ISO 27001:2022 A 5.5 Contact with authorities

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Communication with the appropriate authorities must be kept open at all times. Processes should be put in place to define when and with whom officials should communicate and how identified information security violations will be reported as soon as possible by organisations.Organisations that have been attacked over the internet may compel authorities to take counter-measures. Maintaining these connections may also be required in information security to assist incident management or business continuity and contingency planning operations. Contacts with regulatory authorities are also beneficial in predicting and planning for any changes in the rules or regulations that the organisation must enforce. You can consider to contact with your data protection regulator that is likely mandated in law, utility companies for power and water, health and safety if relevant, fire departments for business continuity and incident management, perhaps your telecoms provider for routing if lines go down.You are going to have to ensure that:

  • you identify and document what authorities apply to you
  • in what circumstances you would contact them
  • how information security incidents should be reported if relevant
  • understand what expectations these authorities have, if any
  • include relevant contact steps in your incident management processes
  • include relevant contact steps in your business continuity and disaster recovery processes
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A 5.5 Contact with authorities

Control

The organization should establish and maintain contact with relevant authorities.

Purpose

To ensure appropriate flow of information takes place with respect to information security between the organization and relevant legal, regulatory and supervisory authorities.

Guidance

The organization should specify when and by whom authorities (e.g. law enforcement, regulatory bodies, supervisory authorities) should be contacted and how identified information security incidents should be reported in a timely manner. Contacts with authorities should also be used to facilitate the understanding about the current and upcoming expectations of these authorities (e.g. applicable information security regulations).

Other information

Organizations under attack can request authorities to take action against the attack source. Maintaining such contacts can be a requirement to support information security incident management or the contingency planning and business continuity processes. Contacts with regulatory bodies are also useful to anticipate and prepare for upcoming changes in
relevant laws or regulations that affect the organization. Contacts with other authorities include utilities, emergency services, electricity suppliers and health and safety [e.g. fire departments (in
connection with business continuity), telecommunication providers (in connection with line routing and availability) and water suppliers (in connection with cooling facilities for equipment)].

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The organization needs to maintain useful contact information with appropriate authorities.The purpose is to ensure appropriate flow of information take place with respect to information security between the organization and relevant legal, regulatory and supervisory authorities. An appropriate forum for dialogue and cooperation between the Company and relevant legal, regulatory and supervisory authorities must be in place.Obviously, with more significant organizations, the need for this is greater as the interruption of service to a larger part of the population increases. Particularly relevant to utilities, telecoms, banking organizations, and emergency services (and for smaller companies these might be on your list). It covers the requirement, purpose and implementation instructions on how to identify and report information security events in a timely way, as well as who and how to contact in the event of an incident.Where attacks stem from the internet various authorities and providers may need to be called to action in order to divert /suppress/mitigate the threat. You can’t fix everything, but you can be ready should the need arise. This will help with business continuity and security incident management. The objective is to identify which stakeholders (e.g., law enforcement, regulatory bodies, supervisory authorities) would need to be contacted in the event of a security event. It is important that you have already identified these stakeholders before an incident occurs.A protocol for engagement with law enforcement can be a part of the security incident response plan or a broader crisis management procedure for the organization. The plan should be clear about which situations require working with law enforcement, such as when laws are broken. The plan should also clearly state who contacts authorities and under what circumstances (e.g., when law enforcement should be contacted by the information security officer or safety officer). Contact with Authorities means that the organisation should establish and implement informal communication with authorities concerning information security issues, including:

  • Ongoing communication with relevant authorities to ensure that the organisation is aware of current threats and vulnerabilities.
  • Informing relevant authorities of vulnerabilities discovered in the organisation’s products, services or systems.
  • Receiving information from relevant authorities about threats and vulnerabilities.

The main objective of control is to establish the organisation’s relationship with law enforcement agencies as it relates to managing information security risks.To meet the requirements, it is expected that if an information security incident is discovered, the organisation should specify when and by which authorities (such as law enforcement, regulatory bodies, and supervisory authorities) should be notified, as well as how identified information security incidents are to be reported in a timely manner. The exchange of information with authorities should also be used to gain a better knowledge of the existing and forthcoming expectations of these agencies (e.g. applicable information security regulations). This requirement is designed to ensure that the organisation has a coherent strategy for its relationship with law enforcement agencies and that it has identified the most appropriate point of contact in these agencies. Contacts with regulatory bodies are also useful to anticipate and prepare for upcoming changes in relevant laws or regulations that affect the organisation.

Appropriate contacts with relevant authorities must be maintained and the legal responsibilities for contacting authorities such as the Police, the Information Commissioner’s Office or other regulatory bodies should always be continued particularly relevant to utilities, telecoms, banking organisations and the emergency services. Where attacks stem from the internet various authorities and providers may need to be called to action in order to divert /suppress / mitigate the threat. All authorities can be listed and retained in an appropriately shared and access controlled repository.
The ISMS coordinator can keep records up to date and identify which and when contact is made by the appropriate relationship owner with specific contact circumstances, and the nature of the information provided. It should clearly identify who is responsible for contacting authorities (e.g. law enforcement, regulatory bodies, supervisory authorities), which authorities should be contacted (e.g. which region/country), and in what cases this needs to happen. Specification of the manner and timing in which breaches shall be communicated to external authorities so as to ensure appropriate reporting.

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