Businesses in the healthcare sector are attractive targets for cybercrime. Storing millions of clients’ sensitive medical and financial records makes an accidental or targeted data breach extremely harmful for consumers. Plus, attackers can also target companies’ own abundant assets via direct theft, fraud, and ransom scams, causing short- and long-term damage. Given all this risk, the benefits of HITRUST certification are undeniable for all healthcare and adjacent businesses.
Top Five Benefits of HITRUST Certification
To address the risks faced by healthcare businesses, the HITRUST Alliance has developed the Common Security Framework (CSF), through which companies can certify their cybersecurity.
This guide will walk through five of the biggest reasons why all medical-related companies should consider HITRUST CSF Certification:
- Risk and vulnerability management
- Compliance diligence and efficiency
- Comprehensive cybersecurity protections
- Scalability, flexibility, and accessibility
- Optimized implementation and certification
By the time we’re through, you’ll understand everything you need to know about the benefits HITRUST has to offer.
What is HITRUST; What is CSF Certification?
HITRUST was founded as a non-profit in 2007. Various stakeholders and cybersecurity experts from across healthcare and IT fields wanted to create a unified cyberdefense framework that combined many of the strengths from various other compliance guides.
The CSF was the fulfillment of that endeavor.
The CSF is the basis for all the various services and programs offered by the HITRUST Alliance and its for-profit wing, HITRUST Services Corp. Specifically, the CSF incorporates a unique, hybrid approach based on both risk and compliance and which is optimized for companies of all sizes.
The current version of the CSF (9.4) is free, albeit not available for immediate public access. In order to download the CSF, users must sign a qualifying license agreement. All references to the CSF below are to the current version, with additional resources linked where applicable.
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Benefit #1: Robust Risk and Vulnerability Management
Understanding, limiting, and responding to risks and vulnerabilities in a programmatic manner is a key tenet of cybersecurity. It’s also a major aspect of the overall HITRUST Approach.
The HITRUST risk management framework comprises four main steps:
- Identify and define risks – Crucially, the first order of business is identifying any and all risks to information security. This also involves defining the specific protection requirements related to a risk, as well as potential impacts the risk can have.
- Specify controls needed – Once risks are accounted for, you need to specify the particular cybersecurity controls that can nullify or mitigate them (see below).
- Implement controls – Next, you must implement selected controls through immediate enforcement and prolonged management until risks are adequately addressed.
- Assess and report – Finally, the efficacy of all measures taken must be assessed and reported on to ensure safety and facilitate future management of similar risks.
The CSF’s protocol for risk management is informed by various other cybersecurity frameworks’ own respective risk management programs.
Benefit #2: Compliance Diligence and Efficiency
Just as the HITRUST CSF helps to ensure quality risk management, it also helps prepare companies for compliance across a wide variety of guidelines they’re legally required to uphold.
Other regulatory and widely-applicable frameworks not only inform but are enveloped in their entirety by HITRUST CSF, including but not limited to:
HITRUST certification does not automatically grant nor guarantee compliance across these or any other regulatory guidelines. However, adopting the similar controls will help with audits and assessments for the other interrelated guidelines.
Put simply, the CSF is a one-stop-shop for compliance preparation.
Benefit #3: Comprehensive Cybersecurity Protections
The HITRUST CSF is about far more than just risk and compliance. It’s one of the best ways to keep your company safe, with a breadth and depth of scope that dwarfs other frameworks.
In total, the CSF version 9.4 has 14 domains, or categories, of controls. Within these 14 domains, there are 49 total control objectives, which comprise over 150 individual controls.
The total breakdown is as follows:
- Information security management program:
- Including 1 control objective and 1 control specification
- Access control management program:
- Including 7 control objectives and 25 control specifications
- Human resources security measures:
- Including 4 control objectives and 9 control specifications
- Risk management program:
- Including 1 control objective and 4 control specifications
- Holistic security policy implementation:
- Including 1 control objective and 2 control specifications
- Information security organizational scheme:
- Including 2 control objectives and 11 control specifications
- Compliance with regulatory frameworks:
- Including 3 control objectives and 10 control specifications
- Asset management program:
- Including 2 control objectives and 5 control specifications
- Physical and environmental security program:
- Including 2 control objectives and 13 control specifications
- Communications and operations management:
- Including 10 control objectives and 32 control specifications
- Acquisition, development, and maintenance of information systems:
- Including 6 control objectives and 13 control specifications
- Information security incident management program:
- Including 2 control objectives and 5 control specifications
- Business continuity management program:
- Including 1 control objective and 5 control specifications
- Overall privacy safeguards and practices:
- Including 7 control objectives and 21 control specifications
Furthermore, these controls all break down into three distinct levels of implementation, based on the risk profile and industry requirements companies face. Special requirement levels apply to certain companies that have niche or unique requirements (i.e. EU GDPR specifications, etc.).
All in all, these protections ensure a robust framework for cybersecurity that accounts for most every possible vector of attack. For that reason, it’s among the most exhaustive systems you can implement.
Benefit #4: Scalability, Flexibility, and Accessibility
A major benefit — which compounds with the sheer breadth and depth of protection outlined just above — is the extent to which CSF makes robust cyberdefense readily accessible to companies.
According to HITRUST’s overview on how to leverage the CSF:
- The framework is responsive to and partially informed by user and stakeholder input.
- Requirements are prescriptive, offering clear directions for how to implement them.
- Alternate control options are allowed, as are adjustments to accommodate changes.
- Controls scale depending on the size, nature, complexity, and other company factors.
- Multiple implementation levels for controls account for companies’ scope and risk profile.
Across these factors, the CSF is capable of molding to the exact needs of most or all healthcare companies. It’s a one-size-fits-all solution that companies can adapt as they see fit.
Benefit #5: Optimized Implementation and Certification
Finally, one last accessibility highlight of HITRUST CSF certification is how streamlined and easy the formal processes of assessment and certification can be.
There are three levels of CSF Assurance your company can attain:
- Self assessment
- CSF validated
- CSF certified
Using the patented MyCSF tools available from HITRUST, you can easily reach the first level of compliance by taking stock of your cybersecurity situation and installing any required but missing controls. But HITRUST’s provided tools aren’t the only way to get certified.
Authorized assessors can shepherd you through the process, from preparation all the way through full certification from HITRUST proper. RSI Security’s HITRUST services include comprehensive guidance and patchwork to get you up to speed and compliant.
Professional HITRUST Certification and Cyberdefense
With all of the benefits detailed above, there’s no reason your healthcare company shouldn’t get HITRUST CSF certified. The unified system offers unparalleled risk management and overall cybersecurity, while also making all your compliance requirements easier to follow. In addition, you can tailor CSF to the specific needs of your company, and certification itself is a breeze.
RSI Security doesn’t just help with HITRUST; we’ve spent a decade offering a wide variety of cybersecurity solutions to companies across every industry. Whatever your cyberdefense needs are, we can help.
Contact RSI Security today to take advantage of all these benefits of HITRUST certification, as well as a whole host of other cybersecurity assistance you need!
Download Our HITRUST Compliance Checklist
Assess where your organization currently stands with being HITRUST compliant by completing this checklist. Upon filling out this brief form you will receive the checklist via email.