How much does ISO 27001 certification cost?

The ISO 27001 certification cost and process can vary depending on the size of the company. It may take several years and involve expenses in the tens of thousands of dollars. Here’s a detailed analysis.

iso 27001 certification cost

According to Gartner, cybersecurity and regulatory compliance are the top two concerns for corporate boards today. To address these concerns, an increasing number of companies are adopting a trusted security framework, with ISO 27001 being the preferred choice for many due to its global recognition. As evidence of its value, ISO 27001 certifications increased by 24.7% worldwide in 2020 alone. 

However, becoming certified in ISO 27001 can be expensive. The hard costs of the full three-year certification cycle can add up to $75,000 in some cases, and this doesn’t include the cost of employee time spent on the process. 

To help you better understand and manage the costs associated with certification, let’s take a closer look at how to calculate them and explore some proven ways to reduce them.

Breaking Down the Cost of ISO 27001

The ISO 27001 certification process consists of several stages, each of which involves different costs. To provide a comprehensive analysis of the expenses, we will break down the costs involved in each stage. However, since the costs of certification vary based on company size, we will simplify the analysis by using a small start-up with 50 employees as an example.

There are 3 type of cost: Readiness cost, Audit cost and Surveillance cost

1. ISO 27001 Cost: Readiness Stage

Average Readiness Cost : USD $10k to $40k

The readiness stage of the ISO 27001 certification process requires significant effort from your company. This is the stage where you will define the scope of your information security management system (ISMS), locate sensitive information, conduct a risk assessment, and implement policies and controls to manage those risks. 

As part of this stage, you will also prepare a Statement of Applicability (SoA), which outlines the controls you have implemented and justifies why you did not implement others. Additionally, you will create a risk treatment plan that outlines how your organization will respond to all identified risks. 

To ensure readiness, your team will need to be trained to support the new ISMS, and you will need to conduct an internal audit to confirm that your documentation is ready for the external auditor’s review.

The costs involved in this stage vary widely, from $10,000 to nearly $40,000, depending on the option you choose.

Option 1 : Do it yourself (DIY)

At first glance, the DIY route may appear to be the least expensive way to complete the readiness stage of ISO 27001 certification. However, this approach can turn out to be the most expensive when you consider the cost of your internal team’s time. 

For example, let’s take the average salary of a senior analyst, who has the necessary skills to lead this stage of the process. At $75,000 per year, this person’s daily cost is about $208. 

Considering that the readiness stage typically takes between two to four months to complete, the cost of having an employee complete this stage alone can range from $18,583 to $23,333. 

Therefore, despite appearing to be the most cost-effective option at first, completing the readiness stage without external help can turn out to be the most expensive option when you factor in the cost of employee time. So make sure you count the daily cost of your internal team’s salary times 3 months + cost of buying isms template document + internal training and audit before you take this route.

Option 2 : Using Consultant

Although hiring a consultant to help you through the readiness stage of ISO 27001 certification may seem like an expensive option, it can actually be a more cost-effective approach in the long run. 

While consultancy fees can average around $30,000, the benefits of this approach include being able to outsource most of the heavy lifting to the consultant. This includes time-intensive documentation and conducting the internal audit, allowing your high-level engineering lead to focus on supporting product development and operations. 

As a result, despite the upfront costs of hiring a consultant, this approach is likely to save your organization money in the long term by freeing up valuable internal resources and ensuring a smoother certification process.

Option 3 : The Compliance Platform

Investing in a compliance can further reduce costs. Compliance software delivers a clear value proposition, whether used in conjunction with a consultant or as part of a DIY approach. By automating evidence collection, streamlining workflows, and providing pre built templates for best-practice policies and procedures, a platform reduces workload significantly. 

In fact, if your head of engineering is leading the readiness stage, it will cut the amount of time required by 88%. In other words, instead of spending four months at a cost of $39,333, your engineer can spend just four weeks at a cost of $4,720. Even factoring in the cost of the platform at $5000-$7,500, it’s still the least expensive option.

2. ISO 27001 Cost: Stage 1 and 2 audits

Average Stage 1&2 Cost : USD $5k to $14k

There are two main stages to the audit-certification process. Stage 1 is the documentation audit, and stage 2 is the certification audit. The cost of securing an auditor for these stages will run between $5,000 and $16,000 for a small start-up.

The cost of auditors for ISO 27001 certification varies based on the prestige of the auditor selected. Choosing a Big Four firm such as PwC, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, or KPMG can come at a premium cost. However, in exchange, your company will receive certification from a highly respected, high-profile organization. For some companies, the extra cost may be worthwhile. 

On the other hand, a reputable, accredited boutique auditing firm may be a better fit for other companies that do not require the prestige of a Big Four firm. The difference in costs for auditors will ultimately depend on the needs and priorities of your organization.

3. ISO 27001 cost: Surveillance and recertification audits

Average Surveillance Cost : USD $3k to $7k

After your company passes the certification audit, it becomes fully certified under ISO 27001. However, to maintain certification, your company will need to undergo an annual surveillance audit in the first and second years, as well as a recertification audit in the third year. 

The surveillance audits are less rigorous than the initial documentation and certification audits, so they are generally less expensive, costing between $3000 and $7000 each.

Understanding Scope

The scope of an ISO 27001 audit can have an impact on the cost of the audit. The cost of the audit is typically determined by the certification body based on the size of the organization, the complexity of its operations, and the scope of the audit. 

A narrower scope may result in a lower cost for the audit, as fewer resources and less time will be required to assess the information security management system (ISMS) and ensure compliance with the ISO 27001 standard. Conversely, a broader scope that covers more areas of the organization or includes more complex operations may require more time and resources, resulting in a higher cost for the audit.

The scope of an ISO 27001 audit refers to the boundaries and extent of the assessment performed during the audit. It defines which parts of an organization’s information security management system (ISMS) are being evaluated and which controls and requirements of the standard are being applied.

It is important for organizations to carefully consider the scope of the audit and balance it with their business needs and budget in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

Putting Together

The cost of obtaining ISO 27001 certification can be influenced by numerous factors, including the size of your company, the scope of your information security management system (ISMS), and the approach you take to the certification process, whether it be working with a consultant, a compliance platform, or a DIY approach. A summary chart has been provided below to illustrate the various cost considerations.

DIY ConsultantCompliance Platform
Readiness Stage$25,000~$20,000$7,500
Duration6-12 Months6-12 Months3-8 Months
Audit Cost~$7,500~$7,500~$7,500


ISO 27001 cost may vary depends to size of the organization but the cheapest and fastest is using Compliance Platform – Paireds is one of the option out there that offer ISO 27001 compliance platform reach us now