Halloween is the perfect time of year to overcome your fears. One of the scariest things you can face as a dentist is having your network die or having your patient data stolen or destroyed. Without the right IT support, it could be a while before your business comes back from the dead.
“Who you gonna call” when your dental practice network dies? (Or better yet, who’s going help you keep your network from dying in the first place?) When you have a support plan with TechCentral, by Henry Schein One, help is just a phone call away.
Here are three reasons why dental networks die and why having professional support is so important:
Using old, outdated hardware drastically increases the risk of hardware failure and downtime. The operating systems on outdated hardware can also increase the potential risk losing valuable data or exposing your patients’ protected health information (PHI), which could result in large fines and lost revenue. Just like any appliance with a lot of parts, workstation and server hard drives will eventually need maintenance or replacement. These systems have many components, making them some of the most likely points of failure.
Another problem is that some dental practices use consumer-grade hardware. PCs with short warranties, workstation servers inadequate for business use, basic routers and multiple daisy-chained network switches are inadequate for the demands of business.
Your specialty is as a dentist, not an IT professional, so it’s difficult to juggle all these various pieces of your network, let alone identify potential liabilities or weaknesses. That’s why it’s a good idea to rely on a partner that can provide expert dental IT support for the business hardware your practice depends on.
Another reason to partner with a professional is network security. “In my experience, if small businesses don’t outsource some of their technical services, including security, they often fall behind and become targets for hackers. You have to have good security even though it’s not your business to do it,” said Corey Nachreiner, Chief Technology Officer of WatchGuard Technologies.
What have you done to protect your practice from evolving threats, such as cyber-crime, ransomware and viruses? A business-grade firewall helps to protect against threats within the necessary web traffic your office relies on. Antivirus software is another important component of your network security. Legacy antivirus protections provide some value but may not be keeping up with evolving malware that is always presenting new threats.
If you offer courtesy Wi-Fi, you must take extra precautions. You need to properly configure your router to help increase the likelihood that you’ll keep inappropriate websites and malware out while safeguarding against hackers. These are just a few of the things you need to consider with network security. Partnering with a professional helps you get all the right pieces in place.
Potential data loss is another way the lifeblood can be sucked out of your practice. This might happen from threats beyond human control, like storms, fires or floods.
Data destruction and corruption also happen when servers fail on their own. Dr. Marc Wilk had an unexpected equipment failure with an 18-month-old server. Luckily, he was able to retrieve his data, but it taught him a valuable lesson about having a redundant backup strategy. This incident happened before the advent of the TechCentral Hybrid Backup Service, which Dr. Wilk believes is the solution to many problems of data backup.
“In one package, you have a backup device that is plug-and-play and specifically formatted to automatically back up your server,” said Dr. Wilk. “It then transmits an identical copy of your data to the cloud storage. That way, it is stored in two locations; plus, TechCentral support is monitoring your backup so you can be sure your data isn’t getting corrupted during the backup process.”
Don’t forget about the threats to practice data from human error. TechCentral Product Manager Howard Grainger once saw an office accidentally delete everything they had scanned into their machine since 2007. Thankfully, because the practice had a reliable backup and had partnered with a professional, he was able to restore everything from it.
The IT professionals at TechCentral will ensure that your backup is running properly. They can also help with any other IT concerns, including auditing your hardware, updating your network securities and setting up secure in-office Wi-Fi.
So don’t let technology hang-ups suck the life out of your practice this Halloween! Focus on what you do best, taking care of your patients’ “fangs,” and leave the scary IT challenges to the professionals at TechCentral. To learn more about a TechCentral support plan today, visit www.HSTechCentral.com/DPS/blog/support.
Samantha Negraval joined Integrated Media Solutions' Dental Product Shopper in July 2015. She began her career in online news and moved to business-to-business publishing in 2012. Her experience includes coordinating a print and digital new products showcase for a B2B magazine and writing marketing materials for various organizations on a freelance basis. Samantha graduated from The College of New Jersey in 2009 with a degree in Political Science.