HITRUST CSF Certification 2022: How Much Will It Cost You?

INTRODUCTION

The HITRUST CSF Certification is important for companies that deal with Protected Health Information (PHI). The certification helps these companies protect their customers’ data and proves that they are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). To maintain HIPAA compliance, many companies are required to get their HITRUST CSF Certification. The cost of getting this certification can vary from company to company, but there are some things that you can do to keep the cost down.

What is HITRUST Certification?

HITRUST certification is a thorough assessment of an organization’s information security program. The certification is focused on a given scope, which is generally limited to one or more implemented systems. Organizations don’t pursue HITRUST certification for the entire organization, as the application of stringent information security requirements across the board is inefficient from a risk and resource allocation perspective.

What are the benefits of HITRUST CSF Certification?

There are many benefits to implementing a HITRUST CSF-certified communications solution for your contact tracing operations. With a HITRUST-certified communications solution, customers and patients can connect with your organization via their preferred mode of communication—messaging, video, phone, SMS, or contact center technologies. The six benefits of using a HITRUST-certified communications solution are:

Protection from a comprehensive security framework: –

A HITRUST CSF-certified communications system is beneficial because it integrates and harmonizes requirements from various standards—ISO, HIPAA, PCI, and NIST. It then tailors them to the healthcare industry, taking into account system, organizational, and regulatory risk factors.

The HITRUST framework is very comprehensive, so you don’t have to worry about meeting other requirements. For example, if you deployed a communications system that was NIST-certified, but it didn’t live up to the compliance standards set by HIPAA, you would be forced to confront massive penalties due to violation of regulations. The HITRUST CSF certification, on the other hand, gives you peace of mind because it guarantees your protection in light of the many security threats.

Cost and time savings

There are many benefits to HITRUST certification, one of which is the cost and time savings it provides. HITRUST certification means that you are better prepared for future inspections, such as audits, which can include an evaluation of your Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) services.

The HITRUST framework helps organizations meet multiple regulatory obligations simultaneously by providing a consolidated control view. With this framework, you have greater visibility into how controls overlap among various regulations. When audit time comes around, you’ll be able to show that you’re meeting multiple regulatory obligations. Only a sole assessment is required, and from there, several reports will be produced that cover pertinent legislative and/or regulatory frameworks.

Provable compliance

There are many difficulties associated with HIPAA regulations. For example, they don’t provide precise compliance definitions, making it difficult to determine if you’re following the rules. Additionally, nothing exists that effectively tests whether you’re complying with HIPAA. This lack of guidance creates confusion among multiple vendors who create their own unique variations of testing methods and certifications. Unfortunately, this muddles the environment for HIPAA-covered entities.

HIPAA-covered entities should expect to be treated with respect by their vendors. Business Associates need to be held to a high standard and should be able to substantiate any claims of being HIPAA-compliant.

If a data breach compromising ePHI occurs, Business Associates are liable. In fact, they are required to sign a document certifying their agreement to protect data. If a data breach occurs, it could be terminated. However, vendors who merely claim HIPAA compliance are not bound by a strict agreement or any kind of penalties if ePHI is breached.

HITRUST certification is becoming increasingly popular among vendors looking to prove their commitment to HIPAA regulations. The certification shows that a vendor has taken extra measures to protect ePHI in their environment, benefiting their HIPAA-covered-entity clients.

Adjustable to meet your requirements

Where does the value lie in a vendor achieving HITRUST CSF certification? As a HIPAA-covered entity organization, you receive the corresponding security value and validation.

The HITRUST framework scales control according to the type, size, and complexity of an organization. A HITRUST CSF-certified vendor can adjust various controls to meet your needs, rather than attempt to adapt to rules established by someone else

An ever-evolving approach

The HITRUST framework requirements and scope are updated every year to stay current with regulations and ensure up-to-date protection against security threats.

Several years ago, HITRUST framework control requirements and cyberthreat intelligence aligned as a way to ensure controls remain effective despite the rapid evolution of potential threats. That’s an essential protective measure that helps ward off a variety of different types of cyberattacks, which if unleashed, could threaten to damage your organization’s reputation in addition to wasting time and money.

