As a niche dental IT company, we’ve seen how most dental practices are vulnerable when it comes to their technology. See how you measure up to our top 3 list of most common IT vulnerabilities!
Insufficient Data Protection
When we begin working with a practice, we ask a couple of questions to determine the level of protection an office has in place. We first ask about any data backup in place. Offices that skip backing up data may not realize the severity of this decision. We strongly encourage implementing a HIPAA-compliant off-site data backup service to secure all patient and business data. This act alone has the potential to save thousands of dollars, along with hundreds of stressful hours, should something go wrong and the practice is without a secure and up-to-date backup.
Utilizing a strong antivirus/antimalware software and an enterprise-grade firewall is another huge protection we see overlooked far too often. These technologies help safeguard you from the millions of malicious attacks released onto the internet every week (around 1 million new vulnerabilities are released every day). As a healthcare provider, your office is chock-full of everything a hacker needs to successfully steal hundreds of identities in an instant. As a privately owned healthcare facility (as opposed to government-owned), dental practices are often a jackpot target for those with vicious intentions. A high-quality antivirus and firewall are easy to implement and make a huge impact on the integrity of your practice data and network.
Lastly, many practices fail to properly configure their networks and encrypt their data (files, emails, etc). To spare you the nerdy explanation, we’ll just say that it’s so important to work with a specialized IT provider who understands and properly abides by HIPAA IT regulations when it comes to your data and network.
Lack of Adequate Staff Education
While computer protections play an extremely important role in defending your practice, no amount of safeguards can stop human error. 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. At a minimum, have short bi-annual meetings with your team to review safety guidelines; that way everyone can confidently identify and avoid malicious threats. If you feel inapt to lead a team meeting discussing email and internet browsing habits (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.
Unmonitored IT Environment
Though commonly an afterthought, proactive monitoring of your server and workstations helps to prevent potentially catastrophic scenarios from occurring. By catching and eliminating miscellaneous bugs in your system, proactive monitoring allows you to remove issues before they impact productivity or compromise security. Aside from the technical benefits, proactive monitoring provides you with peace of mind that your office is working optimally every day. It’s important to remember that just because your computers are functioning, does not mean they are free of potentially catastrophic issues.
If your practice is lacking in any of these areas, consider yourself lucky that you have not yet experienced significant consequences. Contact us if you’d like help identifying and correcting vulnerabilities in your practice.