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July 2005

Perspectives: Lessons learned in BS 7799 certification

Earning the BS 7799 certification forces enterprises to get organized. Government regulations are forcing enterprises to develop repeatable, auditable security programs. Many security and risk managers are leaning on accepted standards to build umbrella security programs that encompass numerous best practices, demonstrate security, show repeatable processes for compliance and continual improvement, and better organize security efforts and budgets. My organization, the Bank of Montreal (BMO), is the first Canadian company to receive security certification under BS 7799, the British standard for security and the basis of ISO 17799. The ISO standard doesn't have a certification component, but, as we discovered, BS 7799 Part 2 provides a good framework for organizing security activities and maintaining regulatory compliance. Here are some of the lessons we learned during our certification process: Take the training. The BS 7799 certification bodies offer courses on attaining and maintaining certification—they're well worth the time....

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