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Guest blog by HITRUST Collaborate Sponsor, Prescient Security

In the intricate realm of cybersecurity and compliance, two prevailing frameworks, SOC 2 and HITRUST, hold the key to fortifying data protection and regulatory adherence. However, understanding their common control requirements is important in choosing the most fitting path for your organization’s needs, ensuring that the work done for one framework is leveraged to comply with other frameworks.

Unraveling unique scopes, embracing common goals

SOC 2 and HITRUST converge on the shared goal of bolstering cybersecurity and compliance, yet their scope and industry focus chart separate trajectories.

SOC 2 is an adaptable approach with a core emphasis on risk management, incident response, and access controls.

HITRUST casts a broader net, meticulously addressing comprehensive information protection. It is a full-fledged standard based on common security frameworks, including references from ISO 27001, NIST, COBIT, HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS, and even SOC 2. It applies not only in the healthcare industry but also in almost every industry.

Diving deeper: Unpacking control objectives

Delving deeper into their control objectives uncovers nuances that set SOC 2 and HITRUST apart, offering distinct avenues for compliance excellence.

SOC 2 navigates its course through control objectives forged by the five Trust Services Criteria: Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy. Developed under the guidance of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), these objectives span data fortification, access management, incident mitigation, and beyond. Organizations choosing SOC 2 assessments tailor their focus to suit their unique service offerings.

In contrast, HITRUST crafts its control objectives from multiple authoritative sources, compliance frameworks, and standards. As a result, it encompasses a wide spectrum of regulations, including HIPAA and GDPR, and caters to an intricate landscape of data privacy, security, and compliance requirements in any business. Because it’s a common security framework, getting a HITRUST certification demonstrates compliance with many other frameworks at the same time.

Beyond the checklist: Elevating certification processes

The journeys to SOC 2 and HITRUST certifications take different routes, showcasing the distinct rhythm of each framework.

For SOC 2, the path unfurls through steps like defining scope, conducting gap analyses, fortifying controls, and crafting a comprehensive documentation tapestry. This intricate process culminates in an assessment by a third-party CPA firm, fostering transparency and ultimately yielding a SOC 2 report showcasing the effectiveness of controls.

HITRUST embarks on a comprehensive expedition. Enrolling in the HITRUST program sets the stage, followed by self-assessment, engagement with a HITRUST authorized assessor, meticulous gap-filling, and assessment review. Only after stringent validation, HITRUST issues its certification, cementing an organization’s compliance with the intricate HITRUST CSF controls. HITRUST supports SOC reports and work products from CPA firms or reviews performed by accredited ISO certification organizations as evidence for obtaining a HITRUST i1 or r2 validated assessment or certification.

Orchestrating a harmonious dance: Pursuing dual certification

The realm of concurrent SOC 2 and HITRUST offers promises of synergies and streamlined efforts. While pursuing both is feasible, it demands a balanced choreography of strategy and execution.

Though some controls harmonize, remember there are distinct rhythms of each framework. SOC 2 provides adaptability. The HITRUST framework can reuse the work of others within an overall assurance system, support coverage expectations efficiently, and reduce audit fatigue.

Privacy and data protection: A melodic fusion

Resonating through SOC 2 and HITRUST is the harmony of privacy and data protection. However, their unique melodies carry distinct nuances.

SOC 2 encapsulates Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality, and Privacy criteria. While safeguarding sensitive information is a core objective, emphasizing broader security measures might suit organizations with a holistic security focus.

In the HITRUST composition, Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability, and Privacy flourish as an intricate symphony. Tailored to every type of business’s unique cadence, it encompasses data protection, regulatory mandates, and industry-specific challenges. If certification and compliance are your stage, HITRUST provides a comprehensive score for compliance with many other standards along with the HITRUST CSF. It helps gain efficiencies and reduces compliance efforts by leveraging suitable, properly reviewed, and recently audited controls mapped to evidence requirements.

Prescient Security + Assurance

Navigating the intricate landscape of cybersecurity and compliance requires expertise. Prescient Security and Assurance specializes in guiding organizations through the intricacies of SOC 2 examination and HITRUST certification. Our seasoned professionals possess the knowledge to help you make informed decisions, streamline the process, and ensure your compliance efforts align with your industry’s unique needs.

Ready to secure your data and achieve compliance excellence? Contact Prescient Security today and embark on a journey to safeguard your digital future. l

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