What Is the Cost of HITRUST Certification?

What is the cost of HITRUST certification? How much is the HITRUST CSF cost? What is included in the cost of HITRUST certification? Find answers here.

Ensuring robust data protection is essential, particularly in fields like healthcare that manage sensitive information. To this end, HITRUST certification serves as a vital tool for organizations. This credential is more than just a mark of quality; it's a requirement for maintaining trust and compliance. This article will delve into the various costs associated with being HITRUST certified, offering a comprehensive guide for those looking to invest in this crucial security measure.

What Is the HITRUST Certification?

HITRUST (Health Information Trust Alliance) is a framework designed to safeguard sensitive data and ensure adherence to various regulations. Additionally, the HITRUST CSF (Common Security Framework) is a widely recognized security accreditation that validates an organization's commitment to stringent data protection standards. It is especially crucial in healthcare but is also applicable to other industries concerned with data security and compliance.

Importance of HITRUST Certification

HITRUST certification is crucial for healthcare organizations for several key reasons:

Data ProtectionEnsures robust security measures are in place to protect sensitive patient data through encryption, access controls, and regular security audits.
ComplianceHelps in adhering to various regulations like HIPAA, HITECH, and state laws, thereby reducing the risk of legal complications and penalties.
TrustBuilds credibility among stakeholders, including patients, partners, and regulators, due to demonstrated commitment to data security and compliance.
Cost-EffectivenessStreamlines management of multiple compliance programs through a unified framework, reducing operational costs.
Risk ManagementProvides a comprehensive risk management approach to identify potential security risks and guidelines on mitigation, enhancing cybersecurity posture.
Vendor ManagementExtends certification to third-party vendors, ensuring compliance with necessary regulations and facilitating secure and compliant data exchange.
Audit ReadinessPrepares organizations for external audits through regular reviews and assessments as part of the certification process, making them less resource-intensive.
Global RecognitionFacilitates international expansion for healthcare organizations by ensuring adherence to global standards, smoothing international operations.

Who Needs HITRUST Certification? 

Organizations that are obligated to adhere to standards like NIST, HIPAA, FTC, PCI, COBIT, Red Flag, and ISO need HITRUST CSF. Especially, if your business is involved in the creation, access, storage, or exchange of personal medical information, it is mandatory for you.

More specifically, healthcare providers such as hospitals, clinics, and private practices need this certification to ensure they are compliant with regulations like HIPAA. Health insurance companies also require HITRUST to safeguard policyholder data. Additionally, pharmaceutical firms managing clinical trials and patient data can benefit from this certification to maintain data integrity and confidentiality.

Beyond healthcare, HITRUST is increasingly relevant for third-party vendors and business associates who provide services to medical organizations. This includes cloud service providers, data storage companies, and even legal firms that may have access to sensitive health information. Financial institutions dealing with healthcare accounts, like Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), also need it. 

What Affects HITRUST CSF Certification Cost? 

The expense associated with a HITRUST varies based on factors such as your organization's size, the extent of your operational environment, the number of facilities you have, the complexity of your technological systems, and the maturity of your control measures. Let’s delve deeper into each of these areas: 

Scope of Environment

Your technology environment refers to the range of systems, processes, and data types that need to be assessed for HITRUST certification. A broader scope means assessing more applications, databases, and network configurations. This can increase the time and effort required for the assessment, thereby driving up the cost. For example, if your organization uses multiple applications for patient records, billing, and scheduling, each of these would need to be included in the assessment, increasing the overall cost.

Size of Organization

Larger organizations typically have more complex IT infrastructures and a greater volume of data to manage. This complexity requires more extensive assessments, often involving specialized expertise, which can significantly increase the cost. Additionally, more employees mean more training and potentially more user licenses for compliance software.

Number of Locations

If your business operates across multiple locations, each site may require its own assessment, making the process more complex. This could involve travel expenses for assessors, additional time for site-specific assessments, and potentially different compliance requirements based on local or state laws, all of which contribute to higher costs.

Complexity of Systems

Firms with multiple servers, cloud services, and interconnected systems will require a more thorough and time-consuming assessment. Each component, from firewalls to data storage solutions, needs to be individually assessed for compliance, adding layers of complexity and cost.

Maturity of Controls

If you already have robust security measures in place, the assessment process may be quicker and require fewer changes, reducing the overall cost. On the other hand, if your controls are not up to standard, you may incur additional expenses for remediation measures, such as software upgrades or policy revisions.

How Much Does HITRUST CSF Certification Cost?

Obtaining certification is a significant financial and operational commitment, with costs ranging between $80,000 and $160,000. The increase is due to the evolving nature of the framework and the growing technicality of the process. Importantly, the costs are generally divided into direct and indirect expenses (discussed below).

What Is Included in the Cost of HITRUST?

The total expenses incurred when seeking HITRUST certification include several components:

  • Assessment tools: Fees for the MyCSF tool, which is essential for self-assessment and reporting.
  • Consulting services: Costs for hiring external consultants to guide you through the certification process.
  • Certification fees: Fees paid directly to HITRUST for the certification process.
  • Annual subscription: Ongoing fees for maintaining the certification.
  • Remediation costs: Expenses for addressing any security gaps identified during the assessment.
  • Audit fees: Costs for third-party auditors to validate the assessment.
  • Training: Expenses for training staff on HITRUST standards and compliance.
  • Software and hardware upgrades: Costs for any required technology upgrades.
  • Time and labor: Internal resources spent on the certification process.

