Top 5 Healthcare Cybersecurity Frameworks

Software Development

No industry is immune to the cybersecurity threats and especially when the case is of  healthcare;  confidentiality of patients’s data is the topmost priority. Therefore,  healthcare organizations try to address these risks by complying with recognized frameworks and security standards . 

Today in this topic, we are going to dig deeper into this topic and list out the top 5 healthcare cybersecurity frameworks. But first thing first- let’s understand the term called – Cybersecurity Framework.

What is a Cybersecurity Framework?

Cybersecurity framework

A cybersecurity framework provides a set of structured processes that are useful in developing procedures and policies required for securing integrity, confidentiality, and availability of information data and systems. The framework is basically a blueprint which creates an information security program useful for vulnerability reduction and risk management. The security procedures avail these frameworks for defining and prioritizing the tasks relevant for the security in organization. 

Core Components of the CyberSecurity Framework

1. The Core

The collection of sources and practices on cybersecurity is structured for driving specific results. It helps the multidisciplinary teams to interact using simple and non-technical language. 

2. Implementation Levels

It helps the associations with the manner they view the cybersecurity management. It determines the correct level of thoroughness for security programs and enables a company to communicate their cyber risks. 

3. Profiles

It is commonly utilized for recognizing some room to improvise the current cybersecurity situation.

The Top 5 CyberSecurity Frameworks in Healthcare

FRAMEWORK 1: HIPAA

  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is the United States legislation that provides security requirements for promoting data privacy and protecting health information. 
  • The act has gained prominence over the years, especially with the escalation of cyberattacks in the healthcare sector which makes it one of the crucial frameworks to follow. 
  • To accomplish this objective, the Department of Health and Human Services published HIPAA privacy and Security Rule for establishing national standards to protect health information.
  • It  addresses the technical and non-technical safeguards for putting the entities in place as to secure e-PHI (electronic protected health information). 
  • The OCR (Office for Civil Rights) is mandated with the responsibility of enforcing the Security and Privacy rules with voluntary compliance activities and civil money penalties.
  • HIPAA’s Security Rule is applicable to the healthcare clearinghouses, health plans, and any other healthcare providers who transmits or stores medical information in electronic form. 
  • To sum up, HIPAA has enabled a great deal of privacy in the health information while encouraging the adoption of new technologies for improving service deliveries in the healthcare sector.

FRAMEWORK 2: CIS CRITICAL SECURITY CONTROLS

  • CIS (Center for Internet Security) is a nonprofit organization that maintains numerous Critical Security Controls developed for minimizing the risk of cyber-attacks. 
  • CIS lists security controls are depended on their priorities, with the most important one appearing at the beginning. 
  • Certain areas to be focussed are managing vulnerabilities, creating inventory of assets, and controlling the use of administrative privileges.
  • In most cases, no single security framework is sufficient for providing privacy to a covered entity and hence it is advisable to avail CIS Critical Security Controls in additionto other frameworks.

FRAMEWORK 3: COBIT

  • COBIT, an IT governance framework is a supporting tool that allows the organizations for bridging the gap between business risks, control requirements, and technical issues. 
  • COBIT helps in policy development and is a good practice for IT control in a company.
  • The framework offers an implementable set of controls over IT and arranges them around a logical framework of Information Technology related processes and enablers. 
  • Today, healthcare providers, financial institutions, private corporations, and governments are joining hands to adopt COBIT.
  • Also, the framework permits the covered entities to optimize resources while risk mitigation.
  • COBIT focuses more on the effectiveness and efficiency of the IT environments, instead of information security linked to organizational issues. 
  • However, the framework is used for implementing practices provided by other information security standards like ISO 27001/2 and  NIST CyberSecurity Framework.

FRAMEWORK 4: ISO 27000 SERIES

  • ISO 27000 family of standards is very wide and can be applied in the healthcare sector for addressing the ever-evolving and challenging requirements of information security.
  • ISO27002  is one of the examples of this series which represents a good mixture of international acceptance level and complete understanding of information security practices built around policy management. 
  • ISO27002 pays attention to elements like security policy, information security, asset management, physical and environmental security, human resource security, communication and operations management, business continuity management, access control, and information security incident management. 
  • Also, ISO/IEC 27001, an internationally acknowledged management system standard for information security, can easily be implemented in the healthcare sector for ensuring that the covered entities recognize and tackle risks related to sensitive information.

FRAMEWORK 5: NIST RMF

  • In an organization, the development and deployment of security controls for their system is part of a security program focused on managing organizational goals.
  • NIST’s Risk Management Framework offers a process which integrates risk and security management activities into the system’s development life-cycle. 
  • As per NIST RMF, the framework is described as a “risk-based approach for security control selection and specification,” which takes efficiency, effectiveness, and other constraints applicable due to directives, laws, Executive Orders, standards, policies, and regulations.
  • All of the above-mentioned elements are important for an effective information security program in the healthcare industry. 
  • In this sector, players adopt RMF for proactively managing risks while identifying controls to minimize risks upto an acceptable level. 
  • As RMF takes some other frameworks and methodologies into account, a covered entity avails well-defined privacy controls that complies with policies and regulations. 
  • Overall, NIST RMF ensures that the health industry not only provides patient care, but secured services to customers as well.

Ready to apply CyberSecurity Mechanisms in Healthcare?

  • Determine Objectives

Healthcare cybersecurity process begins with finding out the organization’s objectives and priorities. Strategic security decisions are to be made and the resources are supposed to be identified for helping in the operation.

Implementation of the CSF starts with a plan which describes, evaluates, tracks, and reacts to the threats. This way, any healthcare organization can determine how and where to use a system.

  • Orient

The next step is to recognize the healthcare institution with all the resources they possess. Here they identify appropriate regulatory requirements, find authoritative sources like security methods, standards, risk management guidelines,and much more. Upon completion, the overall response of the risk will be determined.

  • Creation of a Goal Profile

Once the healthcare organization has figured out the risk factors and generated an overlay of the system, the next step would be avoiding violations and threats. Also, the companies can even craft their [personal categories and subcategories for risk accounting.

  • Risk Calculation

This step is used to find the risk level of an information system. The agency will evaluate the risk that is causing security breaches and consequences. It is very important for the companies that are searching for vulnerabilities, and emerging threats.

  • Emerging Profile Creation

Healthcare entities create a systematic risk assessment and then identify current status. The assessment can be well performed across institutions for providing a powerful and in-depth understanding of the cybersecurity threats in the healthcare sector.

  • Perform Gap Analysis

Once healthcare facilities know all the risks and impacts that are present in the system, they will perform to Gap Analysis. The goal here is to equate the actual scores with the target. They can, for instance, create heat maps presenting results in a simple manner. With this approach, the focus on areas is quite easy to show.

  • Action plan

Once the healthcare organization has a complete picture of all the potential cybersecurity issues, all the defensive means, complete analysis of vulnerabilities, relevant actions, targets- it can implement the action plan easily. 

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