QM.UK Delivering ISO Standards Since 2001

QMUK 17yrs Today – Growing Business by Growing Businesses! & thanks to all the businesses we have worked & grown with over the last 17 years –

Orion (Computer Consumables Distributor) who we guided through ISO 9001 & 14001 in 2004, bought in 2005 by Westcoast

Wstore (IT Reseller) who we guided through ISO 9001 & 14001 in 2009 – bought by Misco/Symantex in 2009 who we also helped through ISO 14001 in the same year

Optevia (Microsoft Cloud based CRM Systems) who we guided through ISO 9001 & 27001 in 2014 – bought by IBM Global Business Services Division 2016

Blue Chip (Managed IT Services & Cloud Hosting) who we guided through ISO 9001 & 27001 in 2014 – bought out by GCI in 2017 who we also helped through ISO 9001, 27001 & 14001 in 2013

EPS Research (Clinical Data Analysis) who we guided through ISO 9001 & 27001 in 2014 also – bought out by IQVIA in 2017

Current Clients: MLL Telecom Grown from 55 to 130 staff in just over 2 years, CTS (Combined Tech Serv) Grown 30% in 2 years, Wilkinson Eyre Grown 50%, secured Battersea Power St Project and with the challenges of GDPR The Telecom Marketing Company continue to grow & prosper….

Find out how we can work with you & help YOUR business Grow

GDPR for the 25th May, ISO 27001 for Life?

With the many GDPR offerings & associated fear mongering out there, businesses would be forgiven for forgetting there has always been a legal requirement on the use and protection of Personal Data – The Data Protection Act. In fact, the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) has been tracking down & levying fines on many shady companies that have abused personal data for many years. Nobody is above the law, even Humberside Police have been fined £140 000 & the Royal Mail Group £12 000:

5th April 2018 – Humberside Police has been fined £130,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office after disks containing a video interview of an alleged rape victim went missing.

6th April 2008 Royal Mail Group Limited has been fined £12,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office after sending more than 300,000 nuisance emails. On two dates in July 2017, the company sent emails to 327,014 people who had already opted out of receiving direct marketing.

ICO Actions Taken

The introduction of GDPR while protecting individuals & clarifying the requirements for business in my opinion has best served to re-focus on the need to protect information, but don’t lose focus – While the loss or mishandling of Personal Information can lead to one of the above fines, the careless handling of Business-Critical Information could affect the loss of your business.

Long term I would recommend you incorporate all of your business in an Information Security Management System. Information Security isn’t just for the 25th May it is for the whole year and your entire Business. Use ISO 27001 guidance to set up an Information Security System that protects your whole business & ISO 27001 Certification to demonstrate Due Diligence & give potential customers that warm cosy feeling –

FURTHER INFORMATION

Evaluate if ISO 9001 or ISO 27001 will Profit Your Business

It is essential you make an informed decision on whether ISO 9001, ISO 27001 or any of the other standards will help or profit your company before embarking on the Certification process, particularly small businesses that may invest time and money but gain no resulting benefit or return on investment.

The 2 main reasons for seeking ISO Certifications are simple – Business Improvement or access to New Business. You should consider the reasons for pursuing Certification below prior to any decision –

Business Improvement

• Your business is expanding but you feel your processes and systems may not be robust enough to cope

• Your business processes have been static for many years and you want a tool to drive improvements

• There is obvious scope for rationalising processes & increasing efficiency and profitability

• You fear your IT Systems & operations may not be secure enough to protect your business & the critical information it holds (ISO 27001)

Access to New Business

• Your business is growing and the competitors you wish to compete with hold Certifications

• You wish to access Public Sector work or Frameworks

• Certification requirements are more frequently appearing on tenders

• Potential or current customers are asking if you have Certifications

• You are a new or small business and want to verify your credentials with Certification to compete with more established companies

• You fear the effect of Brexit and want to maintain the maximum competitive edge

Look at the processes of achieving certification considering the costs and man-hours involved. We would obviously advise consultancy help, as although this has a cost attached, it will greatly reduce the number of in-house hours consumed by personnel inexperienced in the certification process. Obtain more than one consultancy quote and ensure you determine the cost of internal man-hours in addition to the consultancy fees.

