Your dental practice depends on its patients, and your patients count on you to keep their confidential protected health information (PHI) safe. Practices have many threats to their data, and supporting your data’s “CIA” — confidentiality, integrity and availability — is fundamental in avoiding difficulties.
Even if you haven’t experienced one of these threats yet, odds are it’s just a matter of time. And compromised data means expensive downtime. With the average practice revenue of $375/hour, just one lost day can result in $3,000 or more in lost revenue. And according to a cybercrime study by Accenture, it took over 23 days on average for a business to resolve a ransomware attack.
You can take steps to avoid disaster with this dental “CIA protection” that helps you keep practice data safe and avoid downtime.
Confidentiality means protecting your patients’ PHI by ensuring that only those who need to know have access. This includes things you might not think of, like keeping unauthorized users from reading sensitive emails and encrypting data at rest on the server. Your data’s confidentiality can be breached in countless ways.
For example, one practice I helped allowed patients to log on to the practice’s Wi-Fi. One patient accessed the database where patient information was stored and was using the server to download movies! Luckily, this patient wasn’t trying to access PHI, but he easily could have. And the office’s server became infected with a lot of malware from this unauthorized user.
This unfortunate situation was totally avoidable. But TechCentral was able to prevent its reoccurrence with server data encryption, separate Wi-Fi networks for the office/patients and secure VPNs for remote employees.
Data integrity means your data is safeguarded against being altered. Part of maintaining data integrity includes taking protective steps against viruses or other malware and keeping application and operating system software current with security patches.
Working to ensure your data is secure protects against malware like ransomware. Ransomware is increasing in popularity among cybercriminals because it’s an easy way for them to make money — all they have to do is hold your data hostage until you pay to get it back. This is a big threat: According to Cryptonite, health care organizations saw an 89 percent year-over-year increase in ransomware attacks in 2017.
Which leads to the last point: Your data needs to be available whenever you need it to avoid expensive downtime. This means protecting against hardware failure, power interruptions and ineffective backups.
One practice I assisted lost all their data due to a flood in their office that destroyed the backup as well as the server. We’ve worked with other practices who thought they were backing up, but in a disaster found out the backup drive was blank. Others have a backup that’s so outdated, when it’s used to restore, it writes bad data over the good. You can help avoid this nightmare with a hybrid backup service that automatically saves to local and cloud storage.
Your practice’s IT is complex, but it doesn’t have to be complicated for you. OmniCore, provided by TechCentral by Henry Schein One, helps you protect your PHI and your data’s confidentiality, integrity and availability.
This all-in-one network provides the solid foundation of your practice’s data protection strategy with:
TechCentral support and maintenance is also included for your OmniCore network as part of the low monthly cost, so you don’t have to give the IT that runs your practice a second thought. You can focus on your patients, and we’ll focus on your network.
Find out more about how OmniCore helps protect your practice today at https://www.henryscheintechcentral.com/cia.
About the Author
Diana Aguilar has been an IT support technician for Henry Schein TechCentral for five years, recently earning her HCISPP certification. She works in the Managed Services team, implementing and monitoring hybrid backups, hardware health and monthly server maintenance.