Gaining credibility with stakeholders

Deploying a HITRUST CSF-certified communications system is undoubtedly a beneficial step for any organization. Being HITRUST CSF-certified demonstrates that the organization is dedicated to protecting the privacy and data of its patients. This trustworthiness will likely be appreciated by the community served.

What is the cost of HITRUST CSF Certification?

First, let’s calculate direct costs. This means the fees to HITRUST and fees to the assessor. At the beginning of the process, the assessor will determine your risk profile based on how you answer around 50 questions focused on your organization and data. Your risk profile will then determine which HITRUST controls you have to attest to.

Organizations with lower-risk profiles can expect to pay between $6,000 and $15,000 for HITRUST certification, while those with higher-risk profiles can expect to spend much more. The total cost for direct expenses will range from approximately $40,000 to more than $150,000.

Now, let’s talk about indirect costs, such as the opportunity cost of the time and productivity that is lost when employees focus on HITRUST instead of their regular day jobs.

The number of controls that HITRUST will require you to implement depends on your risk profile. For companies with a lower risk profile, 400 controls may be sufficient, while companies with a higher risk profile may need to implement up to 1,800 controls. Proving compliance with each control will take around 30 minutes to one hour, so the total time commitment for HITRUST certification will be around 200 hours. It will require around 1,350 hours for a large, higher-risk company to complete HITRUST certification. If each employee is paid $100 an hour to work on HITRUST, the indirect cost of certification is between $20K and $135K.

What are the steps to getting HITRUST CSF Certified?

There are five simple steps to HITRUST CSF certification, and they can be quite painful. However, the end result is worth it–you’ll have a strong security framework in place that will protect your organization from data breaches. Here are the five steps:

Step 1: Investigate the process: – There are a variety of ways to conduct an audit, and the first step is for companies to work with their auditor (e.g., Coalfire) to decide on what kind of audit to do. HITRUST CSF is becoming increasingly common, but many auditors have their own proprietary auditing processes. When Datica went through this process and moved from HIPAA to HITRUST CSF Certification, Datica executives and employees spent considerable time researching the domains of HITRUST.

Step 2: Scope the project with the chosen HITRUST CSF Assessor: – This step is fairly straightforward. Companies estimate how much time and money it will take to comply with HITRUST requirements. In this process, they figure out which of the 19 HITRUST domains, dozens of controls, and 700+ potential requirements apply to them. Controls vary depending on the type of company and products being certified. It can be difficult to get HITRUST certification if your business doesn’t operate in the cloud. For example, a cloud platform like Datica has several hundred requirements that apply to us, while a company that is not cloud-based may have a completely different set of controls and requirements that apply to them. Datica has all the details about the domains, controls, and requirements that applied to us which can help you speed up the process of getting HITRUST certified.

Step 3: Complete the CSF: – A lot of paperwork is necessary during the auditing process, including policies, risk assessments, and technical documentation and configurations. This can take 3-6 months the first year and around 2 months for subsequent audits. The time it takes to complete an audit depends on the full scope of each company’s audit determined in step 2.

Step 4: Validate the CSF with the assessor: – This process can take 4-5 weeks. The company will need to provide evidence for entries in the CSF.

Step 5: Certify the CSF with HITRUST Alliance: – Almost there! This is the lengthiest part of the process, with it taking up to 18 months for lawyers at the HITRUST Alliance to audit the company. Now that HITRUST CSF is becoming the standard way to conduct HIPAA compliance audits, the volume of requests going through HITRUST has increased from just hundreds in 2016 to thousands nowadays. Once this step is complete, the company receives a HITRUST CSF certificate.

Conclusion: –

HITRUST CSF Certification 2022 is important for companies that deal with Protected Health Information (PHI). The certification helps these companies protect their customers’ data and proves that they are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). To maintain HIPAA compliance, many companies are required to get their HITRUST CSF Certification. The cost of getting this certification can vary from company to company.