The Top 5 Healthcare Cybersecurity Frameworks

The Top 5 Healthcare Cybersecurity Frameworks

by Vitaly Kuprenko

Cybersecurity issues are vital to the healthcare field. In this article, we’ll discuss the top five healthcare cybersecurity frameworks that help create well-protected solutions.

Cyber attacks become more widespread these days. The healthcare industry also suffers from them. However, in the case of healthcare, such attacks can lead to terrible consequences. 

There are a lot of government regulations like HIPAA or GDPR that protect personal information of the patients.

However, to create a protected software solution, you need to integrate various frameworks. It’s better to choose cybersecurity frameworks that were created for the healthcare industry. In this case, you can be sure about their security. 

Users should use protected devices, tools, and methods. There are various frameworks that can offer high-security levels. 

In our article, we’ve decided to single out the details of healthcare frameworks. Also, we’ll discuss the top five tools and how to use them in the healthcare field.

What Is a Cybersecurity Framework?

A cybersecurity framework or CSF is a guide that is based on existing guidelines and practices. As a result, companies can reduce cyber attacks in healthcare and other industries. Additionally, frameworks allow administrators to manage sensitive information.

Simply saying, frameworks help protect any IT system.

Of course, frameworks have several more goals. Let’s single them out:

  • Show the current security situation
  • Highlight the target security posture
  • Guarantee non-stopping improvement
  • Remove communication risks

What are the components of the frameworks?

There are three main components of CSF: core, implementation tiers, and profiles.

Frameworks consist of three main components:

  • Framework core stands for an arrangement of cybersecurity activities and references. It provides communication of cybersecurity risks across an organization.

  • Implementation tiers assists in defining cyber security management. Also, they tend to highlight the right level of thoroughness for a security solution.
  • Profiles stand for the list of organizational goals and premises. They usually level off industry standards and best practices.


Reasons to Use Cybersecurity Frameworks in the Healthcare Industry

It’s obvious that hospitals and the healthcare industry require sound security systems, along with data protection. 

According to the Version, inside threads are more frequent in the healthcare sector — there are 59% of internal in comparison to 42% of external ones.

Of course, there are various reasons for these statistics. However, the main one is human mistakes. Also, there are such reasons as privilege misuse and various software issues. 

Additionally, 6% of internal breach cases were done ‘just for fun’. However, such actions had horrible effects.

So, there is no surprise that security becomes a priority task for the healthcare industry. 

How can healthcare cybersecurity frameworks help here?

There are four primary ways:

  1. The cybersecurity frameworks assist in identifying and detecting security threats. Also, they help recover from security attacks.
  2. Frameworks allow ensuring security issues using its core elements, implementation tiers, and profile.
  3. Healthcare cybersecurity frameworks will enable stakeholders to find out and manage cybersecurity issues together.
  4. Healthcare frameworks tend to align business and tech policies. 

As a result, healthcare organizations get improved service delivery and increased operational efficiency with personnel.

Primary functions of frameworks

How to Implement Cybersecurity Frameworks in the Healthcare Industry

It’s high time to move on with the cybersecurity frameworks implementation. We’ve singled out seven vital steps that you can follow to integrate healthcare frameworks into your software solution:

Step #1. Find out the priorities and organizational components.

Step #2. Highlight the risk management approaches.

Step #3. Make a risk management profile (Target Profile).

Step #4. Consider the risks. 

Step #5. Create a risk management profile according to the assessment results (Current Profile).

Step #6. Create an action plan.

Step #7. Integrate the plan.


Steps to implement cybersecurity frameworks

Let’s discuss every step more precisely.

Step #1. Find Out the Priorities and Organizational Components

Every process begins by highlighting the goals and priorities of your healthcare organization. Also, it’s better to consider current threats and their impact. 

As a result, you’ll be able to make the best decisions about protecting your system. This step allows choosing appropriate tools and technologies. 

However, it’s significant to define where and how the cybersecurity framework should be used.

Step #2. Highlight the Risk Management Approaches

After outlining the required tools and technologies, the healthcare organization should calculate the risk approach. It allows defining the weak points of the current solutions (e.g. tools, means, and systems).

After that, the organization can choose the demanded regulatory — security standards, means, and more.

Step #3. Make a Risk Management Profile (Target Profile)

During this step, you need to define risk factors and create an overlay of the framework. It allows the healthcare organization to prevent any threats and breaches.

