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If you were to lose your practice data what would you do? How would you continue to operate your business? These are questions you need to be able to answer as a practice owner. If you have data backups currently in place, are they set up properly? We will not only cover why data backups are important but key questions you should be asking regarding them.

Data Loss Prevention

Technology, like phones and computers, have an average lifespan of 3-5 years. It isn’t surprising that in 2018 the average smartphone lifecycle was a little over 24 months

If you have stayed up-to-date with recent news, you know that cyber-attacks are at an all-time high for dental practices. In many cases, practices are being hit with ransomware attacks causing them to be inoperable and left with a hefty payout to retrieve their practice data. 

While data backups are not immune to ransomware attacks, it’s your best chance at restoring your data if you fall victim to a cyber-attack. With proper firewall protection, a backup strategy, and appropriate data encryption in place, you will be prepared and no longer an easy target to a cyber-criminal.

Disaster Recovery When a Physical Disaster Strikes

Every company, not just dental practices, should have a disaster recovery (DR) plan in case of a severe storm, tornado, hurricane, etc. And while an evacuation chart is very important, your plan should include much more than that. Here are key items that should be in your DR plan: 

  1. Physical and digital inventory
  2. List of personnel, along with their DR responsibilities (if applicable)
  3. Evacuation plan 
  4. Backup office/location 
  5. Communication timeline and tree
  6. Media statement
  7. Data recovery plan

Being dental IT specialists, let’s talk about data recovery. To recover your data, you have to back it up. While this sounds simple, there are several factors to consider when it comes to backing up your data. For instance:

  • What backup system is best for you? Is it HIPAA compliant?
  • How often are you going to back up your data?
  • Do you need multiple backups?
  • Does your insurance cover lost-data and recovery?
  • What is the data recovery time?

It is important to note a lower-cost cloud-only backup solution might have a slower recovery time of days vs. a properly vetted backup having a recovery time of hours. This time difference plays a significant role in how fast you can recover from a disaster.

If you already have a backup in place, here are a few questions to consider:

  • Are your backups protected from hackers?
  • Is your data encrypted onsite and offsite? 
  • Are you using the proper encryption for your data?
  • Does your backup have enough space for your growing practice?
  • What’s your data recovery time?

The questions above are just a few questions you should ask yourself or your current IT provider to ensure you are properly backing up your practice data. Getting a DR plan in place will reduce stress, decrease downtime and protect your practice data. 

If HIPAA compliance, firewalls, and encrypted data are unfamiliar subjects for you, reach out to a dental IT expert to manage your data backups – let IT professionals handle your data security while you focus on serving your patients. 

Timely and Effective

Data backups can be automated to run anytime you prefer. We recommend scheduling backups outside of business hours to avoid any possible interruption to your practice. While data backups can be thought of as a set it and forget it -task, the last step is to let your dental IT professional monitor it closely to ensure the backup was successful.   

Data backups are a necessity when running any business. They are vital for a dental practice to remain operable as the cyber-criminal world continues to grow. Please reach out with any questions you may have or to get started on backing up your data. 

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