Compare ISO 27001 with NIST SP 800-115

ISO 27001 and NIST SP 800-115 are two different standards related to information security.

ISO 27001: ISO 27001 is an internationally recognized standard for information security management systems (ISMS). It provides a systematic approach to managing sensitive company information, ensuring its confidentiality, integrity, and availability. The standard is part of the ISO/IEC 27000 family, which covers various aspects of information security.

Key features of ISO 27001:

  • Focuses on establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving the ISMS.
  • Emphasizes risk assessment and risk treatment processes to identify and address security risks.
  • Requires the definition of security policies, objectives, and controls based on risk assessment.
  • Encourages a process-based approach to information security management.
  • Suitable for any organization, regardless of its size or industry.
  1. NIST SP 800-115: NIST SP 800-115, also known as the “Technical Guide to Information Security Testing and Assessment,” provides guidelines for conducting technical security testing and assessments of information systems. It is aimed at IT professionals and security practitioners who want to evaluate the security posture of their systems.

Key features of NIST SP 800-115:

  • Focuses on the technical aspects of information security testing, including vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and security assessments.
  • Provides guidance on conducting security tests, analyzing results, and generating reports.
  • Designed to help organizations identify and address technical vulnerabilities in their information systems.
  • Specifically targets information security testing and assessment processes rather than overall information security management.


  • Scope: ISO 27001 is a comprehensive standard covering the establishment and maintenance of an ISMS, while NIST SP 800-115 is focused on technical security testing and assessment.
  • Purpose: ISO 27001 is about establishing a systematic approach to managing information security within an organization, while NIST SP 800-115 is about evaluating and assessing the security of information systems.
  • Applicability: ISO 27001 is applicable to any organization seeking to manage its information security, while NIST SP 800-115 is more suitable for IT professionals conducting security testing and assessments.
  • Approach: ISO 27001 adopts a process-based approach to information security management, while NIST SP 800-115 provides technical guidelines for security testing procedures.

Both ISO 27001 and NIST SP 800-115 have their roles in the broader field of information security, and they can be complementary in certain contexts. Organizations may choose to implement ISO 27001 to establish their information security management system and use NIST SP 800-115 guidelines to perform technical security assessments as part of their overall security program.