Improving Cybersecurity In Your Dental Practice
The future of everything is digital. Dentistry is no exception to this. Practices will always need the manual skill sets of dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants, but there is a fast move towards a largely digital experience.
Electronic records, state of the art digital diagnostic imaging, and even remotely executed teledentistry are all components in improving oral health for our patients and simplifying routine procedures for dental professionals across the board.
Even with all of the advantages and benefits offered by the innovations in our field, they also create some inherent disadvantages. Not the least of which are risks to your cybersecurity, and the need to lock down and control access to these digital assets.
Due to the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant number of workplaces have transitioned from a fully physical workplace to a largely digital one. With distancing guidelines and the concern for everyone’s health, the staff is often encouraged to work from home and many tasks are being outsourced.
The upside to this is this migration to a more digital interface allows so many more businesses to remain open and operable. Most of them continue to function in a manner that closely resembles normalcy. The downside to this digital utilization is that now there is a larger need for effective cybersecurity and control of sensitive customer and patient information.
Why Would Cybercriminals Target My Practice?
The short answer is, all healthcare facilities are frequent targets for cyberattacks because of the value of the information that is dealt with in those industries. Healthcare databases are full of highly-sought-after data, including personal information like name, contact information, and address.
They also have financial information like insurance information, payment card information, bank account information, and even social security numbers. If this information were to be stolen, it could be sold to unscrupulous companies or used by criminals for fraud or theft purposes.
In just the first six months of 2019, there were major data breaches that exposed more than 4 billion records. Before the year was half over it became the worst year for breaches. Since the records were largely healthcare-related, the industry suffered an estimated $25 billion loss.
What Does This Mean For My Practice
Not only do cyberattacks hurt your patients, but they can also seriously affect your business as well. Large businesses have been serious about securing their data for years, and that has narrowed the focus for cybercriminals to small businesses as their main targets.
What You Can Do - 6 Tips
1. Know that “small” doesn’t mean “safe”
Nearly half of all data breach victims are victims of a breach for a small business. Email phishing in particular is successful with businesses of 250 employees or less.
2. Store data properly
Have your data penetration tested. Ensure that you store all patient and practice data in line with the latest regulations.
3. Educate your team
Make sure your entire team knows how vital information security is.
4. Use antivirus and malware monitoring on all computers
Schedule scans to occur often, and enable live monitoring.
5. Keep software updated
Make sure your antivirus and all other applications are up to date.
6. Use strong passwords, and change them frequently
Make sure you create strong passwords and change them at least every 90 days.
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