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ISO 27001 Annex A.10: Cryptography

A.10.1 Cryptographic controls

These controls aim to ensure the efficient use of cryptography to promote data confidentiality and integrity.

A.10.1.1: Policy on the use of cryptographic controls

Cryptography, including encryption, can be used for both storage (data at rest) and transmission (data in transit). It also helps secure information stored or transferred through i.e. databases, unstructured folders, employee hard drives and digital devices like flash drives and mobile phones.

Think of how cryptography can benefit your business model as like many other things, this will depend on the size and functions of your company and what best solution works for your products and risk tolerance. When constructing an encryption policy, it is important to list and assess all possible risks associated such as the possibility of corrupted or missing keys. And then focus on applying controls to mitigate those threats and achieve your goals.

A.10.1.2: Key Management

A sound cryptographic policy will consider safe practices for maintaining encryption keys throughout their entire life cycle, the cycle is from creating the key through its distribution, storage, backup and destruction. Implementing strong keys is one thing but maintaining them is another. Attackers identify flaws in keys and then use these flaws to gain access.

Your policy needs to account for protocols and procedures regarding:

  • key generation
  • encryption algorithms,
  • cryptographic applications,
  • public-key certificates and authentications
  • key activation and disabling.
  • user access approvals,
  • key adjustments and upgrades,
  • missing, damaged or corrupted keys,
  • recovery processes,
  • archives and
  • key logs for auditing and management purposes.

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