What is HITRUST?

Managing Data Risks is Easier with HITRUST

Whether your organization is healthcare-related and must abide by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations or you are subject to other industry compliance or regulations regarding data security, meeting these obligations can be complex and difficult.

Adopting the framework provided by HITRUST, however, can provide additional guidance for meeting HIPAA or other compliance regulations with third-party assurances. Plus, HITRUST is the recommended and certifiable framework organizations around the world rely upon to help better manage and assess their risks.

What is HITRUST?

HITRUST (Health Information Trust Alliance) is an organization that is focused on security, privacy, and risk management. It was established in 2007 to help healthcare and other organizations protect their sensitive data through a thorough security and privacy program that sets out to help organizations manage their risks, compliance, and data. The thorough framework of HITRUST can also be applied to other industries concerned with how they efficiently and effectively manage the sensitive data entrusted to them and with how they can comply with their own industry compliance regulations.

What is the HITRUST Framework?

Although originally established for healthcare use, organizations in any industry can utilize the HITRUST CSF (Common Security Framework). The framework can be applied to any organization that creates, accesses, stores,  transfers, or exchanges sensitive data or data subject to specific regulations. The CSF framework’s prescriptive requirements help bring cohesion to a variety of standards such as HIPAAPCI DSS, NIST, and others. Should organizations have any voids in protection the HITRUST CSF can help identify and address them.

In healthcare, HITRUST expands upon HIPAA requirements and gives these entities a way to provide evidence of their HIPAA requirements for security controls. The framework is based on security and risk – two primary tenets of HIPAA compliance.

While securing and maintaining compliance can be complex, there is some good news. The HITRUST CST is available at no charge to any organization that wants to utilize it to meet goals that may fall outside of their formal industry certifications or requirements.

HITRUST Certification is Valued Globally

Securing and maintaining HITRUST certification serves as validation that an organization’s information security and privacy is not only effective but is also compliant with a variety of regulations.

The two-year certification comes once a required independent assessment reviews where data is stored, accessed, transmitted, and/or created. After that, the organization seeking certification undergoes a risk management process that zeroes in on risk levels and tolerances. The assessment timeframe varies depending on the size and complexity of an organization, the scope of information reviewed, as well as the amount of advisement provided to the organization after their assessment.

Even though certification is good for two years, after the first year, the organization must still undergo an interim assessment to ensure that any gaps identified after the initial assessment have been appropriately addressed.

What are the Benefits of HITRUST Certification?

Achieving HITRUST Certification helps organizations in a variety of ways, including:

  • Meeting the needs of customers and clients: In healthcare specifically, many payer systems and other third parties require HITRUST certification to do business with them. 
  • Less time spent on audits: With HITRUST certification (and its validated proofs) workloads can be reduced, as information needed by auditors is already compiled and centralized.
  • Elevated security posture and understanding of risks: By going through the certification process and its detailed, in-depth look at an organization’s current security stance from the perspective of multiple regulatory bodies, organizations are better able to boost their security stance where needed and reduce their risks. 

The certification process can serve as a robust, comprehensive tool to track progress and growth around an organization’s overall security environment.

Data Security is Key to HITRUST Compliance

No matter the industry, the threats to data continue to increase and organizations need to take varied measures to help protect the sensitive data it handles and to stay within regulatory industry requirements.

Related Reading: Counter Common Enterprise Risks with Managed File Transfer

Seeking out HITRUST CST is a great start but is not enough to repel cyberattacks or threats. Security risks must instead be approached with a variety of tactics, including:

  1. Identifying network threats and weaknesses to assess what data is collected, what assets need protection, how data is stored and moved through a network, and who has access to sensitive data.
  2. Protecting both the data and the network with hardware security access controls, such as developing or refining a cybersecurity plan, creating awareness of cyberthreats for employees, and using administrative controls.

Data security solutions are often layered for maximum impact and should help by:

Related Reading: What are Data Security Solutions and How Do They Work?

Data Protection Requires Detection

There are a number of tools to help detect suspicious or malicious activity around an organization’s data, including: