ISO 27001, GDPR Compliance and Encryption: What you need to Know

A Guide to Understanding the Relationship between Encryption, Compliance, and Security Requirements

Written by Vaultree Team

May, 12 2023 in Encryption

What is ISO 27001? 

Published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in partnership with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), ISO 27001 is a set of international standards to help organisations handle information security. These standards are based on three fundamental principles: 




These principles set the requirements for an Information Security Management System (ISMS), which is a systematic approach to managing sensitive company information so that it remains secure. The standard outlines a framework of policies and procedures that include all legal, physical, and technical controls involved in an organisation's information risk management processes.

Compliance with ISO 27001 ensures the implementation of a comprehensive information security management system that aligns with international best practices. It represents a commitment to protecting sensitive data and helps mitigate the risk and/or the consequences of potential security breaches. 


ISO 21001 and GDPR: 

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) strongly recommends recognised security standards like ISO 27001 to ensure that an organisation follows international best practices to manage its people, processes and technology. 

Article 32 (Security of processing) states that "the controller and the processor shall implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk, including inter alia as appropriate:


  1. the pseudonymisation and encryption of personal data;
  2. the ability to ensure the ongoing confidentiality, integrity, availability and resilience of processing systems and services;
  3. the ability to restore the availability and access to personal data in a timely manner in the event of a physical or technical incident;
  4. a process for regularly testing, assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of technical and organisational measures for ensuring the security of the processing". 

Encrypting data is one of the GDPR’s recommendations to ensure a high level of organisational security, confidentiality, integrity, availability, resilience of processing systems and services, regular testing, and timely response to security incidents. 


Why is encryption relevant for ISO 27001 compliance? 

Encrypting data is also emphasised by ISO 27001 as a critical control to ensure the principles of confidentiality, integrity and availability of information. If data is available but unusable, integrity is compromised. If data is protected, but inaccessible, availability is compromised. Encrypting data ensures that organisations remain compliant and protected, even if sensitive data falls into the wrong hands. 


What are the encryption requirements? 

Organisations need to follow specific requirements to meet ISO 27001 standards. Here are some requirements related to data encryption: 

  1. Access control (Clause 5): Organisations must control access to information assets by ensuring that only authorised personnel have access to them. Data encryption is a recommended control to protect information from unauthorised access.
  2. Cryptographic controls (Clause 10): Organisations must implement cryptographic controls to protect confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Cryptographic controls can include encryption algorithms to protect sensitive information in storage and during transmission.
  3. Communications security (Clause 13): Organisations must protect information when transmitted over public or untrusted networks. Data encryption is one of the recommended controls to safeguard the confidentiality and integrity of data during transmission.
  4. Protection against malware (Clause 14): Organisations must protect their systems and data from malware attacks. Encryption can help protect data from malware attacks by making it more difficult for attackers to read the data they steal.
  5. Incident management (Clause 16): Organisations must have an incident management process to handle security incidents effectively. Encryption can help minimise the impact of security incidents by ensuring that the stolen or lost data remains protected and cannot be accessed by unauthorised persons.


How Vaultree can help organisations comply with ISO 27001: Your Data Always Encrypted. Always Usable. Always Secure.

With Vaultree's Software Development Kit (SDK), you have full control of your data. Our Fully Functional Data-In-Use Encryption ensures that sensitive information remains protected at all stages, significantly contributing to an organisation's efforts to achieve ISO 27001 certification. The best part is that there are no changes required to your code or impact on the server environment. Here's how Vaultree can help you with ISO 27001 compliance: 

  1. Consistent implementation of cryptographic controls: Our solution guarantees that encryption is applied consistently across various applications and databases, maintaining uniformity in data protection practices and demonstrating adherence to ISO 27001 requirements.
  2. Enhanced data protection: Vaultree ensures that sensitive information remains encrypted when stored, transmitted, and processed within applications. It's an extra layer of protection, strengthening the organisation's ISMS and contributing to ISO 27001 compliance.
  3. Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements: Demonstrates the usage of appropriate cryptographic controls to meet legal, regulatory, and contractual obligations related to data protection and privacy.
  4. Risk management: Vaultree's SDK effectively mitigates the consequences of unauthorised access to sensitive data, ultimately contributing to risk management efforts.
  5. Auditing and monitoring: Our features for auditing and monitoring encryption activities help organisations to track and report on the effectiveness of their cryptographic controls, which is extremely useful information during ISO 27001 audits and assessments.


In summary, Vaultree's Fully Functional Data-In-Use Encryption can help organisations strengthen their information security posture, manage risks, and demonstrate compliance with ISO 27001's cryptographic control requirements. 

Say goodbye to security and performance tradeoffs and embrace a future where your sensitive information is protected, trust is built with customers and stakeholders, and ISO 27001 certification is achieved. Contact our team today and step into an encrypted (and compliant!) future.

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