Secure Data Protection: Adopting HITRUST CSF for Healthcare Organizations - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1667 Words
Date:  2023-05-02


To overcome attacks and comply with the data protection regulations, the healthcare organizations must adopt and enforce solid infuriation eternity measures and this also calls for the implementation of the information security framework such as the HITRUST CSF to protect the sensitive data and customer information. The HITRUST framework comprises strategies, tools, and policies aimed at detecting, decongesting, preventing as well aa combating any form of threat on the digital information devices. Information security focuses on establishing a clearly defined security protect for protecting information whether it is in transit, under processing or at rest.

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In this age of the internet of things, data and information are the most valuable non-tangible asset of organizations. Just like the organizations must secure their assets, information security is mandatory not only for business continuity but also to meet the regulatory requirements. Data breaches can significantly affect organza's operation. The rising costs of breaches are also high just the same way the number of sophisticated attacks has increased. In most healthcare organizations, there is evidence of the proliferation of IOT devices [4]. Over the past decade, the number of funded hackers has increased with the wider availability of hacking tools. The government through acts has imposed regulatory compliances that healthcare organizations must meet such as the HIPAA, HITECH, and GDPR.

The HITRUST certification is used in the healthcare industry to help the organizes achieve the information society goals. The Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) outlines what and how healthcare organizations can adopt health information systems and exchange. It delineates how breaches, are addressed, how the company can solve issues related to inconsistent requirements and standards as well as how compliance issues can be solved. The HITRUST common security framework should be used to create, access, store, as well as share, protected health information by the organization safely and securely.

Action Plan For Implementing CSF

ABC hospital is a hypothetical healthcare organization in this case. It will be a level five hospital in America. The company is required to comply with information security and privacy framework including the HITECH, HIPAA, PCI and ISO/IEC 27799:2008. As the company adopted electronic health records to help in managing patient health information. The adoption of HITRUST CSF is advisable though not necessary. The cost will put the organization in the right tracks towards complying with the HIPAA and HITECH. The framework included principles for risk management and, an information security management system. Some of the imperatives include

Having in a place visible support and committee members of the management. This means that financial provisions are made and the staff is educated on how to adapt to the changes. This way, resistances to change is limited before the CSF is implemented.

The organization system is partitioned into auditable business units to allow for piecemeal audits. The company can easily implement the framework by department or fictional wise. This way, it would not have to revise the im0pleementation for the whole organization. Additionally, problems in one department can be addressed immediately before it spills over to the other departments [3].

The CSF must cover all the information aspects irrespective of the form of the information. The main goal of information security is to secure and project the PHI.

The management and the CSF im0kentation team must have a clear understanding of all the components of the information security requirements. It is also important to ensure that all the information security reqy6urement and controls are delineated for the team to understand the boundaries [10]

To exploit the CSF potential, the management must ensure that all the employees are trained to work with and meet the information security requirements. Employees are a major source of vulnerabilities for the organization. Their training on CSF use can significantly improve the company's information security. Training the employee reduces the attack surface and vulnerabilities

Information security management is not limited to control measures but also adequate resource allocation for the implementation of the same. The company's management must make provision or budget for security software's and hardware's, employee training and certification if possible.

The performance of information security systems must be measured to determine whether the system is performing as required. Therefore, the team will develop proper metrics for measuring and evaluating the systems, the control measures as well as the management's


An organizational structure determines the flow of information and tier structure adopted by the specific industry. Tiers are very significant as they provide guidelines and policies on how an organization can deal with and manage cybersecurity risk. All four tiers, repeatable, partial, adaptive and risk-informed can be considered to function as the maturity model. Maturity models frameworks help to examine the maturity level of an organization. Process maturity models target at evaluating the firm's standard of process-centricity. Through the process of management abilities, these frameworks help to estimate the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization's undertakings.

Organizations abiding at Tier 2 and are members of national critical infrastructures experience diverse challenges in organizational management involving cybersecurity evaluation. Tier 3 being the first tier that provides required organization policies, provides effective tools for the firm's management to assess cybersecurity programs and make informed, pragmatic and enlightening business decisions [5]. Transforming organizational undertakings from Tier 1 to Tier 2 is one of the most daunting obligation most firms faces. However, organizations' management becomes more accountable and motivated to progress their functions once they are in Tier 2.