On establishing the ultimate cost, consider if it will produce a return on your investment. For the smaller businesses or new starts it is worth speaking to potential customers & directly asking – will Certification improve our chances of doing new business?

Get a free & brief initial review & honest quote from us that will include our costs, UKAS Certification Fees & the estimated man-hours your people will have to invest, and then GO COMPARE……

Quotes by email correspondence – no Sales Pitches ENQUIRIES

Is SEO Compatible with ISO 9001?

“Quality” being defined as the ability to deliver to pre-defined requirements – can an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) company ever really deliver quality, with so many variables & the output being so unpredictable?

At QM.UK we have tried 3 different SEO companies over the years; all at least guaranteeing they would improve our website positioning on the major search engines. Alas none delivered, but actually dropped our site in the ratings.

So can an SEO Company ever achieve ISO 9001 Certification – YES, it can….

I often advise that ISO 9001 is certification of your Management System, not your product or service. Certification to the standard confirms your Management System has achieved a standard that can ensure consistency of process & quality of output. If the requirement is a Ford Fiesta you consistently deliver a Ford Fiesta, same if it is a Rolls Royce. Trouble with SEO is, even with a system in place, the output still varies!

I therefore have had to change my view that ISO 9001 Certifies a company’s ability to deliver to pre-defined requirements – it can only “maximize likelihood” of a pre-defined output.

For an SEO company to achieve ISO 9001 it would have to demonstrate consistency of processes and that it has the necessary tools in place to measure against planned results and make improvements where possible. It is similar for Telemarketing firms for whom we have delivered ISO 9001 UKAS Certifications.

So personally I would still recommend selecting an SEO company that has ISO 9001 Certification, as it does demonstrate in a sector open to such change and variables – they at least have certified systems to measure & maximize performance, increasing the “Likelihood” of your desired outcome – ROI.

Or just type SEO into Google and see how well they have optimized their own website 🙂

QM.UK

“I know a company who has ISO 9001, and they are totally useless”

So just how much of a Benchmark is it – How Credible is ISO Certification?

ISO 9001

ISO 9001 is the Quality Standard but as such the most open to controversy. This is because there is often confusion as to what “Quality” actually is. If one company produced a Ford Focus & another a Ferrari, most would regard the later as having produced the highest Quality Product. However “Quality” is defined as the ability to deliver to pre-defined requirements. Therefore if the requirements were a roomy car that did 40 mpg & could be retailed at less than £20k, the production of a Ferrari would be a very poor Quality Output.

It should also be noted that ISO 9001 is certification of your Management System, not your product or service. Certification to the standard confirms your Management System has achieved a standard that can ensure consistency of product or service. What level a company sets itself to deliver is up to them and in fact Ford and Ferrari could operate to the very same Quality Management System – they just produce to different specifications. So before you right off an ISO 9001 company you have to ask, are they consistently delivering to their (or your) specification – not everybody can afford a Ferrari.

ISO 27001

The Information Security Standard. This is the most current & in demand as Cyber Attacks become more frequent & companies become more aware of their vulnerabilities and the need to secure services from companies that can safeguard their information. This standard is the most reliable measure of a company’s credentials, as Information Security is more measurable and less subjective than Quality.

There are 2 main parts to ISO 27001. A company has to identify all of its Information Assets, Risk Assess & Control. The other main part of ISO 27001 is a detailed list of “Control Objectives” (requirements) for which, if applicable – you must put a control in place. This makes 27001 the most measurable & auditable of standards, therefore Certification does ensure a high level of Information Security.

ISO 14001

The Environmental Standard. This is a reliable measure that a company has systematic control over any possible environmental impact and has plans in place for continual improvement. A large part of this is similar to 27001 in that a company has to identify all of its Environmental Aspects rather than Information Assets, but still Risk Assesses & Controls. Environmental Objectives must also be established to where possible, continually improve environmental performance.

If you feel a company claiming to be holding one of these standards is poorly performing, don’t take it on face value. Check it is a credible Certification, or that it is a certification at all. If it is a UKAS Approved Certification Body ask for their name or take it off a displayed logo and contact them asking if the company is actually ISO Registered with them. If it is in the UK and not a UKAS Certification, it’s best not taking it as verification of anything……

grant@qmuk.co.uk

So What Is ISO 9001, ISO 27001, 14001 etc?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations.

Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and as of 2013 worked in 164 countries.

There is only one National Standards Body recognised from each country and they in turn must be recognised by their Government. UKAS is the only ISO recognised Body in the UK.

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the national accreditation body for the United Kingdom, appointed by government, to assess organizations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services. There are many UKAS Approved ISO Certification Bodies, the most commonly recognized being BSI & Lloyds, but there is a full list on their website

Gaining UKAS Certification to an ISO Standard demonstrates a company or organization has achieved and operates to a certain standard, been verified by an independent & recognized body. Ongoing audits by the Certification Body evidences they consistently meet these standards.

ISO 9001 is the internationally recognized Quality Standard. It defines the elements of organization required by a company to systematically deliver quality products, services or advice.

ISO 9001 Certification is verification that you systematically deliver quality services or products. It is a benchmark for potential customers & helps you review and fine tune your own operations ongoing.

ISO 27001 is the internationally recognized Information Security Management Standard. It defines the elements of control required by a company to protect all information it holds.

In an ever increasing age of security awareness & media exposure of careless information handling, the protection of data is critical. Sectors such as finance, health, public and IT have become particularly sensitive. Hence, certification to the standard is increasingly winning both confidence & new contracts.

ISO 14001 is the internationally recognized Environmental Standard. It defines the elements of organization required by a company to control the impact of their activities, products or services on the environment.

14001 Certification demonstrates to an increasingly aware public & business community – a commitment to minimize your impact on their environment. It gives confidence that customer’s environmental credentials & good names won’t be tarnished by their suppliers operations

In general companies & organisations that can demonstrate their operational standards are UKAS certified, gain more confidence in the Market Place.

ISO 9001, ISO 14001 & ISO 27001 – UKAS ISO Assessors or ISO Consultants?

ISO 9001, ISO 14001 & ISO 27001 – UKAS ISO Assessors or ISO Consultants?

There still seems to be general confusion between the Roles of the “Consultant” & the Assessor”.

It is like sitting a GCSE. Teachers give you the tools and prepare you for the exam, independent & impartial examiners mark your papers. Achieve the correct mark you pass. The independent marking is key to assuring standards.

For ISO 9001, ISO 27001 & ISO 14001 the consultant prepares you for a Certification Audit. This can involve documenting your compliant system, training, completing Internal Audits & general prep – The Assessor then independently & impartially performs the final audit to assess if you meet the particular standard. If so, you are certified.

So Why The Confusion?

Sometimes people like to maintain a Black Art in order to force you down a particular path. There are other clear reasons, these being just a few:

• Non UKAS accredited Certification Bodies offer both the system & the certificate, so as a 1 Stop Shop there is no difference between Consultant & Assessor. This means there is no independent assessment & it certainly isn’t impartial – hence not recognised by the informed

• Some UKAS Approved Certification Bodies offer training courses so will be unlikely to push you towards consultants as that could take away your need for a training course

• Some UKAS Approved Certification Bodies advise they are “Friendly” or “Approachable” and do not advocate the use of a consultant – often because they fear a consultant would refer you to a cheaper UKAS Approved Certification Body & they would lose the work

We would advise whatever route you chose get a few quotes & ensure they are quoting like for like. The 3 routes we would advise:

• You already have the internal expertise to fully prepare for the UKAS Assessment – get at least 3 quotes from independent UKAS Approved Certification Bodies, listed on UKAS website

• You think you are almost there but not 100% – either get a consultant to do a one-of Gap Analysis Audit, or select a training course (preferably from a UKAS Approved Cert Body, as it will give some comfort to the standard of the course).

• You feel you need solid guidance as you are not familiar with the standards or have no experience in implementing them (or perhaps just don’t have the time) – select a consultant & be sure to take references. Get more than 1 quote but ensure they are quoting like for like (& don’t forget the cost of the UKAS fees or your consultants attendance on those days).

If the final option is for you, you know where we are – enquiries@qmuk.co.uk

ISO 9001 & ISO 27001 in 60 Days – UKAS!

