Technology has improved the efficiency of dental practices, particularly the use of cloud-based systems for billing, operations, patient data, storage, marketing, email, and more. But increased reliance on cloud solutions and connected devices opens the door to cyberattacks.
Given the current epidemic of ransomware attacks against businesses large and small, it is crucial for dental professionals to focus on cybersecurity to protect their practices. Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to protect your dental practice from being hacked.
Backup Your Data
Like many businesses, dental practices are turning to software vendors to store their data, but ransomware attacks can render your data unusable or make restarting operations difficult if not possible. While there are a number of cloud storage systems available to store data offline through remote servers, it is crucial to use strong encryption methods to ensure data protection. Also, portable devices (e,g, tablet pcs, portable dental equipment) should be stored separately and not remain connected to the internet to prevent software viruses.
Seek Reputable Vendors and Platforms
It is essential to rely on vendors with expertise in the dental industry for connected services, devices, and storage systems. Practice owners should start by getting references from other dentists and then ask vendors what service-level agreements are available, which ideally will be standard with their solutions.
Train Employees on Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity measures will be ineffective if there is a weak link in the chain of command. So all employees in a dental practice — front desk personnel, hygienists, associate dentists, practice owners — should receive regular training to learn how to identify and respond to potential attacks through “phishing” emails, fake voicemails, and robocalls.
Purchase Cyber Insurance
Professional insurance brokers now offer cyber insurance along with their line of customary insurance products (e.g. general liability, professional liability, commercial property, business disruption). Cyber insurance is designed to cover losses arising from data breaches and cyberattacks give you peace of mind. Many policies include guidelines for protecting your practice and provide incentives such as cost-sharing to help implement cybersecurity solutions.