In the good ol’ days, staff training in your office likely occurred only when new equipment or processes were being introduced. However, as we continue to see a rise in hackers, breaches, and new IT vulnerabilities every day, proactive staff training has become an integral part of strong IT security. Ongoing staff education is no longer a luxury when it comes to technology; it’s an absolute necessity if your goal is to prevent downtime, breaches, and other growing outside threats. In this article, we’ll guide you through how to easily and quickly begin this initiative.

1. Be Realistic

First thing’s first: Define what is realistic for you and your staff. Do you hold quarterly meetings that could spare 20 minutes to incorporate training on the newest threats facing your industry? Whatever the frequency, be realistic and prioritize consistency. Priorities are set from the top down, so set the expectation that constant learning on this topic is non-negotiable and important; your staff will follow suit.

2. Create a Flow of Content

After establishing frequency for staff training, identify where your training material will come from. It’s important to utilize a trusted, reliable source to ensure time spent training covers verified, relevant, and up-to-date information. This source should also provide pointers and examples of what your staff should look out for, and how to effectively combat the newest threats. If you feel inapt to lead team training of this nature (no need to be bashful – your specialty is dental after all), a trusted IT provider can help design a training agenda and set your team on the right track.  A great IT partner is already aware of these threats firsthand, and should happily provide valuable information on the best tactics for protection against human error. At Medix Dental, our Onyx partners are proactively enrolled in quarterly online staff training modules. These pieces of training reference the newest threats in the industry while walking staff through how to avoid the risks step-by-step. Implementing automated training modules like these allow practices the flexibility to complete courses when convenient, and removes the pressure of presenting new content from dental professionals. Regardless of how you move forward, be wary of IT providers who are unable or unwilling to assist in training efforts; as it suggests they don’t have your best interest at heart. Often times, issues on your end mean more billable hours for them.

3. Successful Implementation

As mentioned before, be sure to disclose to your staff why IT safety training is important. Communicate the risks of the current IT landscape, while emphasizing their role in acting as the practice’s first line of defense.  Once everyone is on board, strictly adhere to your pre-determined training schedule. Many dental professionals find it helpful to delegate the training initiative to a staff member to ensure there is ownership, and to prevent busy schedules from undermining training efforts. Empowering a team member keeps the initiative from losing steam, and signals to your staff that data security is a top priority. After a few pieces of training, your team will undoubtedly have new skills at their disposal to be a better employee and strengthen your practice IT security firsthand from the inside.

While computer protections play an extremely important role in defending your practice, no amount of safeguards can stop human error. We cannot stress enough: Do not assume your staff knows how to identify suspicious emails and web content. Knowledge is power when it comes to protecting your practice, so guide and train your team to ensure online safety. Remember, if you wait to step up security measures until your data has been comprised, you’ve waited too long! Contact us to learn more about how we can help safeguard your practice from user-inflicted malware, viruses, and other vulnerabilities today.

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