What is Statement of Applicability ISO 27001?

by Sneha Naskar

The Statement of Applicability (SoA) is a crucial document within the framework of ISO 27001, an internationally recognized standard for Information Security Management Systems (ISMS). It plays a central role in the implementation and certification process of ISO 27001 compliance. Let's delve into what the Statement of Applicability entails.

The Statement of Applicability is essentially a comprehensive inventory of controls and their status within an organization's ISMS. It is a key component of the ISO 27001 documentation set, which includes policies, procedures, and guidelines for managing information security risks effectively.

The primary purpose of the SoA is to demonstrate how an organization has addressed the specific security requirements outlined in Annex A of ISO 27001. Annex A is a catalog of 114 security controls and objectives, organized into 14 categories, ranging from information security policies to asset management, access control, and incident response. Not all controls in Annex A are necessarily applicable to every organization, which is where the SoA comes into play.

The Statement of Applicability (SoA) in ISO 27001

Here's how the SoA is typically structured:

  • Control Identification: The document starts by identifying each control from Annex A, providing a clear reference.
  • Control Status: For each control, the organization must indicate its status. Controls can fall into three categories: "Applicable," "Not Applicable," or "Applicable with Justification."
  • Rationale: For controls marked as "Applicable with Justification," a justification is provided. This explanation outlines why the control is relevant to the organization and how it's being addressed.
  • Control Implementation Details: The SoA should also contain information on how each applicable control is being implemented. This includes details on policies, procedures, technical measures, and other safeguards in place to meet the control objectives.
  • Control Owner: Assigning responsibility is crucial. Each control should have a designated control owner who is responsible for its implementation and maintenance.
  • Review and Update: The SoA is not a static document. It must be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect changes in the organization's security posture.

The Statement of Applicability serves several vital purposes:

  • Risk Assessment: It aids in the identification and assessment of information security risks by determining which controls are relevant and how they are being managed.
  • Transparency: It provides transparency to auditors and stakeholders, demonstrating the organization's commitment to information security.
  • Decision-Making: It helps in informed decision-making regarding the implementation of security controls and allocation of resources.
  • Continuous Improvement: By regularly reviewing and updating the SoA, organizations can continually improve their ISMS.
  • Certification: It is a mandatory document for ISO 27001 certification audits. Without an accurate and up-to-date SoA, certification may be challenging to achieve.

In conclusion, the Statement of Applicability is a critical document within the ISO 27001 framework, enabling organizations to tailor their information security controls to their specific needs while demonstrating compliance with the standard's requirements. It is a dynamic document that evolves as the organization's security posture changes, helping ensure the ongoing effectiveness of the ISMS.

ISO 27001