Cybersecurity
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Once again in the alphabet soup of compliance certifications, we’d like to point out an oft-overlooked opportunity to stand out among the competition when it comes to the highest levels of compliance and security you can offer your customers. ISO 20000 is a great opportunity to prove to your customers that you hold your service provider to the highest level of accountability in order to keep your customers’ most sensitive information safe and secure.

While there are many opportunities to outsource your compliance needs, and it’s definitely beneficial to do so for the sake of efficiency and cost, did you know that much of your compliance strategy needs to start within your company’s own four walls? Your employees and internal strategies are key players in your quest for the next coveted compliance certification, and ISO 20000 is no different.

Today, we’re going to take a dive into the knitty-gritty of ISO 20000, why you might want to have it and how you can make the dream of passing your audit a reality. Your certification, or the certification of your service provider, is not as far away as it may seem with the right work.

What is ISO 20000?

ISO 20000 is a compliance certification for organizations and service providers who are looking to stand out among the competition when fulfilling service requirements. It outlines specific requirements for service providers when planning, establishing, implementing, operating, monitoring, maintaining and improving their service management systems. The rigorous requirements encompass the design, transition, delivery, and improvement of services in order to fulfil the organization’s service requirements.

ISO 20000 might be of interest to you if you are any of the following:

  • an organization utilizing service providers, requiring assurance that their service requirements will be fulfilled
  • an organization requiring a more consistent approach by all its service providers, whether or not they are located in a supply chain
  • a service provider that would like to demonstrate its capability with the design, transition, delivery, and improvement of services that fulfill service requirements
  • a service provider looking to monitor, measure, and review its service management processes and services in order to meet the highest standard of service for its customers
  • a service provider seeking opportunities to improve the design, transition, delivery, and improvement of services through the effective implementation and operation of their service management system

Why Do you Need It?

ISO 20000 has numerous benefits that organizations would be remiss to ignore. Virtually all businesses will benefit from being ISO 20000-compliant or having a service provider who is. ISO 20000 is currently the only internationally recognized standard for IT service management. Its seen rapid international adoption in recent years, as organizations wish to utilize it as a key differentiator in the marketplace.

Additionally, as both a popular and proven standard, customers and service providers alike can be confident in the efficacy and scalability of the processes. While the list below is by no means exhaustive, it will give you a better picture of what being ISO 20000 compliant will actually mean for you.

Boost Productivity

ISO 20000 gives service providers and organizations a competitive advantage through increased efficiency and effectiveness due to the boost in their IT services’ reliability. With this certification, everybody is on the same page about who is responsible for which tasks and when those tasks are supposed to be completed. This reduces both the number of incidents and increases your team’s ability to address issues if and when they do arise.

Increase Customer Satisfaction

ISO 20000 helps you align IT services with the wider business strategy. You can ensure your company is focused on the IT service management solutions best suited to serving your customers and the needs of the business.

Whether it’s your internal or external customers, with ISO 20000, you will have the ability to deliver improved IT services are more tailored to their needs, all while at the same time better protecting their company, its assets, and easing the minds of its shareholders and directors.

Improve the Bottom Line

Better understand and manage the cost of IT. Plan future financial costs with greater accuracy and clarity. With simpler processes and clear responsibilities, you can operate a leaner, more efficient service. Additionally, we know that the cost of a data breach in 2020 averaged $3.86 million, according to an IBM study, so upping your IT security measures will save you from what could be a devastating financial loss.

Create a Culture of Continual Improvement

The business environment does not sit still, particularly in our age of digital and technological innovation. Ensuring your organization is always improving processes in reaction to customer feedback is not just a nice-to-have; it’s essential for a company’s longevity. And this also extends to improvements identified internally, changing technology, and developing business norms.

ISO 20000 creates the solid framework of best practice that helps support innovation. Change in your organization can be handled more adeptly and with greater speed, meaning you reduce internal and external risk levels and are more likely to meet your organizational objectives.

Get a Leg Up on the Competition

Because ISO 20000 compliance ensures more effective and efficient delivery of your IT services, you can provide your organization and your customers with tangible examples of advantages over your competitors. For example, you can reduce the incidence of IT issues and respond to them faster if they do occur, freeing up more of your time for strategic IT development in your organization. We all know that time spent putting out fires could be spent innovating, and with a shiny ISO 20000 certification, you can now use that time to get closer and closer to your organization’s goals for development.

The Road to an ISO 20000 Certification

Now that you’re convinced you need to be meeting ISO 20000 compliance standards, let’s talk about how you can get there. It may seem like a long and arduous process, but there are several ways you can offload that burden from your staff, or at least implement policies and trainings that can make these standards second nature for your team.

Acing your ISO 20000 Audit

Contrary to popular belief, audits don’t have to be nerve-wracking for your organization. The key to a successful audit is preparation. If you do your due diligence and adjust your IT strategy to reflect the ISO standards in advance of your audit, you can be fairly certain of your outcome. You may want to consider hiring an internal auditor to help identify areas that require improvement. Keep in mind that your internal auditor cannot be the one who conducts your official audit. The official audit must be conducted externally. By hiring or appointing one of your IT security specialists as an internal auditor, you can catch potential pitfalls before they become a real issue that could harm your organization. 