Our first 2 clients operating in the Banking & Software Sectors engaging our fast track – UKAS ISO 9001 & ISO 27001 Certification in 60 Days, completed this week –

Redline Application Services:

Provides software and services to lenders to support the full end to end credit lifecycle from origination, through scoring, decision making, document production or e-signing, into account management and on to debt collection.

http://www.redlineapplicationservices.com

Reference for our Fast-Track Process can be obtained from Steve Toms (Managing Director) @ stevetoms@redlineapplicationservices.com

Bonafidee:

Specialises in real time, anti-fraud technology solutions which can be accessed instantly via the web or provided as an integrated solution.

http://www.bonafidee.com

Reference for our Fast-Track Process can be obtained from Francis Lang (Head of Development) @ francislang@redlineapplicationservices.com

Part of a small group, both companies proceeded simultaneously, which enabled us to fully utilise consultancy days & minimise costs. The full process from initial visit on 29th October, until conclusion of successful Assessment by a UKAS Approved Certification Body on 15th December took 49 days.

Proceeding at such pace took full commitment & dedication by Senior Personnel & wouldn’t have had the positive outcome otherwise. Without that commitment we wouldn’t advise such pace….

grant@qmuk.co.uk

What’s Trending in ISO

ISO 9001, ISO 27001 & ISO 14001

(Based solely on the communications we receive)

Currently ISO 27001 is still growing & by far the most popular of the standards. With the ever increasing publicity & awareness surrounding Cyber Attacks & now the potential of Terrorist Cyber Attacks it is no wonder. Add to this the much publicised information losses from Big Names such as Morissons, Home Depot, eBay, T Mobile, Experian etc & the trend looks to continue.

ISO 9001 & ISO 14001 seem to be a little on hold as people hesitate over whether to go for the old or the newly released standards. As most UKAS Approved Cert Bodies will not be able to certify against the new standards until mid 2016 this is set to continue a little longer.

For ISO 14001 it has been quiet for a while. Have our environmental consciences dampened as we concentrate on Information Security concerns? Or is the current 27001 more commercially attractive?

Companies currently trending towards certification are from the IT, NHS, Banking & Insurance Sectors….

www.qmuk.co.uk

Cyber Essentials or ISO 27001?

The official announcement is:

“From 1 October 2014, government requires all suppliers bidding for certain sensitive and personal information handling contracts to be certified against the Cyber Essentials scheme.”

In reality this is primarily for Central Government suppliers, i.e. Dept Heath, Transport, Education, Defence, etc but the unofficial word is that this will be rolled out to local government i.e. councils, hospitals, police, etc over the next few years.

Cyber Essentials covers 5 main areas of vulnerability:

1. Boundary Firewalls and internet Gateways

2. Secure Configuration

3. Access Control

4. Malware Protection

5. Patch Management

Which include the types of controls found in the ISO27001 SOA:

A.13.1 Network Security Management

A.12.1 Operational Procedures and Responsibilities

A.9.2 User Access Management

A.12.2 Protection from Malware

A.12.6 Technical Vulnerability Management

Therefore people with ISO27001 are part way there already, the main difference is that Cyber Essentials in prescriptive and not optional so there is no opt out for any of the questions in Cyber Essentials, and the requirement for control by the 34 questions is much tighter in Cyber Essentials. For example, all software must be licensed and supported – so any PC’s that still use windows XP cannot be included in the scope and would need updating/replacing (this is just one example).

The issues facing the take-up of the standard are:

Lack of awareness of the Standard

Lack of trained practitioners (only 100 or so in the UK)

The trained Practitioners may not be IT savvy enough to implement effectively

Big Headache for large business due to a lack of automated roll out tools to cope with the prescriptive requirements for each device within scope, causing resistance to implementation

Implementation systems/methodology is new and not as efficient as it needs to be yet due to the learning curve.

We do however now have one of our ISO 27001 Consultants fully trained & qualified as a Cyber Essentials Practitioner.

ISO 27001 will continue to be the most recognised & accepted Information Security Standard. However if you do deal in or wish to enter the Gov & Public Sector arena, we would advise you start looking at this.