The heat shock protein (HSP) family has long been associated with a generalized cellular stress response, particularly in terms of recognizing and chaperoning misfolded proteins. While HSPs in general appear to be protective, HSP27 has recently emerged as a particularly potent neuroprotectant in a number of diverse neurological disorders, ranging from ALS to stroke. Although its robust protective effect on a number of insults has been recognized, the mechanisms and regulation of HSP27s protective actions are still undergoing intense investigation. On the basis of recent studies, HSP27 appears to have a dynamic and diverse range of function in cellular survival. This review provides a forum to compare and contrast recent literature exploring the protective mechanism and regulation of HSP27, focusing on neurological disorders in particular, as they represent a range from protein aggregate-associated diseases to acute stress.