Invest in Compliance as a Service

For some organizations, hiring or appointing an internal auditor may not be a reality. Either there’s no room to hire someone new or there is no effective way to shuffle existing responsibilities so a current team member can take on the role. This is where Compliance as a Service (CaaS) comes into play. Offloading your compliance burden onto a provider that employs a team of industry experts can make your audit process a breeze.

CaaS is a great option because it offers your organization expert assistance that keeps you up to date on the latest and greatest compliance regulations. A solid CaaS provider is constantly evaluating compliance requirements and annually renews all relevant certifications. This combination of expert engineers and security methods can help your company reach and maintain compliance faster. Additionally, a CaaS provider will take on the liability associated with compliance methods, so you don’t have to. Ultimately, saving you time and money.

 Employee Engagement

Your employees can be your biggest asset and also your biggest risk. If you go into your audit with high levels of insider threats, whether malicious or accidental, your audit will not go as smoothly as you would have hoped. Implementing regular continuing trainings will help your employees quickly recognize risks that arise as they alter your IT landscape while completing their day-to-day tasks. By training your team members regularly, you reduce the risk of vulnerabilities being created without being protected.

When you get your employees involved in audit preparation, they will glean a better understanding and appreciation for the process and the result. Often, employees view an audit as a tool management uses to find mistakes in employee performance. Be aware of this and talk about it as an improvement tool when discussing the audit and make sure your employees are at the table when discussing improvements, rather than having recommendations passed down. This will improve your policy adoption rate and help employees feel invested and engaged in the outcome of your audit.

 Don’t Stop Reviewing ISO 20000 Standards

As the only internationally recognized standard of IT system management, ISO 20000 gives you the gift of trackable progress. You can compare your organization’s processes and activities against the standards and easily identify and implement necessary improvements and enhancements. And, because an independent certification body audits your company, both your organization and your customers can be sure you’re meeting the required compliance standards.

Don’t wait for an audit to think about whether or not your organization meets or surpasses the standards for compliance. This should be at the forefront of your IT security strategy, as the standards guaranteed by an ISO 20000 certification will protect your business from internal and external threat actors. Make this a regular action item whenever your security team reviews their strategy and look for ways you can weave these standards into educational material for the rest of your team members.

See if You Can Inherit Controls

Be on the lookout for ways you can leverage your cloud provider to get you closer to your ISO 20000 certification. If you have a multi-cloud or multi-site environment, you are only as strong as your weakest site. If your cloud or colocation provider does not boast an ISO 20000 certification, you may want to ask why they do not have one and start shopping for another provider. If all your organization’s IT infrastructure is not protected to ISO’s standards, you will likely end your audit in disappointment rather than victory.

The good news is that if your cloud or colocation provider does have an ISO 20000-1 certification, you will be able to inherit those standards and controls for the infrastructure they house for your organization. In other words, if you are completely hosted in one provider’s cloud and they have ISO 20000, your IT infrastructure is compliant. If you have a multi-cloud or multi-site environment, if your off-premises data is protected to ISO 20000 standards, you really only have to worry about ramping up your on-site infrastructure.

Seeking an ISO 20000-Compliant Service Provider? LightEdge Has You Covered.

Consistency in IT governance between you and your cloud provider can be difficult to find and maintain. LightEdge’s ISO 20000-1 certification demonstrates our ongoing commitment to excellence within IT service management. Partnering with an ISO 20000-1 certified cloud provider, like LightEdge, ensures your IT infrastructure or cloud hosting is managed consistently with a globally recognized standard of excellence. Our ISO 20000-1 certification requires evidence-based benchmarks, so you can be confident in our commitment to serving you.

We’re here to help you defend your company from both internal and external threat actors. LightEdge specializes in high security hosting and compliance for all organizations. Our expertise is especially valuable to those with sensitive data, such as the healthcare and financial industries.

LightEdge is committed to keeping your data safe, secure, and compliant. LightEdge offers a comprehensive product portfolio to ensure complete protection and uninterrupted performance of IT operations and mission-critical systems in the event of a disaster.

Redundancy is built into each of our data centers in Des Moines, Kansas CityOmaha, Austin and Raleigh. Each of our LightEdge facilities strive to deliver more than traditional data centers. We have created true Hybrid Solution Centers designed to offer a complete portfolio of high speed, secure, redundant, local cloud services and managed gateways to public clouds through our hardened facilities.

Want to learn more about LightEdge’s safe, secure, and compliant services? Contact one of our technical experts to get started or to schedule your private tour of any of our data center facilities. We have disaster recoverycolocation and business continuity experts standing by to answer any of your questions.

 


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director of compliance
Michael Hannan

Michael has eleven years of information systems, IT, consulting, and compliance experience. His expertise includes identifying and implementing general IT systems, applications, and business controls in conjunction with external compliance audits.

Michael is currently the Director of Compliance at LightEdge, helping to establish, maintain and, enforce the information security policies and procedures that keep LightEdge customers protected at all times.

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