Let's explore these costs in more detail in the following sections.

Direct Costs: $40,000 – $120,000

The direct costs are the most straightforward to quantify and can range from $40,000 to $120,000 for smaller organizations. For larger entities like major healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance firms, these costs can escalate significantly. A major portion of the direct costs is the fees for the HITRUST-certified external assessor, which can vary from $30,000 to as high as $150,000, depending on the scope and complexity of the assessment.

Self-Audit Costs: Optional but Beneficial

While not mandatory, conducting a self-audit can provide invaluable insights into your organization's security posture and compliance readiness. Utilizing self-assessment platforms typically costs around $2,500 for 90-day access. If you opt to submit your self-audit for scoring, an additional fee is incurred. Extended access beyond 90 days will also incur extra costs. 

Indirect Costs: Time-Intensive

Indirect costs are more elusive but equally important. These include the man-hours invested in preparing for and undergoing the audits, remediation activities, and maintaining compliance. Conservatively estimating, at least 400 hours of work could be involved. If you value each work hour at $100, that's an additional $40,000, although this figure could be higher when considering employee benefits and opportunity costs.

Total Estimated Cost: $80,000 – $160,000

Combining all these elements, the overall cost for HITRUST CSF certification can range from $80,000 to $160,000, depending on the organization's size and complexity. This doesn't include potential costs for software upgrades, employee training, and other remediation activities that might be necessary to achieve compliance.

How Long Does It Take To Become Certified? 

The table below explains how long it takes to achieve compliance:

PhaseEstimated DurationDescription
Pre-Assessment and Planning1 MonthInitial planning, scope definition, and resource allocation
Self-Assessment1-2 MonthsConducting an internal review to identify gaps and areas for improvement
Readiness Assessment2-3 MonthsDetailed review by a HITRUST-certified assessor to prepare for formal assessment
Remediation3-6 MonthsImplementing changes to address gaps identified during the readiness assessment
Formal Assessment2-3 MonthsComprehensive evaluation by a HITRUST-certified external assessor
HITRUST Review and Certification4-6 WeeksHITRUST reviews the assessment and issues the certification if successful
Total Estimated Time9-18 MonthsOverall time from start to certification is influenced by organization size, complexity, and readiness

The timeline for HITRUST certification typically ranges from 9 to 18 months, depending on various factors such as the organization's size, complexity, and readiness for the assessment.

Eden Data Can Help You Achieve HITRUST Certification 

Embrace the journey to HITRUST CSF compliance with Eden Data by your side. We don’t just guide you through the maze; we simplify it, leveraging our seasoned expertise to prepare, assess, and certify your operations with finesse. Consider us your cybersecurity allies, seasoned over many years in ensuring data compliance, implementing robust information security programs, and delivering meticulous testing services.

Our mastery of HITRUST compliance isn’t just theoretical; it’s the backbone of crafting bespoke solutions for your enterprise. Hence, our compliance solutions are not about ticking boxes; they are about carving out a clear path to success. From defining the scope of your assessment to ushering you through the self-assessment phase, we are about cutting down on expenses, time, and resource drain.

As your organization sails towards the horizon of new technological integration, our HITRUST assessments are your compass, ensuring information security compliance is woven seamlessly into the implementation fabric.

But our expertise doesn't stop there! Beyond our core offerings, we extend our mantle to digital security consulting, encompassing thorough assessments, prudent advisory services, vigilant oversight, and adept management. Plus, our acumen is not confined but spans across multiple domains, including IT, healthcare, financial services, and biotech.

Benefits of Joining Forces With Us

Let’s explore some additional benefits of partnering with us: 

  • Expert Brigade: Welcome an arsenal of cybersecurity mavens to your board, boasting Big 4 professionals and erstwhile military experts, who have shielded businesses across a spectrum of industries.
  • Transparent Pricing: With Eden Data, what you see is what you get. No hidden charges or protracted contracts. You gain a full-fledged team at the cost of a solitary employee.
  • Bespoke Solutions: We don’t just spot your security loopholes; we tailor robust plans to seal them. Our client-centric methodology ensures that the cybersecurity shield we forge is uniquely molded for your organization.

So, are you ready to level up your security game? Start your journey here:

  • Explore our services here.
  • Review our pricing plans here.
  • Reach out to us to kickstart your cybersecurity voyage here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is HITRUST valid?

HITRUST certification is valid for two years, after which organizations must undergo a recertification process to maintain their compliance status.

Is HITRUST worth it?

Absolutely, HITRUST certification provides a robust framework for data security and compliance, enhancing trust with stakeholders and reducing the risk of data breaches.

How do I prepare for HITRUST certification?

To prepare for HITRUST certification, first define the scope of your review, then conduct a self-assessment to identify gaps. Engage a HITRUST-certified assessor for a readiness assessment and to draft a remediation plan, ensuring your systems align with HITRUST CSF requirements before proceeding to the certification process.

Trust Your HITRUST Journey to Us

Our team is ready to answer any and all questions you may have.