If you work in healthcare, you already know the challenges the industry faces when it comes to both information security and HIPAA compliance. The HITRUST CSF® framework is an industry standard when it comes to risk assessments. It aims to ensure that organizations are and remain both secure and compliant.

This comprehensive HITRUST CSF framework was formed to ensure that organizations are as secure and proactive about data security and privacy as possible. Today, HITRUST® assessments and the certification process are effectively applied to other industries as well. It has great advantages for business associates that handle personal health information, and for those that work in the financial, insurance, government and life science industries.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: HITRUST CSF Readiness Is Renamed the HITRUST Basic, Current-State (bC) Assessment.

We are examining each stage required to become HITRUST CSF Certified process more closely.

  1. Readiness Assessment
  2. Remediation
  3. Validated Assessment
  4. HITRUST Quality Assurance Review
  5. HITRUST CSF Certification

Join us in diving deeper into the first phase known as ‘readiness.’

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What Is the HITRUST CSF Readiness Assessment?

The HITRUST CSF Readiness Assessment, formerly known as the self-assessment phase, is the first phase of the HITRUST certification process. It has recently been redesigned as a verified self-assessment called the HITRUST Basic, Current-State (bC) Assessment. HITRUST CSF tools are made available to give organizations a clear idea of where they fall in the process and the security challenges they face. Readiness assessments can be performed by organizations as independent analysis or with the guidance of HITRUST Authorized External Assessors.

A readiness assessment is conducted by utilizing the tools and methodologies of the HITRUST CSF® Assurance Program. This can help ensure the organization fully understands what systems need to be compliant and if it is capable of handling everything independently.

Assessing readiness means that the organization evaluates its own ability to comply with the factors listed in the HITRUST CSF Assessment. While this can streamline the process and provide insight, it can also be challenging for some organizations to execute. This is because of the inherent difficulty of being truly objective about the procedures and programs already in place. It’s natural to overlook challenges that would stand out to an objective third party.

Learn how to Prepare for Your Upcoming HITRUST Assessment with Confidence.

What Happens During the Readiness Assessment Phase?

The HITRUST readiness process begins with the gathering of information and details about the current state of the organization’s network and data security posture. Since most organizations have many security measures in place and legacy measures that may be out of date this can be a time-consuming process. This is one of the main reasons why organizations often turn to third-party HITRUST External Assessors for assistance.

Once the data is collected, it is compared to the 135+ controls in the HITRUST MyCSF tool. Each component is analyzed and supported with evidence and data. It is then evaluated for risk and security compliance issues. This gets complex because regulated data can come from any part of an organization. There may be multiple lines of information, multiple team members involved, and many different programs and policies to consider.

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Click to see full image.This image shows the expected inputs and outputs of the HITRUST preparation, assessment, and remediation processes.

This process can also be lengthy, and again, it can be challenging to accurately assess your own company’s standards and procedures. It’s easy to miss or overlook key components that an objective third party would highlight as vulnerabilities in need of correction.

When the assessment is complete, the organization will be provided with a readiness report including control scores and recommendations for improvement. During the remediation phase, the next step in the HITRUST certification process, the organization will have the opportunity to address these issues. The goal is to work on the correction of highlighted issues before beginning the validated assessment.

Learn more about the HITRUST Scoring and Main Differences Between Readiness and Validated Assessments.

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When Is a HITRUST Readiness Assessment A Good Idea?

Since there are so many data points and details to check, a smaller, more agile organization has a better chance of success when assessing readiness. Newer organizations are also more agile because there few or no legacy systems in place. An unassisted readiness assessment is best for streamlined, relatively new organizations with a good handle on current challenges and procedures.

Generally, the larger and older the organization is, the more complex the data and security procedures will be. This also indicates a greater need for employee and leadership buy-in. HIPAA is over 25 years old, and other cybersecurity frameworks have been in place for years. As a result, organizations that have been working within these regulations for years may have outdated processes or may not follow current industry best practices.

Get more information on the Benefits of Organizational Readiness Assessments.

Is Third-Party Assistance Needed For Readiness Assessment?

It’s not required. But for many companies, third-party assistance simplifies the HITRUST assessment process and ensures greater accuracy and success. Because a third-party is inherently objective, it will be able to review the massive amounts of data comprised in the assessment with a critical eye. Assistance is provided without existing biases or built-in preferences.

Objectivity is important, but the need for efficiency and speed also matters when it comes to HITRUST assessments. For most organizations considering a readiness assessment, speed, and accuracy matter as well. Performing a readiness assessment, is often the first time — or one of the first times — a team has worked its way through all critical security measures and risks. Third-party experts can rapidly work through the process. They are specially trained to identify important information and catch what is missing or needs improvement. This helps to speed up the process and ensure that it’s successful.

Is this terminology confusing? See our Glossary of HITRUST Processes.

Get Help With HITRUST CSF Readiness Assessment

The benefits of a comprehensive and complete HITRUST readiness assessment make this a critical tool for any organization, but you don’t have to go it alone. Get the expert and experienced help you need with this important, albeit challenging, process. Our team of authorized assessors is ready to assist you through every phase of HITRUST CSF assessments and certification.

Check out our full range of services to assist you in becoming HITRUST CSF certified. Contact I.S. Partners today at 215-675-1400, or request a free quote, to take the first step towards a more secure and compliant network. We’re here to ensure your company achieves its goals.

Go on to find out more about Phase 2 of the HITRUST certification process: Remediation

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