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With sensitive data at risk, the need for secure storage and transmission that complies with regulatory mandates among varied industries is critical. Although necessary, these mandates often prove difficult to implement. One of the best ways to prepare for threats and successfully comply with data protection regulations is through HITRUST CSF Certification. As the prescriptive standard among healthcare compliance frameworks, it has now adapted its HITRUST CSF to work across multiple industries.

What is HITRUST CSF Certification?

HITRUST CSF certification means an organization partnered with an authorized HITRUST External Assessor to pass a comprehensive security evaluation. The certification validates that the organization has met all industry-defined regulations while maintaining the highest standards of data loss prevention and information risk management. This helps set your organization apart from others within the industry. Certification verifies industry leaders which puts security and consumer transparency first.

The HITRUST CSF certification is valid for 24 months, with an interim review required to ensure standards continue being met. When getting started, the key is solid preparation.

What is the HITRUST CSF Certification Process?

While many organizations seek HITRUST CSF certification by request, some organizations opt to obtain certification for transparency in security and compliance standards. The HITRUST CSF process is required by organizations handling protected health information and other sensitive data. Detailed, time-consuming and intense, it is considered the gold standard for compliance not only in healthcare, but across a wide range of industries that have regulatory compliance standards. Having a HITRUST CSF certification means your entity took to the time to meet all the industry-defined certification requirements of the HITRUST CSF.

HITRUST CSF Certification Control Requirements

Organizations have 19 control requirements that may be applicable to their operations, including:

  1. Access control,
  2. Audit logging and monitoring,
  3. Business continuity and disaster recovery,
  4. Configuration management,
  5. Data protection and privacy,
  6. Endpoint protection,
  7. Education, Training and awareness,
  8. Information protection,
  9. Incident management,
  10. Mobile device security,
  11. Network protection,
  12. Password management,
  13. Physical and environmental safety,
  14. Portable media security,
  15. Risk management,
  16. Transmission protection,
  17. Third-party security,
  18. Vulnerability management, and
  19. Wireless protection.

HITRUST CSF Certification Phases

This process also has four phases:

1. Readiness

The readiness step starts with a readiness assessment. The readiness assessment can be completed using the MyCSF tool. Most organizations seek assistance from an external assessor, or certification partner who will help determine what type of assessment is needed and the controls that should be addressed. Once that is decided, the partner will examine and measure all documentation relating to policies and procedures against current HITRUST requirements and controls. During this time, the assessor performs testing of controls to validate whether they are working as listed. All gaps are documented for remediation.

This can take up to 8 weeks, depending on the size and complexity of the organization’s infrastructure.

2. Remediation

All performance or documentation gaps found during the readiness phase will be addressed by the organization during this time. This process can take up to 6 months the first year, depending on the type of remedial actions required by the organization.

3. Validated Assessment

During the validated assessment, the assessor tests the defined control requirements of each designated category. An on-site assessment usually includes interviews with key personnel, reviewing supporting documents, sampling, penetration testing and vulnerability scans. Each requirement is evaluated or scored based on the following attributes control maturity:

  • Policy,
  • Process/Procedure,
  • Implementation,
  • Measured, and
  • Managed.

Based on these control maturity levels, the levels of compliance are:

  • Fully compliant,
  • Mostly compliant,
  • Partially compliant,
  • Somewhat compliant, and
  • Non-compliant.

A HITRUST validated assessment effort can last up to a maximum duration of 3 months.

4. HITRUST’s Quality Assurance Review and Report Generation

Once the validated assessment is complete, the assessment is submitted to HITRUST for their quality assurance review and generation of the final report. Typical duration of HITRUST’s processing of a submission ranges from 4 to 8 weeks.

What You Should Know About the New HITRUST CSF v9.3: Effective January 1, 2020.

What are the Benefits of HITRUST CSF Certification?

HITRUST CSF certification adds credibility and visibility to an organization. It also improves the security outlook of the organization by identifying potential security risks in the privacy and data protection infrastructure. HITRUST CSF certification reduces the time investment and costs connected to complying with numerous regulatory standards. With certification, organizations can circumvent potential issues if a secondary audit is needed. The HITRUST CSF certification, demonstrates the effectiveness of an organization’s security protocols to consumers and other businesses.

What types of businesses should obtain HITRUST CSF certification?

HITRUST CSF certification is ideal for companies who create, access, store, and exchange sensitive information such as healthcare vendors, hospitals, pharmacies, insurance firms, and doctors’ offices. Other global organizations outside of healthcare have also been successful in obtaining the HITRUST certification like Marriott, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Sony, and more.

Related article: Organize an Information Risk Management and Compliance Program with the HITRUST CSF.

Professional Assistance with HITRUST CSF Certification

The certification process is rigorous, but it’s well worth the effort. Your organization will achieve the highest standards of compliance which will be recognized throughout the industry. Collaborating with the right technical audit team is key. I.S. Partners works with organizations to obtain certification and make the entire experience stress-free. For more information on getting HITRUST certified, call the team at 215-675-1400, or contact us online, to discuss how we can help your organization.

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