Target Profile allows pointing out the category and subcategory of the outcomes.

Step #4. Consider the risks

This stage is about estimating the level of risks to the information system. It’s required for the healthcare organizations to analyze the possibility of a security breach and its effect.

For the company, it’s also vital to eliminate threats and vulnerabilities. These actions allow understanding of the possible result of security events.

Step #5. Create a Risk Management Profile (Current Profile)

After highlighting the risks and their effect, the healthcare organizations need to compare the actual scores with the wished ones.

The primary goal of this step is to give the company an understanding of the current risks and threats in the healthcare industry. 

It’s vital to have a list of all possible risks.

Step #6. Create an Action Plan

Understanding all the risks and the company’s goals, healthcare organizations can move on with making an action plan. The main idea of this plan is to compare the actual scores with the desired one. As a result, you can see the fields you should focus on.

After that, you need to brainstorm ideas. Ideas stand for solutions to fill the gaps between current and desired scores.

Step #7. Integrate the plan

Moving to this step, you need to understand the following topics:

  • types of cybersecurity issues your company can face;
  • available protection means;
  • final goals;
  • gap analysis;
  • list of required actions.

Having all the details, you’re ready to start implementing the healthcare cybersecurity frameworks you’ve chosen. (You can find the list of widespread frameworks in the next part of our article).

Of course, you shouldn't stop after integrating frameworks. You need to analyse metrics carefully to ensure that cybersecurity frameworks work well.

Proper preparation and thoughtful plan lead to maximum benefit and further customization of your framework.

Top Five Healthcare Cybersecurity Frameworks to Integrate

HIMSS did the research called ‘Cybersecurity Survey’. They highlighted five main frameworks for the custom healthcare software development — NIST, HITRIST, CSC, ISO, and COBIT.

Top frameworks to use in healthcare

1. NIST Healthcare Framework

This healthcare cybersecurity framework is popular among various industries, including healthcare. NIST means the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This company makes a lot of tech standards and guidelines for data protection. 

There are three primary NIST documents:

  • NIST Framework for increasing Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity
  • NIST SP 800-53: Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations
  • NIST SP 800-171: Protecting Controlled Unclassified Information in Nonfederal Systems and Organizations


This framework was created by the Health Information Trust Alliance. 

HITRUST is an organization created by the best specialists in the healthcare industry. They tend to protect information providing specific guidelines. Their programs include typical risk establishment, an assessment, and so on.

Additionally, the framework makes use of the ISO/IEC 27001:2005 Information Security Management system.

3. Critical Security Controls or CSC

This framework was created by the Center for Internet Security. It includeshe list of practices aimed at preventing various cybersecurity attacks in the healthcare industry.  t

Moreover, CSC has a list of controls according to their priority. 

CIS Controls plays a significant role in creating data protection. However, it’s not a stand-alone solution. In most cases, developers user CIS with other frameworks like NIST.

4. ISO 27000 Series

ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. This non-governmental organization created a solution called ISO/IEC 27000. 

This cybersecurity framework assists in managing the challenging requirements of data security.


Last but not least, the COBIT framework developed by ISACA. COBIT stands for Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies. 

This framework allows healthcare companies to fill the gaps between control requirements and assist in policy development. 

A lot of healthcare organizations tend to choose COBIT for implementing practices provided by other security standards like NIST.

So, there were the top five cybersecurity frameworks that you can use in the healthcare industry. Of course, the modern IT market offers more reliable solutions.

Any industry — from healthcare to e-commerce — requires data protection. There are a lot of cybersecurity attacks, along with human mistakes that can harm security. 

Fortunately, healthcare organizations take care of data protection. They tend to use various healthcare cybersecurity frameworks.

As you can see, security is a vital part of creating a successful and reliable solution.

About the Author

Vitaly Kuprenko is a technical writer at Cleveroad. It's a web and mobile app development company in Ukraine. He enjoys telling about tech innovations and digital ways to boost businesses.

April 27, 2020
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Sloboda studio
2 months ago

Great article! The healthcare sector is critically important for everyone, I think it is very important to introduce modern technologies for it. This is a great selection of cybersecurity systems

Jennifer Moore
Jennifer Moore
1 year ago

Great stuff!
I think medical establishments should go to custom healthcare software development companies more often.
It’d be really useful for both sites.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jennifer Moore

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