Framework Profiles

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework approves of frameworks that increase business value. Customization of such frameworks maximizing business value is called "profile". The three most significant functions of cybersecurity programs include supporting business missions and objectives, accomplishing cybersecurity prerequisites, and finally managing cybersecurity threats and potential vulnerabilities within the organization [6]. The continuous improvement loop to establish and update or improve cybersecurity programs

  • Prioritizing and scope establishment
  • Orient
  • Create a current profile
  • Conduct a risk assessment
  • Create a target profile
  • Determine, analyze, and prioritize gaps
  • Implement an action plan

Distributing Risk

Many of the organization's executives are always disinterested in the information security of their organization. It is also a common occurrence to see security managers and IT specialists one-sidedly put the organization's vulnerable information to a cyber threat without getting approval from senior cybersecurity experts and managers [11]. Making decisions outside authority and role extents leaves room for excuses by the executives after detrimental effects have been done to the company. In governance frameworks and standards such as both COBIT 5 and ISO 27001, the cybersecurity framework explains vivid roles of management within the process of information security [8]. Therefore, the CSF becomes an important tool that can be used to captivate managers and hold board members accountable for the organization's distributed small or less dynamic risk decisions and cybersecurity threats.

Healthcare Threats

Healthcare providers bank more on advancing technologies enabling them to keep and transfer data. However, compliance with these evolving technologies has become progressively complex prospects to navigate. It is always a difficult task to manage security specifications from the state and healthcare agencies. Healthcare IT providers and the entire organizations need secure, clear and efficient systems to not only attain compliance but also to demonstrate that they can be reliable resources and to deal with cybersecurity threats within the industry. Healthcare agencies, state, and third party organizations must ensure the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of any received, transmitted and created data, are of the fundamental requirements that must be adhered to, to ensure data protection against both external and internal threats. HITRUST Common Security Framework certification can help combat the following cybersecurity threats that healthcare industries face.

Cloud Security

Cloud storage provides large pools of confidential information storage. As a result, healthcare organizations are faced with security and compliance risks. With more spread out pool of data, healthcare organization systems often risk security breaches due to numerous loopholes attackers use to go through and compromise or intercept data. Additionally, managing healthcare IT loads in the cloud is a daunting task to the IT staff as with cloud storage, more effort is required to defend the security landscape than it takes for attackers to attack it.

Mobile Devices

When employees go mobile, the security landscape is automatically modified in terms of external threats. Unsecured mobile devices provide gaps in which attackers can penetrate healthcare systems and alter customer's electronic protected health information (ePHI). To prevent such threats, healthcare providers can make use of cryptography, as encryption enhances the security of both ePHI and EHRs during health information exchange. Additionally, increasing authentication layers ensures that initial mobile security features are augmented.


Ransomware is one of the major information security menace healthcare industries faces. Most of this ransomware was promoted through phishing. They are detrimental to healthcare industries as they can lock out lifesaving systems and healthcare records. Due to the increasing black market of personal healthcare information, entities with such data become the key target of cyber threats [9]. However, traffic patterns analysis is very crucial as security experts will be able to identify the occurrence of ransomware attacks within the healthcare industry.

IoT Exploits

There are enormous benefits associated with the Internet of Things and the number of opportunities they bring to healthcare systems. However, data privacy and security issues are some of the notable challenges that come with the interconnectedness of IoT and healthcare. Implantable and wearable IoT healthcare devices especially those that require constant monitoring can be at risk of attack since securing endpoint security of such devices is always strenuous. The patient's life and personal data, therefore, becomes endangered when IoT healthcare devices are compromised [2].


Lack of cybersecurity education and awareness among employees dispenses a serious security threat within the healthcare industry. Cybersecurity training and understanding security policies will ensure that employees appropriately handle patient's sensitive data whenever they are exposed to it. Additionally, such training will equip employees with cybersecurity knowledge and awareness to effectively safeguard patients' data.

Segment Specific Requirements

The organization processes both Medicare and private insurances. Therefore, it is contractors by CMS which have specific controls for information...

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Secure Data Protection: Adopting HITRUST CSF for Healthcare Organizations - Research Paper. (2023, May 02). Retrieved from

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