HITRUST Incident Response and Coordination Center

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HITRUST CSF cyber securityThe healthcare industry has been increasingly under attack, specifically the cyber kind, during the past two years. Cybercriminals have started shifting their target of attack towards healthcare organizations because of many reasons. Healthcare organizations and their databases represent a treasure of data for cybercriminals, as they contain financial data and social security data that is refreshed on a daily basis, which means that the well of data will almost never go dry. The other reason is that due to the diversity of interactions in the healthcare industry, where one healthcare organization deals with a huge number of other smaller or even larger organizations, also on a daily basis, like outpatient clinics, radiology labs and centers and so on, the network is vast and so there are so many points of entry that the attacker can use. Even if most of these entries might be well-guarded by different security measures and firewalls implemented by the healthcare organization, chances are some of these portals might have been overlooked and so compromising the security of the whole network.

As a way to reduce the increasing risk that the healthcare industry has been facing and to integrate the effort, knowledge and expertise of different healthcare organizations and government health institutions like the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, HITRUST has made a very important announcement.
The Health Information Trust Alliance or HITRUST, has established an online community for the exact purpose of sharing threat attack information and expertise on how to handle and deal with such attacks. The new Incident Response and Coordination Center enables different healthcare organizations, literally of different shapes and sizes, to share details of any attacks they have faced and to benefit from the experience of other healthcare industries and also the expertise of professionals available to assist them in damage control and identifying their vulnerabilities and properly securing their systems.

A study showed that data breaches increased by more than 30% during the past year, which if continued at this rate, would be costing the healthcare industry losses of $6.5 billion a year. Another study also showed that almost all small healthcare providers in North America suffered at least one security breach in the past year. And although these organizations might not have the necessary resources and expertise to face such security breaches, the HITRUST center will enable the larger and more resourceful healthcare organizations to assist them in better understanding and securing their systems against future threats.

Healthcare organizations can access the data shared by different providers on the HITRUST portal. The data is shared securely and anonymously, providing a safe environment for those working in the healthcare industry to both share and benefit from the data shared by others in order to face whatever security threats or vulnerabilities they are facing.

The HITRUST Incident Response and Coordination Center is just a first step in organizing the efforts of different healthcare organizations to face the threats that have been increasingly affecting the industry. The increased dedication and collaboration of all healthcare organizations will make the HITRUST center work and give way to other centers that can help in diminishing the different security threats against the healthcare industry.


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