Do I Need to Buy the ISO Standard?

Often, when organisations contact Assent about achieving ISO Certification, they have not yet purchased a copy of the actual standard document containing details of the requirements they will need to follow.As consultants we are here to help by putting ISO terminology in to plain English, interpreting the spirit of ISO standards to become relevant to your organization, ensuring that you meet the necessary requirements and get the most benefit from the certification process.

However, can it be useful for clients to have a copy of the standard available for reference?

ISO is Confusing

Many believe that the content of ISO Standard documents is confusing and will take too much time to understand and apply to their organization.

It’s certainly true that ISO standards are written to be applicable to all sizes and kinds of organizations, which can make it difficult to effectively apply them to a particular scenario.

The tone and layout of ISO documents can also be a barrier for smaller companies or those who are taking on ISO in addition to their usual job role.

Additional Guidance & Text

However, in many cases the ISO standard documents provide useful Annexes that can expand concepts in the main clauses and give implementation guidance.

It can also be useful for us as consultants to direct clients to the ISO annexes to help explain requirements that need to be met.

For example, A.1 in the Annex of ISO 9001:2015 (the standard for Quality Management) provides a very useful table comparing: “Major differences in terminology between ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 9001:2015”
There may also be additional standard documents which can be very useful for reference.

For example, if you were implementing an Information Security Management System to ISO 27001, you might also want to look at ISO 27002 (Information Technology – Security Techniques – Code of Practice for Information Security Controls),

How to Buy ISO Standards

Unfortunately we can’t ‘give out’ copies of ISO or BS Standards as part of our consultancy work.

It’s important to remember that while it may seem expensive to buy these standards, the money supports the on-going development of standards


Robert Clements
Robert Clements
Articles: 290