Your dental office is home to millions of details about your patients. Are you taking the right steps to keep your office safe from hackers and other threats?
Now more than ever, hackers are setting their sights on the healthcare community and dental practices are squarely in the middle of the target. Small to mid-size practice owners may feel as though the potential of a cyberattack is relatively modest due to the size of their practice, but nothing could be further from the truth. Hackers are very interested in engaging with smaller entities because there is the perception that these organizations may not have fully invested in cybersecurity procedures and may not have access to adequate backup and recovery processes. “The challenge is that the value of the data, whether it’s held by a large entity or a small entity, is equal to the bad guys,” says Mark Johnson who leads the health care cybersecurity team at Nashville-based LBMC noted on a recent interview on Nashville Public Radio. Approximately one-quarter of the US data breaches in 2018 were healthcare systems or hospitals, once again making this industry the top target for cyber thieves. Taking these steps can help you reduce the security threats that are looming large against your dental practice.
Do you have a dedicated, in-house IT team? If not, keeping security software up-to-date can be a real challenge. Without the adequate patches and software updates that come on a fairly regular basis, your dental practice could potentially be leaving serious gaps in your security. Hackers are always looking for exploits that will allow them into data-rich healthcare practices, where they can successfully mine for patient records that net a nice price on the dark web. Keeping your virtual walls solid means a proactive approach to keeping software in sync with the latest versions.
Are your patients and your staff on the same WiFi network? Not only can this slow down your staff when they need quick access to information, but it can also allow hackers to slide in below your network gateways. Public WiFi for your guests generally has a name and password that is easy to remember and widely shared, which is fine as long as you’re not connecting this WiFi directly to your business network and applications. Anything on a secure channel should be protected by more advanced password management procedures and security.
Hackers today are extremely savvy at luring staff members into taking an action that will compromise your business security. This could be anything from clicking a too-good-to-be-true ad on social media to clicking through a link in an email, and the only way to protect your business is through the education of your staff. It’s vital that individuals who are checking email on behalf of your business be trained to spot the hallmarks of a hacker, which can often be foiled by hovering over the return email address or links to see that they are not exactly what they seem.
From equipment management to hardware as a service, IT managed services make sense for many dental practices. With this outsourced service, you are ensured that your patient and business information are fully secured with regular backups in place. In the event of a ransomware attack, it’s much more straightforward to restore your practice information from a complete backup than to attempt to pay a ransom and hope that you will regain access to your files. An IT managed services partner provides you with the peace of mind you need to focus on internet metrics such as improving the patient experience and driving referrals.
It would be nearly impossible to remove all risk from your dental practice. However, proactive cybersecurity processes and ongoing education for your staff can help keep your business moving in the event of an incident. See how NOVA Computer Solutions can help improve the utilization of your business technology when you contact us today at 888-711-3234. We provide a range of services including email monitoring, Help Desk support, backup, disaster recovery and equipment management for dental offices throughout the region. You can always fill out our quick online form to request a free initial cybersecurity or networking consultation, too.
As a consultant to dental practices, I help my clients maximize what can be done with their technology to maximize production and profit.