatic email alerts for overdue or non-compliant audits, our software will enable you to take full control of your business’s ISO standard implementation.
Give our team a call today and we will be pleased to answer any questions you might have about Vision Pro, in addition to arranging an online demo so that you can directly experience its performance and functionality.