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information security management system (ISMS)

An information security management system (ISMS) is a set of policies and procedures for systematically managing an organization's sensitive data. The goal of an ISMS is to minimize risk and ensure business continuity by pro-actively limiting the impact of a security breach. 

An ISMS typically addresses employee behavior and processes as well as data and technology. It can be targeted towards a particular type of data, such as customer data, or it can be implemented in a comprehensive way that becomes part of the company's culture. 

ISO 27001 is a specification for creating an ISMS. It does not mandate specific actions, but includes suggestions for documentation, internal audits, continual improvement, and corrective and preventive action.

This was last updated in January 2011

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